Yesterday I was in St Edmundsbury Cathedral Shop to sign copies of my new book, Where is St Edmund? The book has excited considerable interest, with articles on it appearing in The East Anglian Daily Times and The Bury Free Press, as well as a feature on BBC Radio Suffolk on 1st September. I am also grateful to Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman of Douai Abbey for commenting on the book on his blog, although I am not sure that I agree with him that St Edmund should be sent to Douai Abbey if his body is ever found. St Edmund’s bond with the land and people of East Anglia is such that I would anticipate dire consequences if any attempt were made to take him to Berkshire…
At the book signing I was delighted to meet Dr Paola Filipucci of Murray Edwards College in Cambridge, who is currently engaged in an anthropological study of contemporary religion in Bury St Edmunds. This sounds a particularly intriguing project to me, and the revival of interest in the cult of St Edmund, together with the debate over the location of St Edmund’s relics, is surely an intrinsic part of the development of contemporary religious behaviour in Bury.
3 replies on “Book signing at St Edmundsbury Cathedral”
You are right, no doubt, that East Anglians might resent any removal of the sainted king, our monastic patron, to the Royal County, despite our strong moral claim.
One solution presents itself, allowing the monks to care for his shrine and for him to remain in East Anglia: give us back the abbey!
Pax et bonum.
I was about to suggest the same thing – it’s such a shame the monks didn’t accept the Abbey site when it was offered to them in 1685. Even if they had been thrown out again in 1688, it would have created a strong precedent for monastic restorations. In 2005 I attended a Magna Carta service in St Edmundsbury Cathedral where Fr Stephen Ortiger was preacher – he had just been appointed titular Abbot of Bury St Edmunds after stepping down from Worth. Naturally, Fr Stephen apologised for the ruinous state of his monastery!
So he should have apologized. These jobs aren’t sinecures!
I suspect the monks back then smelt a rat, or at least an ill-omened wind. The small community in London must have felt very exposed, whatever their legal protections.
To be honest, I am only half tongue-in-cheek. I think the sainted king’s body, if ever found, should come to us. As a former (and rightful still!) patron saint of England he belongs to more than just East Anglia.