‘St Edmund, King and Martyr in Popular Memory since the Reformation’ published in Folklore


My article ‘St Edmund, King and Martyr in Popular Memory since the Reformation’ has just been published in the latest edition of Folklore, the journal of the Folklore Society. The article, which is the first ever treatment of the cult of St Edmund from the perspective of folklore, examines the ways in which Edmund was remembered locally after the Reformation in East Anglia, and considers the significance of the ‘Bury Bull’ ceremony, Edmund’s appearance in landscape folklore and his re-emergence in the ‘cult of commemoration’ in the Victorian period. The primary focus of the article, however, is on post-Reformation tales regarding the capture of St Edmund by the Danes which emerged in the Suffolk village of Hoxne in the Waveney Valley, which claimed to be Haeglisdun, the earliest recorded place of Edmund’s martyrdom. The article shows that, although Edmund is thought of as a medieval saint, in Suffolk at least the stories told about the martyr are as much a modern construction as an antiquarian return to ancient sources.

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