The county of Suffolk was buzzing with activities yesterday in celebration of (the new style) St Edmund’s Day. Downpours failed to dampen the spirits as different events honoured the King of East Anglia, who was martyred by Viking invaders on 20 November 869.
Greater Anglia’s St Edmund train was rededicated at Ipswich railway station yesterday morning by the Precentor of St Edmundsbury Cathedral. In Bury St Edmunds, Greene King marked the day by opening its new £750,000 St Edmund Brewhouse at its headquarters in the town. Elsewhere, St Edmundsbury Cathedral hosted a performance of Courage of a King and held a special communion service. Author Mark Taylor was at the Cathedral and at Waterstones signing copies of his new book Edmund: The Untold Story of the Martyr King and his Kingdom, and prizes in the St Edmund’s Day Awards were handed out yesterday evening. Thousands of schoolchildren across Suffolk took part in activities to promote the Saint. And finally councillors from Suffolk and Norfolk, the bulk of the old East Anglian Kingdom, met to discuss uniting several of their services.
St Edmund has always been the patron saint of England, even though St George the Great-Martyr eclipsed him from the 14th century on. In the last few years, however, throughout East Anglia, St Edmund has been promoted and begun to eclipse St George as the local favourite. The Bury St Edmunds MP, David Ruffley, and The East Anglian Daily Times have backed a campaign to get him reinstated as the nation’s patron saint, which has been led by BBC Radio Suffolk.