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Bury St Edmunds Local Information & History

Bury St Edmunds is a thriving market town with a population of about 46,000. It has a Railway Station in town as well as the busy West Suffolk Hospital. There’s a choice of Primary and Secondary schools and Bury St Edmunds boasts a host of cultural destinations like the historic Theatre Royal and the new Apex centre. It also has about 12 pubs, 9 bars and 12 restaurants!

Sitting next to the A14 which runs from the Midlands to the coast at Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds is nestled in the heart of Suffolk. Cambridge is just 28 miles West, Newmarket (if you like horse racing) is 15 miles away and the historic town of Lavenham is just 11 miles South. If you don’t find the property you desire here, there are many other scenic towns in South East Suffolk you could look at such as Hadleigh, Woodbridge or Felixstowe.


Bury St Edmunds began as an Anglo-Saxon settlement called Bedric’s worth. In 630 Sigebert the king of East Anglia founded a monastery there. In the 9th century, Edmund was king of East Anglia and he was martyred in 869.

The Benedictine abbey itself was established in 1020 and by the time of the Norman Conquest Bury ranked fourth among English abbeys in wealth and political importance.

In 1214 King John’s discontented earls and barons assembled at the abbey to discuss their grievances against him, resulting in the rebel barons forcing his hand and signing the Magna Carta at Runnymede.

The Church and the local people didn’t see eye to eye and matters came to a head in 1327 in a summer of riots.

Despite these setbacks Bury St Edmunds remained politically important throughout the 15th century so much so that Henry VI came for Christmas in 1433 and stayed for four months.

On 27th August 1645, Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, put more men and women to death for witchcraft in Bury St Edmunds than in any other town in the country. He hanged 18 that day. It was the single biggest mass-execution for witchcraft in English history… and he got paid 5 shillings per witch!

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