St Edmundsbury

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 History of the Building
 12th Century Origins
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 British Tribal Kingdoms
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 Local Genius
 Wierd and Wonderful
 Archaeology Resources
 Sue Ryder
*Recommended Reading

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ARCHAEOLOGY - South Folk of the East Angles 410 - 1066

As the rule of Rome in Britain finally collapsed in the early 5th century, Anglian settlers from around Holland and the Jutland Peninsula migrated into the region, bringing with them a new culture. Beliefs, language, art, the economy, all developed and adapted once more. At West Stow, 7 miles from Moyse's Hall Museum, an Anglo-Saxon village of this period has been excavated and reconstructed; today one can walk amongst those buildings as they may have looked 1500 years ago. Meanwhile in the museum, some of the thousnads of finds from the village and nearby cemetery are displayed. Funerary evidence tells much about life as well as death, with one human leg bone disfigured by arthritis, another skull displaying signs of (healed) spear wounds; pagan grave goods from dress fastenings to swords: all add to the picture of lives that could be both violent and short but were also creative and sophisticated. Christianity became widespread after the 7th to 8th centuries; the monastery at Bedricesworth (Bury St Edmunds) was the first of many until Edmund, King of the East Angles was slain fighting the Danes in the Battle of Haegelisdun (probably Hellesden, in Bradfield St Clare). Danish rule of East Anglia followed as did Edmunds importance as a Christian martyr. In the 10th century his remains were brought to the abbey in Bury St Edmunds which now became a focus of sacred pilgrimage, injecting new wealth and importance into the abbey and town alike. Today this story, and some of the evidence for it, can be found in the abbey itself at Samson's Tower.