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The history of St Edmund is quite interesting, not the least because he was replaced as the patron saint of England with St George. This was done by King Edward III, the grandson of Edward I, Longshanks and Hammer of the Scots. Like his grandfather, Edward was a formidable army general. When he formed the Order of the Garter, he made St George patron saint ot both the new order of chivalry and of England itself. It is due to King Richard I, the Lionheart (See a photo of the tomb holding his heart on our Rouen page), that St George came to prominence for English kings.
St Edmund is believed to have been born on Christmass day 841 AD and became King of East Anglia in 856 - about 15 years old. He fought alongside Alfred the Great against the Vikings but was captured by them in about 869. He had been a christian since birth and despite being tortured by the Vikings, would not renounce his faith. They tied him to a tree, killed him with a fusilade of arrows then cut off his head and threw it inot the undergrowth of the forest. It is believed that a wolf guarded the head and led people to it by calling Hic, Hic, Hic. Hence the statue of the wolf in the cathedral precincts.
The abbey was founded by King Canute of turning back the tide fame in 903 to house the remains of St Edmund. It became one of the richest abbeys in England but the local townspeople were not happy with the conduct of the monks and destroyed it several times. Various other disasters occourred and the abbey went into serious decline until it was finally disolved in 1539. As you can see from my photos, not all of the abbey building were looted and there even some residences built in to its old fabric.
|Cathedrals in England||Canterbury, Rochester,Tewkesbury|
|Cathedrals elsewhere||Joan of Arc, Lourdes, Rouen|