Bury St Edmunds
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About Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds in Domesday
View Bury St Edmunds in Google Earth
Population (2011) of Bury St Edmunds: 40 664.
Local licensing authority for Bury St Edmunds is St Edmundsbury.
Bury St Edmunds (or informally, just "Bury") is the third-largest population centre in Suffolk and was, until local government reorganisation in 1974, the administrative centre of West Suffolk. The town appears on John Speed's 1610 map as "Burye".
This historic settlement may originally have been just called Villa Faustina in Roman times (as mentioned in the itinerary of Antoninus, and it's said that it owed its name to Faustinus, or to Faustina, wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius; others say it derived from faustus (ie, prosperous or happy), and so signified a 'happy place') Later in Saxon times, it belonged to Beodric, and was hence called Beodric's-worthe or Beoderici-cortis, the villa or estate of Beodric. Beadoriceworth was centred around a Benedictine monastery. By Domesday it was recorded as "Villa Sancti Eadmundi". Today it is a sizeable market town which took its current name from the last Saxon king of East Anglia, who was buried within the priory after dying (according to legend, at Hoxne) in 869AD after being defeated in battle (at Thetford) by invading Danes. (More details about King Edmund in Wikipedia)
The great Benedictine Abbey dominated the town and the surrounding area until the dissolution of the 1530s. It had evidently not been a benevolent domination and the clerics were notorious for their extreme edicts and rapaciousness. Such was the resentment the abbey had generated locally that it was quickly destroyed for building material after dissolution. Extensive ruins still remain in the attractive riverside gardens. Nearby, St James church became St Edmund cathedral in 1914 and more recently had a stone tower added.
Today the town centre is mainly Georgian in appearance although much of this is re-fronting of older buildings. Moyses Hall is a late Norman building open as a museum (all week). The Theatre Royal is a delightful early Regency theatre restored in recent times.
Westley airfield was located close to an Army camp just west of the town centre, has since disappeared under a modern housing estate. In 1938 the West Suffolk Aero Club enjoyed pleasure flying here. From September 1940, Lysanders of the 268th Army Co-operation Command were based here. When upgrading to Curtiss Tomahawks the squadron moved to Snailwell (Cambridgeshire). From August 1942 the Air Observation Post (AOP) arrived with the RAF 652th Squadron and de Havilland Tiger Moths. By the end of the year the Moths were replaced by Taylorcraft Austers. A second squadron, the 656th was also formed here with Austers before heading to India. The Army Co-operation Command was disbanded in June 1943.
See Rougham for more information on RAF Bury St Edmunds.
Greene King was formed in the town in 1887, through the merger of two successful local brewers. Greene & Son were established in 1806 whilst F.W. King & Son were established in 1868. Brewing still takes place in Westgate Brewery with an attractive "art-deco" style brewhouse built in 1939 - with offices and their modern packaging plant located nearby (close to a SSSI). The visitor centre for the brewery is open all week.
Some details from "Suffolk Airfields in WW2" by Graham Smith.