Hidden East Anglia:
Landscape Legends of Eastern England
EDMUND OF EAST ANGLIA
Part 3 - History As We Know It:
Edmund is born. The Danes make their first raid into East Anglia. Æthelweard is king at this time.
Edmund succeeds to the throne of East Anglia on Christmas Day.
Edmund is consecrated as king, again on Christmas Day, at 'Burva'.
A 'Great Heathen Army' of the Danes arrives in England by ship, sets up its winter camp somewhere in East Anglia, and is bought off with a gift of horses. It's quite possible that various battles occur before peace is brokered.
The Danes leave for Northumbria, capture York, campaign in Mercia, force Nottingham to sue for peace, then go back to York for the winter.
The Danes ride back across Mercia to East Anglia, where they winter at Thetford. King Edmund fights with them, perhaps more than once at unknown locations, dies at 'Hægelisdun' on November 20th, and is buried there or nearby. The Danes take over East Anglia.
Edmund's body is translated to a church at 'Beodricesworth' (Bury St. Edmunds).
Bishop Theodred of London inspects Edmund's body and confirms it is still incorrupt.
A Danish force lands at Ipswich. For safety, Edmund's body is taken to London and kept there for three years.
On its journey back from London, the body travels through Stapleford, where the local lord is allegedly cured by a miracle.
King Sweyn Forkbeard threatens to sack Bury unless a ransom is paid, but dies suddenly, supposedly struck down by a vision of St. Edmund.
King Cnut orders a new stone church to be built at Bury, to be staffed by monks, which begins Bury's rise to power as one of England's most important abbeys.
Abbot Leofstan of Bury pulls at Edmund's head to see if it really is still attached to the body, but suffers a stroke and loses the use of his hands.
Edmund's body is translated into the new church, and is confirmed as still being incorrupt.
The church and chapel at Hoxne are granted to Norwich Priory, as being the place where Edmund was killed i.e. 'Hægelisdun'.
Edmund's body is moved into a new and grander shrine at Bury. A golden angel is described as being upon the coffin, and Abbot Samson touches the incorrupt body.
After the French are called in to help fight against King John, and instead try to take the country, they claim to have taken Edmund's body and other relics to Toulouse.
The abbey church and shrine at Bury are badly damaged by fire.
At the Dissolution of the monasteries, the King's Commissioners take from the abbey large amounts of gold, silver and valuables, but find the shrine "very cumbrous to deface". There is no mention of the saint's body or relics.
Relics from Toulouse are returned to England and lodged at Arundel, where they still lie. Scholars reject them as the genuine remains of Edmund.
The next section looks at Edmund's presence in the legendary landscape of East Anglia.