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Historian and TV presenter Dan Snow in Bury St Edmunds and Thetford filming new show



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You may have spotted a famous historian and TV stalwart in the county over the past week or so.

Dan Snow, known for such programmes as Battlefield Britain and Britain’s Lost World, has been in Bury St Edmunds and Thetford filming his latest show, looking at a key period in East Anglian history - the Viking Great Heathen Army's invasion of Britain in the 9th century.

He has travelled across the UK tracing the steps of the nordic invaders, and his journey brought him to the area just a few days ago.

Dan Snow has been in Bury St Edmunds and Thetford to film his latest TV programme. Picture: Dan Snow.
Dan Snow has been in Bury St Edmunds and Thetford to film his latest TV programme. Picture: Dan Snow.

He stopped off at the former tennis courts in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, which were dug up last year in the hopes St Edmund’s remains might be found there, visited archaeological sites in Thetford, where the Viking army was known to have stayed, and spoke to Dr Francis Young, a local historian who specialises in the history of St Edmund.

“We went to Bury in part because of the tennis court being lifted and the possibility of King Edmund being found there,” Dan said.

He added: “That’s what’s most exciting, whether I can find the grave of King Edmund.

The Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton.
The Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton.

“We are filming across other sites and we have found some amazing archaeology in Thetford.”

Metal detectorists have found a variety of Viking paraphernalia in Thetford, the location of a famous battle between King Edmund and the nordic invaders around 869.

The history behind the battle there is hazy, and so Dan employed the help of Dr Francis Young, who was interviewed on the programme.

Dr Young believes King Edmund attacked the Vikings at Thetford after they sacked monasteries on their way down south from Peterborough.

Dr Francis Young spoke to Ben about the history behind the Great Heathen Army invasion of Britain in the 9th century. Picture: Dr Francis Young.
Dr Francis Young spoke to Ben about the history behind the Great Heathen Army invasion of Britain in the 9th century. Picture: Dr Francis Young.

Edmund, as a religious man, Dr Young believes, took offence and reneged on a peace agreement made between himself and the Vikings.

It was the first time Dr Young had spoken to Dan, and he said he enjoyed the experience.

“It was the first time I met him and it was good to be involved,” he said.

“I always enjoy talking about St Edmund and it’s good to reach a wider audience.”

Talking more broadly, Dan said working over the past year or so had been ‘tricky’, but the nature of filming history documentaries had made his life slightly easier.

“History shows are quite easy to make in lockdown because I can just go into a place like Bury St Edmunds by myself,” he said.

“We have been very lucky.”

Dan’s two-part TV series on the Great Heathen Army is due to be released in the next month or so on his TV channel History Hit TV.

For more information on the show visit: www.access.historyhit.com/checkout/subscribe/purchase

Dan Snow is the son of Peter Snow, BBC television journalist, and great-great-grandson of former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

Read more: All the latest news from Bury St Edmunds

Read more: All the latest news from Thetford