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Abbey of St Edmunds study reveals site's hidden secrets

The Abbey of St Edmunds (3110055)
The Abbey of St Edmunds (3110055)

An historical and archaeological investigation into the Abbey of St Edmund has uncovered colourful secrets from its 1,000 year past.

The study, which is the first of two to be commissioned by the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership, found that a collection of wolf skulls had been discovered on the site in 1848, while an air raid shelter had been built during the war in the Abbey grounds, where the public toilets now stand.

It also found that several churches had stood on the site before the Abbey was founded in by King Cnut in 1020 AD, and that much of the site’s structure had survived beyond the dissolution of monasteries which was ordered by Henry VIII in 1539.

The Rev Canon Matthew Vernon, chairman of the partnership, said: “The heritage assessment has collated the diverse history of the Abbey over the past 1,000 years.

“All of this work – and the conservation plan that is ongoing – has been carried out with the intent of helping people better understand this fascinating site and its importance, not just in terms of its history but also its spiritual and archaeological significance.”

The study aims to bring together all information about the Abbey ahead of its millennium in 2020 and help

to shape the future understanding and conservation of the site.

It was carried out with funding from Historic England and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.