Bury St Edmunds Abbey Gardens: Old tennis courts removal starts this week ahead of scan that could solve St Edmund mystery
Work to remove the old tennis courts in Bury St Edmunds' Abbey Gardens starts this week ahead of a planned scan of the grounds which could solve the mystery of St Edmund's burial site.
Contractors will be on site for five weeks to enhance the appearance of the area, which will be laid to grass.
New tennis courts at the former Eastgate Nurseries in the Abbey Gardens are due to open this summer.
Subject to funding bids, the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership is planning a geophysical scan of the former Abbey area later this year.
This year is the 1,000th anniversary of the foundation of the Abbey and the partnership wants to learn more about the structures and artefacts that may lie beneath the site.
The Rev Canon Matthew Vernon, chairman of the partnership, said: "There has also been lots of speculation and excitement about the possibility that St Edmund, the martyred King of East Anglia and first patron saint of England, might be buried within the Abbey grounds.
"While our scan would include the site of the old tennis courts, its purpose is to further the research and discover more about what structures, artefacts and other links to the Abbey’s medieval past may lie beneath a much larger part of the former Abbey.
"It is our belief that this would in turn greatly contribute to our understanding of this internationally significant heritage site which remains a scene of continuing wonder and delight."
The Abbey Gardens represents just a third of the former Abbey area, which stretches to St Mary's Church, the Vinefields and water meadows.
The heritage partnership is led by St Edmundsbury Cathedral.