Saturday, 21 April 2018

St Edmundsbury Cathedral

On a whim over breakfast, I suggested that we go for an outing.  The choices were the coast or Bury St Edmunds, and I was pleased that Z opted for the latter.  I used to collect cathedrals.  Failing memory and neglect mean that I can’t name them all, but I can recall a few favourites – Winchester, Salisbury, especially Chichester – and now I can add this one.

It’s quite austere as cathedrals go.  Its main nave dates from 1503, so probably the cathedral as we see it was born too late to be too much of a victim of the Reformation depravation.  The relatively low-key flashy bits are mostly later add-ons; though my sole source of historical information, a little brochure handed to me by a charming greeter, of whom later, is confusing to say the least.  The showpiece stained glass Susanna window, for example, is dated around 1480, so must have been recycled from somewhere.  And it’s called St Edmundsbury, which makes one wonder which came first, the saint or the town?  I’ll have to look it up.*
The man who welcomed us proved to have Yagnub origins, to have been slightly acquainted with the Sage, and to have a few bits of Lowestoft china which he might want to sell at some time.  Z was quite moved by this reminder of the power of coincidence, I think.
Next time we go there, we will take a picture of a commemorative wall plaque that manages to write the history, from tragic to happy, of several generations of a local eighteenth century family; find out more about the project (comparable in scale to the Fishguard Last Invasion tapestry) that resulted in hundreds of uniquely embroidered kneelers on the pews, one for each and every parish in the diocese and well beyond, as far as we could make out; and walk in the cloisters.

Afterwards, we wandered out and around the town, admiring how graciously ancient buildings have mostly managed to absorb modern commercial functions, and unsuccessfully looking for non-chain-outlet food, before we took off and found a well-concealed but deservedly popular lunch venue at a vineyard just off the A143.

*Or await a clarifying comment from one of my many readers…


  1. I've never been into St Edmundsbury Cathedral. We go to Bury several times a year for shopping (they still have a few independent shops as well as some chains that we don't have in Ippo) and have been into Moyses Hall Museum but never the cathedral. Sir B and I got married in the registry office at Bury and the cathedral appears in the background of a photo of us taken in the Abbey Gardens afterwards. We really must pay a visit.

    Sir B likes the Giggling Squid for lunch in Bury, but that is a chain. There is a pub called the One Bull which is nice and a chinese called Mr Ming, but I don't know if they are independent or not.

  2. Mortimer’s fish restaurant used to be one of the best. Never eaten at Wyken Vineyards - always looked a bit expensive

  3. Thanks for your eating tips, Liz and Rog, we'll bear them in mind for next time. The Wyken place wasn't cheap, but we reckoned money well spent.