We make our way from the ruins on into the Cathedral via. some pretty gardens
There is such an interesting history to this cathedral that I thought it worth relating in detail
A great mixture of the old and the new
St. Edmund and The Abbey
The origins of the modern cathedral begin with the martyrdom of the Christian Kind Edmund by invading Vikings in AD 869. His body was taken to the town of Beodricsworth and a monastic community looked after his shrine. By 1020 a Benedictine Abbey had been founded by King Cnut, and this grew in importance. The Frenchman Abbot Baldwin, appointed abbott by King Edward the Confessor in 1065, began the building of the abbey church and devised plans for enlarging the town. In the 12th century Abbott Anseim continued the expansion begun by Baldwin of the now wealthy and influential abbey, and replaced the parish church of St. Denis with a new church of St. James. It is believed that the dedication was chosen because Anseim had failed to make an intended pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James at Compostela in Spain. Work to extend St. James' church westward began in 1503 with design work by master mason John Wastell who also designed King's College Chapel, Cambridge and Bell tower, Canterbury. Work proceeded slowly and St. James' was not completed until after the dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey in Bury St. Edmunds being closed and stripped of its treasures in 1539.
St. Edmund's body disappeared; the ruins in the Abbey Gardens, Abbey Gate, the West Front and the Norman Tower are all that remain.
In 1914 a new diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich was created and St. James' was named as the cathedral church.
Enlargement began in earnest in the 1960's under the guidance of architect Stephen Dykes Bower. Different phases of building in the 20th and 21st centuries have created the cathedral you see today.
A painting of the abbey from the air
The Millennium tower
The Font with one of the many amazing stained glass windows all around the cathedral. This one depicts the last judgement with Christ in the centre
Looking through the font down the Nave
Well I think it is time for tea but we will keep that for the next post