Bury St. Edmunds has an extraordinary history. The ancient Saxon settlement of Bedricesworth was transformed when the body of Edmund, the martyred King of the East Saxons, was brought to the town in the early 10th century. Around his tomb grew one of the largest abbeys in England, together with a planned new town, the grid pattern of which still survives. In the Middle Ages, Bury had an importance out of all proportion to its size: Parliaments were held here and many Kings of England were visitors.
After the abbey was dissolved, Bury remained the heart of West Suffolk and was formally county town between 1888 and 1974. This new book combines archaeological evidence with documentary research to create a vivid picture of the town at every stage in its development and of the lives of its people; how they made their livings, their health, housing, religion, culture and entertainments. Famous townspeople are discussed, but the emphasis is on the ordinary inhabitant. The story is brought right up to the present day, including the effects on Bury of the great conflicts of the 20th century, in the second half of which it enjoyed rapid growth, with new light industry and tourism supplementing the traditional agriculture-based trades.
In this, his seventh book on the history of East Anglia, the author, a professional historian and teacher of local history, has provided a much-needed account of Bury's entire past, richly illustrated and very readable, which will appeal to everyone who knows the place ... one of the most beautiful towns in England.