On Christmas Day 855, at the tender age of 15, a boy called Edmund was crowned King of East Anglia.  He was a popular and just king.  When the Danes invaded, he found himself leading an army into battle against them, and it was during a forced retreat one fateful day in 869 that he and his followers were captured.  Edmund was tortured and killed.  Legend has it that he refused to renounce his strong Catholic faith and thus died a martyr.  The Abbey, which dates back to 633, was renamed in his honour and for the next five centuries pilgrims from all over the world traveled to worship at the shrine of St. Edmund’s.

Today we made our own pilgrimage to the Abbey, once among the richest Benedictine monasteries in England.  Most of the Abbey buildings are in ruins now due to the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.  Gardens have been planted among them and there’s a children’s play area with a little carousel.  We had a picnic lunch by a small stream and then Scarlett rode the carousel.  It was strange to see children playing on swings and slides with those ruins as a backdrop.  And yet sweet too.  A reminder that life goes on.


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