St Edmund and the Wolf

Ruins Bury Abbey

When the Danes invaded England around 800 AD the Saxon King Edmund fought to maintain the fort at Bury (in the East of England) and alas he ended up slashed by a Viking sword.

Suffolk garden

His head was said to be found in a nearby woodland and was fiercely guarded by a wolf. Saxon soldiers battled the loyal and fierce wolf to take the severed head back to be buried in the Abbey grounds.  Eventually the wolf let the King’s men take the remains as the Vikings had gone.  The head was buried along with the slaughtered body of the deceased English King.  When the body was later moved it was said that the head had mysteriously become reattached to the body.  Edmund’s body was buried at Bury St Edmund’s in 900 AD.

Saxon wall, archaeology England

St Edmund’s story is inspired by his legendary strength and he was the patron Saint of England until the 14th Century.  This unnerving story shines out during this Halloween weekend.


Visiting St Edmundsbury Cathedral (an old Saxon Abbey that had court houses and a fort attached) brings many historic stories to life and creates a chill to think of the fighting that took place here.

Cathedral organ

The rebuilt portion of the Abbey shows true beauty and ornate carvings and has a new millennium tower.  The organ is magnificient.

Abbey Gardens, Bury

The gardens pin point where the monks would have tended gardens that supported the Abbey community.

Abbey ruins, Bury

Around the garden are ruins that mark the locations where some of the many properties of the Abbey stood.  The monks would be involved with the administration of the dozens of buildings that were owned and managed by the church.

Susanna window Bury Abbey

The window opposite the main altar has impressive detail that tells the unsettling story of Susanna and the Elders from the Apochrypha.  Susanna survived an unsavoury encounter whilst bathing and experienced a happy ending to her plight at the very last minute.


Thankfully a light shone at the end of the tunnel for this biblical heroine.

Cloisters architecture

The cloisters offers the treat of tranquility, being parallel to the busy town of Bury St Edmunds yet a world away.

Abbey window

Pilgrims still visit the Abbey to light candles and offer a traditional prayer for those in need of comfort.


The Nave was built by John Wastell in 1503.

Cloisters architecture

This Halloween weekend seemed a good time to retell this historic story of violence, conflict and intrigue that marked the end of Saxon reign in Britain.


Enjoy more treats as posts here and a guide to abandoned English Abbey gardens here

Wishing you a wonderful Halloween weekend!

47 thoughts on “St Edmund and the Wolf

    • I was inspired today by the enlightening quote you selected from an intriguing Philosopher featured on your site. Look forward to enjoying more posts in the year ahead. Good wishes. Lita


    • I think the ruins would definitely be creepy at night and the acoustics of the building also had a spooky feel to them. I loved your post on the architecture of Sri Lanka. Wishing you a great weekend.


  1. Now that’s a beautiful place, and somewhere I haven’t visited yet. Compared to Canada, England is so small, and I live there half the time, but so many places to see! 😀 Lovely post.


    • Thank you. The story definitely caught my imagination! You have a beautiful website. I enjoyed the capture of light shining through the grass on your recent post. Wishing you a lovely December.


  2. Beautiful selection of images. You go from an ancient battlefield to the peace of gardens and church. I love learning about England’s long history, the Roman and Saxon conquests and how they were fought off. And the structures were, wisely, kept intact. Great storytelling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Linda for your beautiful comment. I agree it is wise move to keep all the structures as they are. I noticed scaffolding on the outside of the tower so renovation must be going on at the Abbey which is good to know. I am thrilled to hear we have our interest in history in common. It’s amazing to track back at how a city was formed. I remain grateful for the insightful updates you post on the most exciting city on the planet. NYC!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow so true. Hadn’t thought of it that way. Part of me admires how simple life was in Saxon Britain but watch out for those shiny swords ay?! Yep. I think I will take modern life. No wonder we live longer now 😉 Wishing you a wonderful weekend, your blog is gorgeous!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I had great joy taking them. I think I caught the last of the British sunshine as there has been so much rain recently. I enjoy European gardens and one day hopefully I get to visit gardens further afield!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this timely reminder! Yes, Christmas certainly makes time spin by. I have had an interesting month in Italy so will try to dig out some photos that have a nice sunny feeling about them. I could do with looking at some blue skies 😉 I enjoyed your image of ‘Contrasts’ and the gorgeous words that you wrote with it. Lovely post!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Me too. Nordic history is full of strength and hard won battles in my opinion, it’s hard to resist reading more about epic adventures! I am enjoying your beautiful blog. Thanks for the insight into the planetarium.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Helen! I had a great time on your blog today, I love the way your title ‘Photophile’ has two different meanings that come together beautifully in your work. Here’s to a great weekend up ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Lita for your encouraging comments. I’m enjoying your blog too. I’ve recently moved to England from Scotland and am developing an interest in English history. We’ve never had Saxons north of the border! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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