20th November, 869

20/11/2018 all-day

Edmund, last King of independent Anglo-Saxon East Anglia, was martyred. He had been defeated in battle by Danish Viking invaders, and captured. According to legend, Edmund refused to abandon Christianity, and was tortured, tied to a tree, then killed by Danish archers and beheaded.

There has long been argument about where he was killed. The likeliest spot seems to be Hoxne, in Suffolk. The site of Edmund’s eventual burial became venerated by Christian pilgrims, and an abbey was built at Bury St Edmunds. The abbey was one of the richest in medieval England until it was destroyed during the Reformation of the 1530s.

Edmund himself was to be England’s patron saint until replaced by the (probably) mythical St George in the 14th Century.