This strange name for an English Town prompted this poem.

It is the year 940, and the English King, Athelstan has just died. His heir is his brother Edmund, who has turned away from all thoughts of power, is a simple gentle priest, but is called upon to lead the Saxon army against invading Vikings, who are camped outside the City of York, prior to its storming the following day. A young Saxon novice priest is captured by them as he tried to enter the city, then known as Jorvik, and taken before the Viking King Offa.

BURY ST EDMUND'S

By Len A.Hynds

Get off your knees, young Saxon priest,
no harm shall come to you tonight.
My thegns just tease, at this our feast,
so be not afraid, and shake with fright.

Tell me of Edmund, your priestly king,
the brother of your great Athelstan.
The one who shunned his brothers ring,
and chose your poor but priestly clan.

Will he fight me then tomorrow,
or spend his day at prayer?
From the sea to Jorvik I've brought him sorrow.
No sword he offers, just a fearful stare.

He's like a sheep about to be killed,
without lifting his sword to defend.
Your Kings asleep, he hates blood spilled,
England is mine, on that depend.

Make no mistake, the weakest will fall,
neath Odinís axe and Thorís hammer.
All England will see my warriors tall,
and hear the battles fearful clamour.

In spite of this I've had these dreams,
where you English, you win in the end.
When Edmund sanctified it seems,
and to Anglia, his pilgrims wend.

But a King must be strong, and lead his men,
not kneel and pray that we go.
The strongest get respect, and then,
a powerful kingdom will grow.

King Edmund was killed in battle and his body carried by monks to his church in a village in East Anglia where he was buried. He was made a Saint by the pope, and around his church grew the town of Bury St Edmunds.

Statue of St Edmund
Statue of St Edmund