St. Edmund, the King

In the shade of a lone tree (on the right next to the red tractor), above the mad/May/green of a hay time Wensum Valley, are the last remains of Edmund’s Church. There’s not much still standing.  Yet I was able to look out through the last surviving window.

They have found evidence of Roman and earlier  occupation on this ancient site.  Telltale inch wide Roman brick can be see in the last surviving quoin.

The holy women who once prayed on this hill transferred to Thetford in 1176 CE, under the protection of the Abbot of St. Edmund’s.  The Priory of St. George at Thetford had been established in memory of the English and Danes who fell in a near by battle. Perhaps this  was the purpose of the church and community that lived  here on the western flank of Easthaugh Hill. 

Some, like local historian Joe Mason,  believe this was the first resting place of the martyred St. Edmund, the King.

Norfolk Heritage Explorer’s circular walk takes the pilgrim up through the woods to pass close by the King’s Stone and through the Grove where the dead warriors are thought to be at rest. It quotes an article in the EDP of 13 March 1939 that records:-

the fascinating legends attached to this supposedly dark, lonely and mysterious place, and suggests that the name indicates a place where in ancient times secret religious mysteries or magic-working were practised, and which was possessed by ghosts.

I walked it on a summer’s day 

And sat by the Stone to rest.

It did not feel spooky to me in the least. But, if you like atmosphere and  poetry then this piece in Lost in a Landscape is for you.


Author: norfolkpilgrim

Retired CofE clergyperson. Thinking globally acting locally. Here we have no abiding city.

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