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No plans to dig up village church to find Saint Edmund

Barry Wall
Barry Wall

There are no plans to dig up Long Melford Church following the publication of Barry Wall’s theory in last week’s Free Press that the Saxon King and former patron saint of England, Saint Edmund, could be buried there.

The local historian shared his theory based on the connection between Bury St Edmunds abbey’s last abbot and the mystery of a once-sealed chapel adjacent to the church.

However, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, the Rev Matthew Lawson, said: “There are all sorts of theories about what happened to St Edmund’s remains after the dissolution of the abbey in Bury St Edmunds 500 years ago.

“The Lady Chapel would certainly have been a very special place to lay him to rest, and it is interesting that Saint Edmund features on our medieval glass.

“This is the first time we have heard this theory so we have no immediate plans to start digging.

“However, it is lovely to think that our Sunday morning children’s group, BaseCamp, might take place in the presence of royalty. Who knows, there have been kings in car parks after all.”

Mr Wall’s theory is based on the connection between Abbot Reeve and Long Melford.

He was born and raised in Long Melford at Ford Hall, a property belonging to the Cloptons of Kentwell.

Mr Wall says only Abbot Reeve would have had the power to remove the saint’s body, and believe’s he may well have done this as it became clear the abbey was to be closed by Thomas Cromwell.

It also centre’s on an empty shrine in the chapel and questions over why it was screened when it was later turned into a school.

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