Facts about Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds History
An archaeological study in the 2010s on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds (Beodericsworth, Bedrichesworth, St Edmund’s Bury) uncovered evidence of bronze age activity in the area. The dig also uncovered Roman coins from the first and second centuries. Samuel Lewis, writing in 1848, notes the earlier discovery of Roman antiquities, and as with several other writers connects Bury St Edmunds with Villa Faustini or Villa Faustina, although the location of this Roman site is also discussed by E. Gillingwater who notes the lack of evidence for it being here.
The town was one of the royal boroughs of the Saxons. Sigebert, king of the East Angles, founded a monastery here about 633, which in 903 became the burial place of King Edmund, who was slain by the Danes in 869, and owed most of its early celebrity to the reputed miracles performed at the shrine of the martyr king. The town grew around Bury St Edmunds Abbey, a site of pilgrimage. By 925 the fame of St Edmund had spread far and wide, and the name of the town was changed to St Edmund’s Bury.
A permanent military presence was established in the town with the completion of the Militia Barracks in 1857 and of Gibraltar Barracks in 1878. During the Second World War, the USAAF used RAF Station Rougham airfield outside the town. On 3 March 1974 a Turkish Airlines DC10 jet Flight 981 crashed near Paris killing all 346 people on board. Among the victims were 17 members of Bury St Edmunds Rugby Football Club, returning from France.
The town council was formed in 2003. The election on 3 May 2007 was won by the “Abolish Bury Town Council” party. The party lost its majority following a by-election in June 2007 and, to date, the Town Council is still in existence. In March 2008 a further by-election put Conservatives in control but in the council election of May 2011 the lack of Conservative and other parties’ candidates let in a Labour majority before the election was even held. By 2013 a number of by-elections put Conservatives in control again and in the 2015 election Conservatives won 14 of the 17 vacancies.