Bury St. Edmund's, a parliamentary and municipal borough and market town of England, in the county of Suffolk, on the river Larke, 23 m. N. W. of Ipswich; pop. of the borough in 1871, 14,928. It is well built, and is supplied with gas and water. It has three handsome churches, one of which, St. Mary's, built about 1430, is remarkable for its beautiful carved roof, and contains a monument to Mary, queen of France, afterward duchess of Suffolk, daughter of Henry VII. of England. Among the schools are a free grammar school, founded by Edward VI., a commercial school for 150 boys, national schools, etc. Of nearly 100 almshouses and similar institutions in Bury, the most celebrated is Clopton's hospital for aged widowers and widows. Two fairs are held here during the year; the principal one, which is among the most important in England, commences Oct. 2, and lasts three weeks. - Bury St. Edmund's, or St. Edmund's Bury, as the old writers call it, is supposed to be the Roman Villa Faustina. Its name comes from St. Edmund, king and martyr, who received the manor from Beodric after the dissolution of the heptarchy, and was here crowned king of East Anglia in 856. After his death and canonization the Benedictines founded here an abbey under his protection, which in later ages became the most magnificent in the kingdom after that of Glastonbury. The abbot, under whom were 80 monks, 16 chaplains, and 111 servants, enjoyed the most extensive privileges, even to the coining of money and infliction of capital punishment.
Almost the only relic left of its grandeur is the western gate. On the side of the churchyard opposite to this stands the Norman tower, or church gate, a square structure 80 ft. in height, and of unknown age. It originally only formed the principal entrance to the churchyard, but it was used after the dissolution of the abbey as a belfry for a neighboring church. It is considered one of the finest specimens of Norman architecture in existence. Portions of the church remain, but are used as dwellings and shops. Parliaments were held here by Henry III. and several other kings. The town is the birthplace of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Bishop Gardiner, and Bishop Blomfield of London.
Norman Tower and Abbey.