Abbots Graves and Teapot and Cockerel Ruins

Famous ghost writer and academic M R James discovered whilst researching in Douai, France the whereabouts of six abbots of St Edmundsbury Abbey. They were in the Chapter House and on New Year’s Day 1903 they were disinterred, five were in coffins, one not. Most famous was that of Abbot Samson, buried with him was the silver tip of a crozier, a religious staff.  Local stonemasons Hanchets cut inscriptions on new coffin lids, for the sum of £8 12 shillings, the bill generously paid for by Mr Donne whose garden the Chapter House was in then! As far is known their remains are still there. 

The Benedictine St Edmundsbury Abbey  was one of the largest and richest in the country with the shrine of St Edmund its big attraction. The Abbey owned, taxed and controlled the town of Bury St Edmunds. So at the dissolution and at the behest of Henry VIII the abbey was taken down by the townspeople ensuring it would not come back to haunt them. All that remains today is the flint and mortar core, stripped of its limestone ashlar casing. To the keen eye looking southwards two shapes appear, on the left a cockerel complete with an eye, on the right a kettle!

With thanks to Martyn Taylor. From his book “Bury St Edmunds Through Time Revisited”