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What the Dickens? – Our Bury St Edmunds history trail unveiled...

Some of the most famous historical names associated with Bury St Edmunds form the basis of a new trail helping participants discover the town’s heritage this summer. The Our Bury St Edmunds and Bury Society’s Abbey 1000 Trail, which begins on Monday May 30, is one of the events this year to celebrate 1,000 years of the town’s Abbey.


The trail around 20 local landmarks in Bury St Edmunds follows on from previous events which have featured work by local artists commemorating historic events and honouring stars who have appeared at the town’s theatre. As with previous trails, there will be a prize draw for all completed entry forms with five prizes of Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Cards to spend in the town centre to be won.


The Business Improvement District (BID) Organisation Our Bury St Edmunds has organised the Abbey 1000 Trail in conjunction with local historian and Chairman of The Bury Society, Martyn Taylor. It has received significant support from Coastline Graphics which, as in previous years, is a creative partner and major sponsor. This year the Skyliner Way-based business has created additional signage for the town-centre clues and the trail leaflet.


Chief Executive of Our Bury St Edmunds Mark Cordell said: “We know that people love following our trails, which are free to take part in, and it really adds something to a visit to the town – why not make a day of it with some shopping or perhaps a meal at the same time? If followed numerically the trail is about two miles and shouldn’t take more than two hours.


“In a previous year we focussed on the story of St Edmund and this really sparked people’s enthusiasm for the town’s history. This year, as we celebrate 1,000 years of the Abbey, we’ll be including landmarks, blue plaques and specially designed graphics to focus on individuals including Charles Dickens, James Oakes and some of the Abbots from the Abbey. The support of a number of BID member businesses who feature in the trail is very much appreciated.”


Martyn Taylor added: “There are many notable people connected to Bury St Edmunds over the last 1,000 years as well as, of course, significant events such as the Barons meeting to persuade King John to sign Magna Carta. I’m very proud that the Bury Society’s own Blue Plaque scheme features prominently in this trail. When we put up the first seven plaques in 2012, English Heritage who are the arbiters of the scheme noted how unusual it was to have three commemorating women in one phase. I am sure that those who complete the trail, whether locals or visitors to Bury, will enjoy looking more closely at familiar landmarks and learning a little about the town’s history too.”


The Abbey 1000 Trial will run from Monday May 30 to St Edmund’s Day on November 20. It can be followed on the Our Bury St Edmunds Loyal Free App or via a leaflet that can be downloaded from the organisation’s website or found at Tourist Information Points in the town. Claas, Treatt and Greene King are also recognised as commercial headline sponsors of the Abbey 1000 celebrations. For more information please visit


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2nd Floor, 2 Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1LA   01284 766258