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Suffolk Guild of Ringers chime for St Edmund's Day
By Andrew Woodger
BBC Suffolk

St Edmund
St Edmund in stained glass at St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Six teams of bell-ringers will be celebrating St Edmund's Day on Saturday, 20 November, 2010.

The Suffolk Guild of Ringers has organised peals at churches in Fressingfield, Sproughton, Edwardstone, Barrow, Southwold and Saxmundham.

"St Edmund being the patron saint of Suffolk, we feel it's very important to mark his day," said Richard Munnings, ringing master.

"I'm very proud of Suffolk, so to have a figurehead is very important."

Edmund was the King of Anglo-Saxon East Anglia in the 9th Century.

He was declared a Christian martyr after being killed for his beliefs by Danish invaders.

In the 14th Century, St George replaced him as patron saint of England. A BBC Suffolk campaign to reinstate Edmund as England's patron saint was not successful, but he is now the patron saint of Suffolk.

St Edmund's Day takes place on 20 November each year and Suffolk's bell-ringers are trying to make sure everyone hears about it.

"He's the original and best to my mind," said Mr Munnings. "It would be fantastic, from the Suffolk point of view, to have him up their as the national patron saint and to say we started it from here."

Richard Munnings
Richard Munnings with his Suffolk Guild of Ringers badge of office

Three hour methods

Around 40 people will take part in the peals at the six churches and they will be ringing for up to three hours.

Other churches are expected to join in.

"There are people that are either practising Christians, lapsed Christians, atheists and I know of other ringers across the world who are from other religions," said Mr Munnings.

"First and foremost for me it's the social side of things and on the mental side there's the fact that you never learn everything.

"Because the tunes that we do, what we call methods, wouldn't be recognised as songs as such, it's almost mathematical rather than musical.

"It just beats sitting in front of the TV all night."

Other events

BBC Suffolk will hold an outside broadcast in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday, 20 November.

The Mark Murphy programme (0900-1200 GMT) comes live from the cathedral looking at a host of St Edmund-related stories, activities and history.

The Tourist Information Centre (TIC) at Stowmarket's Museum of East Anglian Life has a display of crowns made by pupils from Wood Ley Primary School as well as display boards telling the history and legend of St Edmund.

On Thursday, 18 November 'St Edmund' will be making a personal appearance for a coronation ceremony involving children from the school. Ring the TIC on 01449 676800.

Annette Ellis, tourist officer, said: "We've had quite a lot of interest. It's something that people are increasingly aware of."

On Saturday, 20 November Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds is offering banner-colouring for children and a talk on St Edmund by local historian Ron Murrell. Ring 01284 706183.

Saturday also sees a St Edmund's Day walk starting at 2pm from the TIC on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds.

The walk lasts an hour and finishes at the St Edmund Tavern on Risbygate Street. Ring 01284 764667 for prices and details.

Celebrating St Edmund's Day 2009
19 Nov 09 |  History


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