About St Edmund's Day
He fought alongside King Alfred in the battle against the Great Heathen Army of Vikings, who descended on East Anglia in 869. It was by this army that Edmund was captured and ordered to renounce his Christianity.
When he refused to do so, Edmund was tied to a tree, shot with arrows, and then beheaded, with his head having been thrown into a forest.
Legend has it that his head was found by his loyal followers, who followed the cries of a wolf which they found protecting the head from other animals.
It is said that his men then buried his body and head which, during a later exhumation, were found to have become reattached. Arrow wounds on his body had also disappeared and his skin had not decomposed.
In 1020, King Canute had a stone church built for Edmund's body and the first abbots arrived. This was the beginning of the Abbey of St Edmund and it became a site of great pilgrimage as people from all over Europe came to visit St Edmund’s shrine.
St Edmund's Day is celebrated around the world every year on November 20th.
- Did you know? Edmund is the patron saint of pandemics as well as kings.