I note with interest that my old friend Alan Jary, in his capacity of chairman of the Bury Society, defends the legend that King Edmund was killed in Suffolk (Bury Free Press, December 23). Unfortunately, he cites the case of the pre-Magna Carta meeting of the barons in Bury St Edmunds in support of his argument.
Some years ago the learned professor Nick Vincent revealed that the barons’ meeting was not, in fact, held in this town but in a town situated in the north of Kent. The chronicler responsible for the myth had written two accounts, citing in one the Kentish town, the other Bury St Edmunds.The professor’s reason for rejecting the Bury account was the documentary proof that nine of the barons allegedly in Bury were recorded as being part of a procession in Cheapside early the next morning, thus making it impractical for them to have been in the City so early but practical to have come from north Kent.
He further speculated that the chronicler would have gained some pecuniary advantage by giving the Abbot information which would enhance the Abbey’s reputation.
I would therefore urge both the town and borough councils to go easy on expenditure in celebraton of a myth, however attractive that may be to tourists.