Historian’s new book explains why St Edmund is ‘buried under tennis courts’ in Abbey Gardens

Dr Francis Young in front of the Abbey Gardens tennis courts in Bury, where he believes St Edmund is buried
Dr Francis Young in front of the Abbey Gardens tennis courts in Bury, where he believes St Edmund is buried

A professional historian has penned a book arguing that St Edmund is buried under the tennis courts in Bury St Edmunds’ Abbey Gardens.

Francis Young’s book, Edmund – In Search of England’s Lost King, explores the theory that St Edmund’s remains lie beneath the tennis courts. He disentangles the man from the myth and tells of the mysterious life of St Edmund.

Edmund In Search of England's Lost King

Edmund In Search of England's Lost King

It coincides with recently announced plans by the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership to move the tennis courts, which could unlock the mystery of St Edmund’s final resting place.

The book, split into two strands, tells of Dr Young’s search for St Edmund’s body and collates evidence he has collected for decades.

Dr Young, who was born in Bury St Edmunds and who now lives in Peterborough, said he wanted to work on a book about the foundation of the town.

He said: “In 2013 I came across a document that was previously unknown, from a monk that said Edmund’s body was placed in an iron chest.”

In his book Dr Young explains his theory that St Edmund may be buried on the monks’ cemetary site near Edmundsbury Cathedral.

He illustrates this with a map of where he believes St Edmund to be buried.

“There are several reasons why Edmund could be buried on that site – it is consecrated ground and in 1539 there was an outbreak of the plague which excited suspicion of why Edmund could have been hidden there.”

Dr Young believes Edmund’s body may have been lost during the dissolution of the Monasteries. With a PhD in history from the University of Cambridge, Edmund – In Search of England’s Lost King, is Dr Young’s 11th book.

Dr Young is holding a book-signing session on Saturday, May 5 in the Buttermarket Waterstones, in Bury, from noon-1.30pm. The book is released on Thursday, April 26, and is available to pre-order through publisher IB Tauris.