From hidden curios to fascinating yarns, a local history enthusiast has lifted the lid on the secrets of Bury St Edmunds in a new book.
Martyn Taylor has compiled 90 stories in ‘Secret Bury St Edmunds’ revealing untold gems which shed new light on familiar landmarks in the town.
From houses to streets and even a ghost story, he hopes the book sates the reader’s appetite for the elusive ‘well I never knew that’ facts.
Mr Taylor, who is a registered tour guide in the town, said: “That is the aim of this book, to put forward that little bit extra about something that has always been taken for granted or never even known.”
Among the interesting tales is a look at ‘Penny Street’ which was the nickname given to a section of St John’s Street from the former Kings Head to Britannia pubs.
A page on Beeton’s Footpath states it was once the only direct route from the western side of the town to the northern side.
The Davers family are given a mention. They were wealthy landowners in the Bury area and had a townhouse on Angel Hill, now Abbey House, and the book tells how Mary Davers had an unusual request for her burial.
Mr Taylor looks at the story of nun Maude Carew, whose spectre is reputed to haunt the Great Churchyard.
He also tells the history of Ancient House, in Eastgate Street and on the corner of Barn Lane, which was a medieval house and the home of Bury Grammar School from 1550. The whispers of tunnels in the town are given some substance with the book listing three definite examples.
Other hidden features include ‘a face in torment’ which can be found in the town centre.
There are also sections on the Cullum pet graves,The Grapes Inn, the Abbey Ruins, St Botolph’s Chapel and the Churchgate Street Fire in 1903.
Mr Taylor has been contracted to write another book which will feature memories of Bury St Edmunds based on interviews with residents.
Published by Amberley and priced £14.99, ‘Secret Bury St Edmunds’ is available from Waterstones, Moyse’s Hall, Churchgate Books and the Cathedral Shop. Mr Taylor will sign copies at the Cathedral Shop on November 8 and Moyse’s Hall on November 22 in the mornings.