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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


St Edmund, the Martyr

20th November 869 - 20th November 2012

Patron Saint of England
icon St Edmund king and martyr


  1. I love the icon and can you tell us a little more about it...

  2. A you know, Alan, an icon tells the story. We've got the King of East Anglia tied to the tree and suffering martyrdom at the hands of the pagan Danes (i.e., the bloke with the bow). Edmund had been given the choice after capture in battle of renouncing Christ or suffering death - he chose the latter. After being riddled with arrows, he was decapitated and his head thrown away. Later, his dispersed followers (hoodies, lower right) came to recover his body, which they did. However, they couldn't, at first, find his head, which was eventually found being guarded by a wolf (lower centre). The whole corpse was taken to what was to become Bury St Edmunds (upper left) where it became an important site of pilgrimage. St Edmund was a very strong regional saint in East Anglia, but increasingly became an important, then the most important English saint. It was only with the dam' Crusades that St George took over his role in the popular imagination. Pity really. St Edmund's tomb was, almost inevitably, destroyed during the Dissolution.

  3. The Dissolution et al changed English Society for the worse I fear .Do you know "The Stripping of the Altars " by Duffy- not the syw chap but a fantastic scholar nevertheless...