The legend of St Edmund
Almost nothing is known about St. Edmund save for whisperings
and myths. We know that he was the King
of East Anglia from about AD855 until his death on 20th November
When King Aethelweard of East Anglia died in AD855 he was
the last of the Royal House of East Anglia, so his subjects sent word to their
homeland of Angeln for a successor. A
distant cousin named Edmund arrived at what is now known as St. Edmunds point
in Hunstanton to claim his kingdom.
Unfortunately for Edmund, the Vikings had their eyes on
Norfolk. Lead by Ivarr the Boneless, they
brought their Great Heathen Army to East Anglia, at first Edmund pacified them
with gifts of horses which helped keep peace for a while. Eventually though they returned, in an
unidentified place near Diss, The Great Heathen Army and Edmunds forces engaged
in battle. Unfortunately Edmunds forces were defeated in battle. The Vikings wanted Edmund to renounce his faith and when he would not they were merciless with him. They
are said to have beaten him, tied him to a tree and used his back for target
practise for their archers. Eventually they beheaded him and played a
barbaric game of rugby with his head before finally discarding it in the
woodland. Edmunds followers were keen to find his body and give him a proper burial and so, days later, they found his body first and then his head, which lay between the paws of a great wolf,
untouched by all the forest animals, seemingly at peace.
Hunstanton has celebrated St. Edmund with a trail of 6 wooden posts depicting scenes from Edmunds life. It begins with an information board close to the cenotaph in the Esplandade Gardens, ending with a 4ft oak sculpture of a wolf near the lighthouse next to the ruins of the chapel built to mark the spot where Edmund first landed.