See the Edmund Jewel at Moyse's Hall Musuem

An extremely rare piece of jewellery with possible links to St Edmund, from whom Bury St Edmunds takes its name, can be found at the town’s museum.

The ornate gold jewel, which may have even been used by the great king himself, was discovered by someone metal detecting in a field in Drinkstone in 2014. 

It is believed to be an aestal, a 9th century pointer used by people in high status for reading at a time when the majority of people were illiterate.

Aestals themselves are believed to be extremely rare – there are thought to be less than 10 in Europe. 

The most famous The Alfred Jewel which is inscribed with “Alfred had me made”, belonged to King Alfred and is at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. 

The Edmund Jewel dates back to the ninth century, Edmund was martyred in 869AD, so we do not know whether this was made before or after his death.

The site where the Edmund Jewel was found would have been part of the landholdings of the Abbey of St Edmund; land that some academics have suggested originally had connections to the King himself, while the rarity of the Jewel, coupled with its purpose means it is likely that, if it did not belong to Edmund himself, it would have been made and used by someone in high status in the Church.

Visit for details on the museum's opening times.

1000 years since the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund will be marked with a year of celebrations in 2022. Find out more with our 'Abbey of St Edmund 1000 Guide!

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