Abbey Gardens credit Shawn Pearce

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5 Things to Spot in The Abbey Gardens

Here's our top 5 things to look out for in the Abbey Gardens

1. The Legend of St Edmund Book

Abbey Gardens St Edmund oak book Mark Cordell resized for blog

A wonderful oak book by Den Humphrey inscribed with the legend of St Edmund and the wolf can be found in the Abbey Gardens by the café.

2. The Wing of a 'Flying Fortress Bomber'

Abbey Gardens Rose Garden Bomber Bench Andy Abbott

In the Appleby Rose Garden you'll find a bench made from the wing of an American 'Flying Fortress Bomber' and a memorial stone. Both pay tribute to the many US servicemen and women stationed in Suffolk and the 3,000 GI's who were stationed at RAF Bury St Edmunds (now Rougham Airfield). The rose garden is named after John Appleby, an American serviceman who served with the 487th Bomb Group in Lavenham, and who wrote the book Suffolk Summer.

3. The Saint Edmund Rose

Abbey Gardens St Edmund Rose Sue Warren resized for blog

Nestled behind the Flying Fortress Bomber bench in the Appleby Rose Garden is the Saint Edmund Rose. It was planted in 2005 in commemoration of the completion of St Edmundsbury Cathedral's new Millennium Tower and the visit of HRH, Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

4. Our Liberty

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The ‘Our Liberty’ memorial, designed by Suffolk artist Nigel Kaines, marks the meeting of the barons who came together at the Abbey of St Edmund in 1214 to sign the Charter of Liberties, the precursor to the Magna Carta.

The memorial includes the spears and banners of the barons with bronze scrollwork displaying shields carrying the important commemorative events. The design is supported on original stone from the Abbey – stones which might have been witness to the arrival of the barons all those years ago.


5. Sundial Fountain

Bury St Edmunds former water fountain now planter with historic sundial on top credit Sue Warren

This Victorian drinking fountain, with sundial cube on the top, was gifted to the people of Bury St Edmunds in 1871 by the 3rd Marquess of Bristol, owner of the Ickworth Estate. It is an extremely early example - quite possibly the earliest in the country - of a sundial that allowed the town clocks to be set to GMT rather than the local mean time. Originally located at the south end of The Traverse, it was moved to the Abbey Gardens in 1939. No longer a fountain it is now a beautiful planter.

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