About this Business
St Mary’s is the final resting place of Mary Tudor, Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk and Henry VIII's favourite sister (after whom Henry's ship the Mary Rose was named).
Mary, the younger surviving daughter of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, became the third wife of Louis XII of France, more than 30 years her senior. Following his death, she married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The marriage, which was performed secretly in France, took place during the reign of her brother Henry VIII and without his consent. This necessitated the intervention of Thomas Wolsey, and although the couple were eventually pardoned by Henry, they were forced to pay a large fine.
Mary died, aged 37, at Westhorpe Hall, Suffolk, on 25 June 1533 and she was first buried at the Abbey of St Edmund on July 21 1533 but when the abbey was dissolved her remains were moved five years later in 1538 to St Mary’s Church, Bury St Edmunds. You can find her very simple tomb to the north side of the altar.
St Mary's Church was built between 1290 and 1490 as part of the abbey complex, and is thought to be the largest parish church in England, has the second longest aisle and the largest west window. St Mary's also has a unique and beautiful hammer beam ‘angel’ roof.
The church is open Monday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm (3pm in the winter) but do check if you are planning to travel a distance as the church does hold services and events which may affect visiting times.
Admission is free. Donations gratefully received.