Guildhall volunteers create costumes for historic Bury St Edmunds figures for Abbey’s anniversary

Two characters from Bury St Edmunds history have been brought to life thanks to a partnership between Bury St Edmunds and Beyond and Bury St Edmunds Guildhall.

Bury St Edmunds and Beyond – the town’s tourism brand – wanted to create authentic costumes for arguably the town’s most famous characters – St Edmund and Mary Tudor, Queen of France – ahead of the Abbey of St Edmund’s 1000-year anniversary.

Volunteer costumers from Bury St Edmunds Guildhall sprung into action and have spent hours recreating costumes for St Edmund and Mary Tudor.

The costumes will be used in tourism photo shoots and at events in the town for next year’s celebrations.

They will also go on display at Bury St Edmunds Guildhall from December 4 to 22 (see The Guildhall’s website for opening times at

Sue Warren, Brand and Marketing Manager for Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, said: “The costumes created by the volunteers at Bury St Edmunds Guildhall have exceeded my wildest expectations. They are absolutely beautiful and look authentic. The volunteers have spent many hours researching and making both costumes, much of which has been stitched by hand. The costumes will be able to be used in photos, events and in exhibitions in the town for years to come and we are so grateful to the volunteers for all their hard work.”

Bury St Edmunds takes its name from King Edmund, the original Patron Saint of England and King of East Anglia, whose shrine at the Abbey of St Edmund was once one of the most famous and wealthy pilgrimage sites in England. While Mary Tudor, Queen of France, was Henry VIII’s favourite sister.

Mary died, aged 37, at Westhorpe Hall, in Suffolk, on June 25, 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 the nearby St Mary’s Church. You can find her very simple tomb to the north side of the altar.

Marilyn Lee, Trustee of Bury St Edmunds Guildhall and organiser of the volunteer costumers, said: “The Guildhall costume team really rose to the challenge and have produced wonderful results. My role was merely as a facilitator, as the team members are all so skilled, it has been a pleasure to watch these costumes coming to life in their hands.”

For more details on the Abbey’s 1000-year anniversary visit

Pictured above are Janet Rix, Dale Austin, actress and author Hatty Ashton (as Mary Tudor Queen of France), Jacquie Norman, Rose-Marie Counihan and Marilyn Lee, Trustee of Bury St Edmunds Guildhall.

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