EDMUND (EADMUND), SAINT, THE MARTYR: Last king of the East Angles; b. in Nuremberg 841, the son of King Alkmund; killed by the Danes near Hoxne (25 m. n. of Ipswich), Suffolk, Nov. 20, 870. As the adopted son of Offa, the East Anglian king, he succeeded that monarch Dec. 25, 855. It was the time of the Danish incursions in England. In 870 a formidable band of the heathen attacked East Anglia, and according to the not altogether trustworthy accounts, Edmund determined to sacrifice himself in the hope of saving his people. He was bound to a tree, tortured, and finally beheaded. His remains were interred at Hoxne for thirty-three years and then deposited at the town now known as Bury St. Edmunds, where Canute built a magnificent church and abbey in his honor in 1020. Whether Edmund was ever formally canonized is doubtful, but miracles were attributed to him soon after his death, his shrine was long one of the most frequented resorts of English pilgrims, and his sainthood was unquestioned in the popular estimation. His piety, meekness, and benevolence are highly extolled and it is said that he shut himself up in his tower at Hunstanton in Norfolk for an entire year to memorize the Psalter.
Bibliography: The Passio sancti Edmundi, by Abbo., ed. T. Arnold, is in Rolls Series, No. 96, London, 1890. Consult the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, ed. B. Thorpe, in Rolls Series. No. 23, ib. 1861; DNB. xvi. 400-401.