Friends of Havering Museum – Trip to Bury St Edmunds

Havering Museum is lucky enough to have its own group, the Friends of Havering  Museum, who have supported and nurtured Havering Museum since its opening in May 2010. From the beginning the Friends have been instrumental in the museum’s success, without these like minded group of people we would not have Havering Museum here today. The Friends were formed by group of people who believed strongly that Havering should have a museum. Through a lot of hard work and patience, Havering Museum was born. The Friends continue to share in its success, although they see their role now as ‘Grandparents, loving their child but not interfering with its growing up’.

(Quote from Friends of Havering Museum website).

The Friends of Havering Museum are a very active group of people, not only meeting at the museum for regular talks and events, some of which are included in the £10 yearly membership fee, but also venturing out on many visits to places nearby and further afield.

One such visit that the Friends recently enjoyed was their visit on 4th July to Bury St Edmunds. This account of the day has been kindly submitted by one of the Friends, Ron Lloyd. It sounds like they had a fun filled day, we hope to share more of the Friends adventures in the future.

The Friends of Havering Museum left The Queens Theatre for our coach trip to the beautiful medieval town of Bury St Edmunds. The town takes its name from St Edmund, King of the East Anglia, who was killed by the invading Danes in 869 AD.

Some of the Friends of Havering Museum on their trip to Bury on 4th July 2015.

Some of the Friends of Havering Museum on their trip to Bury St Edmunds on 4th July 2015.

We started our day at the Greene King Visitor Centre, Westgate Street where twelve Friends met our wonderful guide, Maureen, who informed us that Greene King has been brewing since 1799 then took us on an excellent and informative tour around the brewery. Maureen explained the beer making process then invited us to the Brewery Tap where we were supplied with some very tasty samples of Greene King’s products. One of the beers that took my fancy was ‘Old Crafty Hen’ made from a blend of ‘Old Speckled Hen’ and 5X. This 5X is a special vintage beer having been stored in an oak vat for 2 years giving a complex sherry like taste with notes of brandy soaked raisins. Delicious!
One of our stops was the Great Churchyard, showing the Norman Tower and Elizabeth Frink’s statue of St Edmund. Nearby a plaque records the Barons meeting in 1214, they took an oath to force King John to accept the Charter of Liberties (The Magna Carta). Last year was its 800th anniversary.

The Great Churchyard,  the Norman Tower and Elizabeth Frink’s statue of St Edmund.

The Great Churchyard, the Norman Tower and Elizabeth Frink’s statue of St Edmund.

A visit to St Edmundsbury Cathedral revealed an elegant nave which was built by John Wastell in 1503, perhaps the longest in a parish church. The church also had a magnificent altar. Later that afternoon there was a special service for the ordination of priests so we had to leave.

The magnificent alter in St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

The magnificent alter in St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Wandering around Bury St Edmunds, we came across the Angel Hotel a former coaching inn, in Angel Street. Charles Dickens was a regular visitor to the town and stayed at the Angel. In his book Pickwick Papers he calls Bury St Edmunds ‘a handsome little town, of thriving and cleanly appearance’.

In all we had an excellent day out, including the weather, in Bury St Edmunds.

For more information about the Friends of Havering Museum please visit the Havering Museum website.

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