Welcome to the Bury St Edmunds Past & Present Society website.
The Society was formed in 1960 and seeks to appeal to all with a love of the history of our town and surrounding countryside.
The Society took its name from the title of a book by Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) the eminent author, biographer and historian. Published in 1843, its title was Past and Present. Carlyle devoted the whole of Book II to a description of life in the abbey of St Edmund. The earliest edition of the Jocelin of Brakelond’s Chronicle, edited by John Gage Rokewode (a member of the Gage family of Hengravee Hall) was published by the Camden Society in 1840. This, of course, gave only the Latin text, and Carlyle’s brilliant English version made it available to those who had not had a classical education.
We have a current membership of 96 people, and arrange a series of lectures each year from October to March on topics of historical interest. VISITORS and new members are always welcome (see ‘How to Join’ for more details). Please let us know if you wish to receive our latest programme of lectures.
The Society is engaged in a major project to digitise a large collection of glass negatives, known as the Spanton Jarman collection, many of which can be viewed on this site. The work, which began in 2005, is far from finished, but we have completed the section on Bury St Edmunds and are now working on images of Suffolk villages. If you have any information that would help with the captioning, we would be pleased to hear from you.
Committee Members 2016/17
President: Margaret Statham
Chairman: Stephen Cook
Treasurer: Stephen Cook
Secretary: Patricia Mackie
Betty Milburn MBE (Spanton Jarman Project)
Anne Sutton (Vice Chairman)
Chris Austin (Website)
Martyn Taylor (Publicity)
Brian Milner (Programme)
We also have two Honorary Members:
Mr Michael Jarman and
The Mayor of St Edmundsbury Borough Council
Here are the details of our next meeting.
Monday 3 October:
The Angel Roofs of Suffolk
Michael Rimmer studied Classics at Oxford University before becoming an investment manager and photographer. In 2010 he set out to create the first comprehensive photographic record of every angel roof in East Anglia. Unlike stained glass and statuary, the roofs were often too difficult to reach by the Reformation iconoclasts and as a result these carvings comprise the largest surviving body of major English medieval wood sculptures. Michael lives in Norfolk and lectures on medieval art and architecture.