ST. ANDREW'S, GREENSTED

 

File:'Church of St Andrew' Greensted, Ongar, Essex England - from the south-west.JPG

 

File:Edmundbeingmartyred05.jpg          Saint Edmund

 

Saint Edmund's body was first buried in Greensted Church near Ongar. Greensted is known as "The Log Church", it has a timber frame and its walls are made of vertical timbers and tree trunks. It is said to be the oldest timber church in Britain and one of the oldest in Europe.

Many years after Saint Edmund's burial there, his body was moved from Greensted, possibly as early as in 902 or 903 AD, 34 years after his death, but some documents say that his body was exhumed from Greensted and moved to Bury in 1013 AD, 144 years after his death. Yet other ancient documents suggest that perhaps his body was moved to the special chapel being built for him by King Canute, King of England in 1020 AD, which was as much as 150 years after his death.

King Canute was having several important places of worship and sanctuaries built after he became king in 1016 or 1017 AD. Documents say that Edmund's removal was to be after a memorial church shrine was built at Beadoriceworth, a town later called Bedrichesworth and later still called Bury St Edmunds. In fact, it is known that King Canute had the sanctuary built in Bury after he became king and it was completed and opened in 1020 to house Saint Edmund's body.

Amongst other sanctuaries that King Canute had ordered and paid to be built was the Minster at Ashingdon, also opened in 1020 AD. Ashingdon was the site of the Battle that he won, which made him King of England.

After Saint Edmund was exhumed at Greensted, it was found that his head was now firmly attached to his neck and despite the long burial, the skin and hair of Saint Edmund was undamaged as if he were sleeping.

King Edmund, later Saint Edmund was murdered in a forest which may have been Epping Forest. Greensted is located now less than 2 miles (3 km) from the nearest forest which was part of the then larger Epping Forest. Greensted became a very important place of pilgrimage both during his burial there and after his removal to Bury St Edmunds.