Country: England, Medieval
Denomination/metal: Silver Penny
Ref. no: BMC 46; N 459; S 955.
Obv. Cross with upper and two transverse arms crosslet, the latter sloping upwards, 'EADMVND RX AN', (Edmund king of Anglia). Rev. Cross pattee with a pellet in each angle, 'BEORNFE(R)D MO', (Beornferd moneyer).
1.23g. GVF - Good Very Fine, well struck and nicely patinated.
Very good condition and very rare – especially this type with the strange cross crosslet rather than the simple 'alpha' on the obv. as normally seen. Very little is known of Edmund who was the last king of the independent Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of East Anglia, today's Norfolk and Suffolk. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that in A.D. 870: “[the Vikings] went across Mercia into East Anglia, and took winter-quarters at Thetford; and in that year St. Edmund the king fought against them, and the Danish took the victory, and killed the king and conquered all that land…” He may have been slain by the Danes in battle, but by tradition he met his death at an unidentified place known as Haegelisdun, after he refused the Danes' demand that he renounce Christ: the Danes beat him, shot him with arrows and then beheaded him, on the orders of their leaders, Ivar the Boneless and his brother Ubbe Ragnarsson. According to one legend, his head was then thrown into the forest, but was found safe by searchers after following the cries of a wolf that was calling, "Hic, Hic, Hic" – "Here, Here, Here". Commentators have noted how Edmund's death bears resemblance to the fate suffered by St Sebastian, St Denis and St Mary of Egypt. A coinage commemorating Edmund was minted from around the time East Anglia was absorbed by the kingdom of Wessex and a popular cult emerged. In about 986, Abbo de Fleury wrote of his life and martyrdom. The saint's remains were temporarily moved from Bury to London for safekeeping in 1010. His shrine was visited by many kings, including Canute, who was responsible for rebuilding the abbey: the stone church was rebuilt again in 1095. During the Middle Ages, when Edmund was regarded as the patron saint of England, Bury and its magnificent abbey grew wealthy, but during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, his shrine was destroyed. The mediaeval manuscripts and other works of art relating to Edmund that have survived include Abbo's Passio Santi Eadmundi, John Lydgate's 14th century Life, the Wilton Diptych and a number of church wall paintings.