Bury St Edmunds Group


Bury St Edmunds has grown from a small Anglo- Saxon settlement known as Beodricksworth to a modern bustling town, but somehow has managed to retain its much of its Georgian character.

Within the centre of the town is our magnificent Cathedral. The streets adjacent to the Cathedral are laid out in a grid system that was designed by Baldwin (Abbot 1065 -97). It can be claimed that Baldwin was one of the country's very first town planners.



Nathaniel Hodson established the present Abbey Gardens in 1831 and was modelled on the Royal Botanic Gardens in Brussels.

The Gardens are much loved by the residents and the thousands of visitors who regularly visit the town.



Our Group

The Bury St Edmunds Group of the meet on the third Wednesday of each month (except August & December) at 7.30 pm in the


Hyndman Centre
Hospital Road
Bury St Edmunds IP33 3JT .

Get Directions

Members and non-members are welcome to attend our meetings. Entry fee for all is just £2.00. We have a varied programme of interesting talks throughout the year, followed by tea or coffee and biscuits. After the meetings everyone has the opportunity to swap family history stories, or seek help in solving their some of their "brickwalls". Whatever your interests, you will be assured of a friendly welcome at all of our meetings.



Suffolk Regiment Museum - housed in the Keep of Gibraltar Barracks, opened in 1878 contains a wealth of uniforms, medals, badges, silver, equipment, silver, works of art and photographs illustrating the life of the Suffolk Soldier over nearly 300 years

Bury Past & Present Society - view the amazing collection of photographs of Bury St Edmunds taken from the birth of photography to the mid 20th century by Messrs Spanton and Jarman

West Stow Anglo Saxon Village - explore the way our ancestors lived

Moyse's Hall Museum - a beautiful medieval building housing rich and eclectic collections and changing exhibitions

Suffolk Record Office - Bury St Edmunds - The holdings of this branch cover West Suffolk, including records for the boroughs of Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury. Significant collections include the Suffolk Regiment Archive, the records of the Grafton family of Euston Hall and the collection of the Hervey family, Marquesses of Bristol. The branch looks after a typical 19th century 'gentleman's library' which used to belong to the Cullum family, and consists of 4000 volumes on a wide variety of topics.


Kevin Pulford by email: burystedmunds@suffolkfhs.org.uk

Last Modified on 30/11/2017 by K Pulford


A Moving lecture about the Foundling Hospital

Posted by D A Howlett on Mon, 22nd Jan 2018

Ruth Miller gave a very interesting and moving talk about her early life as a child brought up in the "The Foundling Hospital" system when we held our first meeting of the year on Wednesday 17 January. In front of a smallish audience and without notes Ruth told us about her early childhood, how during the school holidays she was fostered to a family who lived in Duxford. Ruth described how the Hospital gave her the education to go on and have successful career. The talk was illustrated with photographs and artifacts which Ruth had managed to keep from her childhood in the Foundling Hospital. 

  David Soutar introducing Ruth Miller


Welcome to our Quiz Night

Posted by D A Howlett on Mon, 13th Nov 2017

Don't forget its our Quiz Night on Wednesday 15th November, at the Hyndman Centre, starting as usual at 7.30pm. 
This is very much a social evening so come along and join us and enjoy our annual quiz evening.
Everybody is welcome admission just £2,00, so you are all welcome to join us and enjoy the fun, food and prizes
We look forward to greeting you on Wednesday evening. 

Remember talks in Bury still continue.......

Posted by D A Howlett on Wed, 25th Oct 2017

Dr Megan Dennis gave a fascinating lecture on Voices from the Workhouse,  to a well attended meeting on 19th October.  Megan is the Curator of Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum of Norfolk Life and was able to bring artifacts from the museum to illustrate her talk.

Although the Bury Group have held our last lecture of the year, (remember our November meeting is our well established Quiz Night) we are still able to enjoy a feast of lectures given by the Suffolk Record Office who hold regular talks and  lectures in all of their three Offices throughout the Autum Season. 
Lectures on "Caring for Archives", at Ipswich RO,  on "Haunted Lowestoft" , at Lowestoft RO, are but a few.  The Bury RO is holding a lecture entitled, "Fire" given by a regular visitor to our meetings Sarah Doig on 4 November followed by Pat Murrell giving a talk "Possessions" 7 November. with further talks on varying subjects given approxmately at two week intervals up to the Christmas holidays

Details of all these and other Talks, Courses and Workshops given by the Suffolk Record Office can be found on their website www.suffolkarchives.co.uk or telephone the Bury RO on 01284  741212.   


Voices from the Workhouse

Posted by D A Howlett on Sun, 15th Oct 2017

 "Voices from the Workhouse"  by Dr Megan Dennis

The subject of the workhouse is a constant fascination to the family historian, as so many of our ancestors were forced to spent part of their lives in these dreaded institutions. 

The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 resulted in the massive intervention by the State in the  governing the way poverty was managed.  Large institutions were built and life within was strictly regimented.  One such workhouse was constructed just quarter of a mile from our meeting hall. This evenings talk will give an insight into the harsh life of the inmates. 

 The meeting will be held on
Wednesday 18 October commencing at 7.30pm 
The Hyndman Centre, Hospital Road.  
Everybody is welcome 

Please Remember that extensive roadworks are being undertaken at the Spread Eagle/Petticoat Road Junction
See the notice posted below


Diversion Route to Hyndman Centre

Posted by K Pulford on Mon, 18th Sep 2017

The Council is now undertaking road works at the junction of Outwestgate, Horringer Road and Petticoat Lane. This means that the route to the Hyndman Centre is closed and there is a diversion shown in the map below.

For those coming from the direction of Horringer a shorter route is to turn down Glastonbury Road, turn left at Abbot Road. At the end of Abbot road go strainght into Hospital road and follow it to the Hyndman Centre. This is considerably shorter that following the official diversion.

Georgian Angel Hill

Posted by D A Howlett on Mon, 18th Sep 2017

We are very pleased to welcome back after our Summer break, Dr Pat Murrell who will be giving us a talk on "Georgian Angel Hill".

Pat is arguably the county's leading expert on Stuart and Georgian history, so there is no one better qualified to give this month's lecture. Pat regularly gives lectures at the Suffolk Record Office and is renowned for her in depth knowledge of the Stuart and Georgian History of our town.  However much we may know, or think we know about Angel Hill there is no doubt that Pat will illustrate her lecture with addtional nuggets of interest we will have missed..

As usual everyone is welcome on Wednesday 20th September at

Hyndman Centre, Hospital Road, IP33 3JT.  The meeting commences at 7.30pm and admission is just £2.00

Please Note that extensive road works are being undertaken at the Spread Engle junction, please refer to the notice posted below for details.

Group's midsummer trip to Woolpit Museum

Posted by D A Howlett on Sun, 20th Aug 2017

Our Group enjoyed an interesting summer evening on 19 July when we visited the small but fascinating museum in Woolpit.

We were hosted by Elizabeth Cockayne and Rita Burr who entertained us with anecdotes about the villiage, its history and surviving artifacts.  Woolpit was famous for its brickmaking industry and was known for its high quality "Suffollk Whites", samples of the surving bricks were on display in the museum.

An additional treat was an invitation to visit St Mary's Church, situated opposite the museum.  It is assumed that the church stood on the site of an earlier church which was built before the Norman Conquest.  The present tower was reconstructed after the previous one was struck by lightning in 1852, (so many church towers in Suffolk suffered the similar fate).  The church survied the ravages the Reformation, Civil War and William Dowsing and has many fine carvings and well worth visiting.

We were treated to a real bonus when we were shown, in the south west corner of the church yard, a rare example of a   "mort-safe", a locked  iron cage designed to deter the body-snatchers of yesteryear.

A fine example of a Mort-safe, these became fashionable for a short time to deter "grave robbers"




Group Chairman Elected Society Trustee

Posted by D A Howlett on Thu, 13th Oct 2016

Kevin Pulford our Group Chairman, was elected to serve as a Trustee at our recent AGM on 24 September.  Kevin took over as Chairman of our Group in May after the Jan Harger, retired and for the past two years he has been working with our webmaster David Talmage, developing our new look website. Kevin has undertaken a number of projects for  the Suffolk Record Office and is an active member of FOSRO (Friends of Suffolk Record Office).  His IT skills and knowledge of family history research, will bring added strength to our Trustees.

Bury Man Gets Society Appreciation Award

Posted by D A Howlett on Wed, 12th Oct 2016

Jan Harger presents the Societies appreciation award to Bury St Edmunds member Les Button for many years of dedicated and thorough work transcribing parish records for our Projects Group.  Les has been an active member of the Bury Group for many years and earlier in the year gave a very informative talk about his ancestors at our "Family Shared" evening in June.

Families Shared

Posted by K Pulford on Tue, 21st Jun 2016

At the last meeting of the Bury St Edmunds group on 15th June, we had a session where we shared our family histories and research experiences.

Kevin Prior told us about his search for his great Grandfather Joseph Prior. He was looking in London and had a number of possible candidates of the same name. All seemed to have moved around a lot and changed occupations. He told us how by meticulous searches of the parish records he managed to eliminate the other possibilities and ended up identifying the right man.

Les Button told us about his ancestor William Palmer who was a Methodist preacher and moved every year to a new location. He had traced that amongst many places he went to included Cornwall, Pembroke and the Channel Islands. He also mentioned that William Palmer's wife may well have acted as host to John Wesley when he visited Norfolk.

Joan Horton joined us from the West London group and talked about how she solved a brick wall in her research of John Fosdyke. She managed to breach down another brick wall n the other side of her family tracing them back to Derbyshire and a Bartholomew Griffin and a connection to William Shakespeare and to the nobility and Welsh princes!

Dave Horton told us how a visit to a Kent Baptist Chapel revealed a line of tombstones which revealed information about several generations of his family.

The meeting sparked much lively interest but to me it confirmed that we have members that not only have an interesting family history as well as being articulate in explaining those histories.


20/12/2017No Meeting
17/01/2018The Foundling Hospital
Ruth Miller
21/02/2018A Crime of Necessity - Poaching
Times were tough and often work was seasonal, families often had to resort to poaching just for survival. Ron will be giving an insight into the life and times of the Poacher Please note that this lecture is programmed to last one and a half hours
Ron Murrell
21/03/2018Soil Cinderellas - The story of the Land Army during WWII
Nicky Reynolds
18/04/2018Cloth Making in Medieval Bury
Dr Nick Amor
16/05/2018AGM followed by "Nursery Rhymes and the Bury Connections"
Stephen Moody
20/06/2018Weavers, Higglers and Moze Makers
Michael Holland
18/07/2018Bury Group - Mid Summer Outing
This is your opportunity to give our Programme Organiser your thoughts, Have you any suggestions on where you would like to spend an evening in July.
15/08/2018No Meeting
19/09/2018Family Photo Stories
This is the chance for members to bring along family photographs and tell us about them and how they fitted into their family history. Each photograph has a tale to tell, bring them along and tell us your tale.
The Members of the Grop
17/10/2018The Whistlecraft Family of Rickinghall
Pip will tell us of the story of George Ruffels aka as Joe Whistlecraft who was convicted over a hundred times mainly for poaching. Joe was a member of the notorious family who practised their skill in nearby Hinderclay and Rickinghall.
Pip Wright


For further details on the programme you should contact

Kevin Pulford by email: burystedmunds@suffolkfhs.org.uk

Group Contact

Kevin Pulford by email: burystedmunds@suffolkfhs.org.uk