Dowsing group confident of St Edmund's burial ground location
PUBLISHED: 21:20 06 May 2018 | UPDATED: 21:35 06 May 2018
The mystery of where Saint Edmund is buried has long been the subject of historical speculation but a group of dowsers say they know the spot of his grave - and have done for many years.
Around 15 people from Dowsing Anglia celebrated International Dowsing Day on Saturday in the Abbey Gardens – which is where they believe the first patron saint of England lies.
The group claim Edmund’s remains are located under the tennis courts after he was buried there in 1539 and that they have known this for more than 20 years.
A long-held theory is that Edmund’s remains were removed when the abbey was desecrated in the 16th century and re-buried close by.
Steve Dawson, co-founder of the group, said: “There’s been a lot of interest in St Edmund recently but his final resting place under the tennis courts has been generally known about for many years, 40+ years from some of the local folk I’ve often spoken to. We’re confident he’s there.
“Many large churches and abbeys were besieged come the Reformation, post 1534, large angry crowds of locals from far and wide looking for loot, and would happily rob all church personnel leaving the grounds.
“Winchester church, where King Alfred the Great was buried, was completely flattened to its foundations within 24 hours after the monks finally left.
“This had meant all precious artefacts had to buried quickly, and near their original positions.”
Dowsing is the practice of using a forked stick, rod, pendulum, or similar device to locate underground water, minerals, grave sites or other hidden or lost substances.
Mr Dawson added: “We often use the Abbey Gardens as a dowsing exercise and dowsing/divining is mainly used to locate good and reachable waters around the world.”
In March, it was announced that St Edmundsbury Borough Council, as part of the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership, has been granted consent by Historic England to move the courts to a different location in the Abbey Gardens.
This could lead to an archeological dig at the site of the old courts.