Angel Hill. Back in the early 1990s, I’d not been living in BSE for very long when I took my young son to the Abbey Gardens. As I walked through the Abbey Gates I saw a statue in the middle of the path across the central flower beds. It stopped me in mid-step as I wondered how come I hadn’t noticed it before.
I decided my mind was playing tricks on me and walked towards the statue. Then I saw two large green screens along with one of the paths. More confusion. As I walked passed the screens I saw people in period costumes, I recognised them as actors from “Hi-de-Hi”. It turns out they were filming an episode of “You rang m’lord” with a fake statue. I was relieved that my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me. Sue Pollard, Jeffrey Holland and a couple of other actors were signing autographs. The only paper I’d got in my bag was a plain brown envelope which they happily signed for me. (Cheryl Louise Boggis)
Who remembers Carousel in Abbeygate Street owned by the Carson family? I was good friends with Anna (one of the many daughters) and loved going after school to tea there and being able to try on all the clothes after the shop had shut. Can anyone remember the name of the boutique opposite Carousel that sold Simon t-shirts (Marie Smith)
Who is watching the reruns of Lovejoy on Drama featuring Bury? Spent more time recognising places instead of the plot. And laughing at how they have changed the layout of Bury, for example, the last episode showed them standing at the Abbey Gate looking at Moyes Hall. (Sherill Allen)
Moving to Bury St Edmunds in 1973 as a newly married lady the first thing I had to do was find a doctor, so I walked from where I lived, Nowton Estate to town and found myself on the Angel Hill. Enrolled in the doctors and advised of a few dentists. It was a beautiful spring sunny morning and I stood outside the doctors and just took in the beautiful view, Athenaeum, Angel Hotel, Abbey Gates, and I slowly walked the path round to the most beautiful row of houses, forgive me but Georgian or Edwardian but whatever just beautiful, and one of them was my dentist, and I just knew I loved this place we had chosen to live in. (Christine Phillips)
I love walking down Abbeygate street looking towards the Angel Hill seeing the Abbey Gate straight in front of me. I know I’m home then.
Angel Hill has some happy memories. Chris and I spent our wedding night at the Angel Hotel in the Charles Dickens suite the year was 1976. I was 19 and he was 21. We married on his birthday hence he can never forget our anniversary!
This year we will have been married 40 years doesn’t time fly. Two sons and 3 grandsons later we are now living in Gloucester. I also remember seeing them filming the programme Love joy on the hill on a Sunday morning.
Also, have memories when I was a flag bearer in the Girl Guides marching past the Abbey Gate carrying the colour flag it was so heavy. We were supposed to turn our heads to look at the Mayor as we marched past but I was concentrating so hard on holding the flag I forgot to look I was about 10 then. (Helen Jaggard)
Well done to all the Bury Scout Groups, Beavers and Cubs and the Brownies and Rainbow Groups of Bury. What a fantastic St George’s Day Parade you gave us today the Boys Brigade and Sea Cadet Bands you were amazing and being under the Abbey Gate as you came through was an amazing sound.
Well done to all. (Wayne Hailstone)
My happiest fun times were spent doing banqueting at the Angel Hotel and thanks to Sandra Delaney for reminding me about the time lovely Tim Mott tripped over the ladies guide dog at the Barclays dinner and spilt soup into her handbag!
I once offered carrots to a blind man telling him they’d help him see in the dark? Didn’t realise !!!! It wasn’t easy dipping between people at beautifully set tables at posh functions with platters of hot food and avoiding disasters especially at weddings!
Those brides wearing white creations used to make me nervous about spilling food! One wedding the brides place setting made me shake with laughter I was banned from the top table! Her name was Penny and she was marrying Mr Ennis!! Sincere apologies if anyone knows her no offence meant! I salute that brave lady she must really love him and at least you know it’s true memory !! (Sharon James)
The Benedictine abbey at Bury was one of the grandest and most powerful in England. The first monastery on the site was founded in AD 633 by King Sigeberht, but all that remains are sections of flint wall inside the precinct, and massive gateways facing onto Angel Hill.
The Angel Hotel was built in 1779 on the site of three adjoining inns, the Angel, Castle and White Bear. Although records show the Angel Inn existed as far back as 1452, the arched vaults beneath date from the 13th century.
Some antiquaries suggested the cellars were actually the abbey’s Charnel House, and that a bricked-up doorway there was the entrance to a tunnel to the Abbey itself. But the actual Charnel House was really within the precinct, in the cemetery across the Hill.
The whole of Angel Hill is said to be honeycombed with subterranean workings, extending beneath a group of dwellings that were incorporated, at various times, into the fabric of the Abbey.
Local tales somehow connect the tunnels with Maude Carew, a nun who is alleged to have poisoned Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester when he was detained in Bury for high treason in 1446-7. Although there’s no evidence he died anything other than natural death. Maude’s ghost is said to appear as a grey lady, popping in and out of walls in houses and shops on the Hill.
Drainage tunnels are the usual cause of tunnel legends, and on a plan of the Abbey that I’ve seen, a single great culvert is shown emerging from the precinct wall almost exactly opposite and leading towards the Angel Hotel. According to tradition, a group of locals set out in the 19th century to trace the elusive tunnels, but when it came to the crunch, only one would actually enter the passage under the Angel, playing a fiddle so the others could track his progress.
Slowly the music faded, and he was never seen again. West of Angel Hill is the Buttermarket, where a vague tale says that a tunnel (haunted by spectral monks) used to run from what is now a bookshop to a vanished priory. (Alison Elizabeth Ashby)
Angel Hill as a born and bred Bury boy of the early fifties I love nowhere better than to sit on Angel Hill and watch the world slowly drift past!
Many times I have just sat on the wall next to the gate looking at the Angel Hotel and surrounding beautiful buildings. I have travelled the world but no spot is finer in my opinion and it’s the centrepiece of my home town and a diamond !!!! (Anthony John McGuire)
Ah the Angel Hill. Remember it with mixed feelings. One corner you had the Drs Office. Used to sit in the waiting room with Mum and watch all the little bell things ring when it was your turn to go in.
It was fun to watch the different bells go off and you would look and see who would go in next, Until it was your turn, and then you were not so brave.
I think Dr Cochran ruled that place. I do know when I was little I was a little scared of her, but she was a really nice lady. Then the other corner was where we used to pick up my brother’s National dried milk and orange juice. I used to like to play outside on the steps while Mum was picking up the baby stuff.
The Atheneum was where they used to hold the Dancing Festivals. I always used to think it was pretty special with those chandeliers and the balcony. I used to love to tap dance on the floor there as it made so much noise and I have to admit I was a noisy child.
On to Miss Eliott, and her dancing school. Spent some time there but not as much as my sister. I did love to go down to see the Hunters with their red coats and the dogs on Boxing Day.
I never did get to go into the Angel Hotel, always thought that was for rich people and Angel hill is where the entrance to the Park is, can’t get a more important place than that. Nowadays when I go home, I usually head for Really Rather Good coffee with my brother and sister. Love that little cafe, plus I just like saying the name. And of course, you can sit and look across Angel Hill and look at my favourite place. (Janet Lester)
I wonder if anyone remembers Mrs Elliot’s Dance Classes. They were held in a hall at the rear of a yard off the Angel Hill. Just across the road from the Athenaeum. (John Stocking)
Q for the Queen’s visit – July 2002 Sorry but I was trying to find my photos of the day but here is the Itinerary for the Queen’s visit to Bury St Edmunds:
12.45pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will arrive at the Athenaeum, Angel Hill. 1.10pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will have lunch in the Ball room of the Athenaeum.
The Queen will address guests, and the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, The Revd. Richard Lewis will say, Grace.
2.35 pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will greet members of the public on Angel Hill.
2.45 pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will view the ’10 Best of Suffolk’ exhibits on Angel Hill. The exhibits include beer, church, crafts, fishing food, Newmarket, sport, technology, tourism and rural themes.
3.00 pm The Queen will visit Abbey Gardens where alongside the wall of the Bowling Green the Mayor will invite Her Majesty to unveil a plaque to commemorate the Golden Jubilee visit to Bury St Edmunds.
3.10 pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will take their seats in the High Altar area of the Abbey Gardens with 900 invited guests to listen to a ‘Proms in the Park’ concert, performed by the Suffolk Youth Orchestra.
3.25 pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will proceed around the rose gardens to the west front of the Cathedral, where members of the public will be gathered.
3.30 pm The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will depart by car. (Chris Fitzjohn)
Big buildings When I was a youngster, I thought all buildings were huge. The library where i practically lived after school, waiting for someone to bring an Enid Blyton book back. The Silver Jubilee School, which I only saw half of. Wouldn’t let us explore the boys side.
The Corn Exchange, where I used to go Roller Skating. A man who I believed managed the place then was Gerry Ambrose. I do know he was an excellent skater.
The Cathedral, which I truly believed that unless you whispered when you went in there, you would go to hell. likewise St Marys Church.
The Athenaeum, where we had lots of Dancing Competitions. I loved the Chandeliers in there.
Woolworths was very large in my memory in more ways than one. My first and last attempt at shoplifting. I couldn’t resist that lovely Mars Bar, but when I got outside, I realized what I had done and ran like hell down Risbygate St, throwing the Mars bar in the gutter. Never got a bite. Ran home and hid under the table.
Have no idea why, but I remember being scared crapless. There are other buildings I’ve probably forgotten to mention, but these are the ones that stayed in my memory. Oh, oh, I forgot one. The Odeon. (Janet Lester)