Town to celebrate its kind-hearted saint

Annabelle Dickson The landing of a medieval martyr king on Norfolk's shores will be re-enacted as part of a special day of celebrations in Hunstanton this November.

Annabelle Dickson

The landing of a medieval martyr king on Norfolk's shores will be re-enacted as part of a special day of celebrations.

Children from Hunstanton will storm the town's cliffs on November 20, to kick off a festival to commemorate St Edmund, the Christian monarch who came ashore at Hunstanton in 855AD to claim his throne.

During his short rule, he earned the reputation of being kind to his subjects. But after bravely attempting to resist a Viking invasion in 869, he was defeated at the battle of Hoxne, near Diss, and taken prisoner by the Danish.

He refused to renounce the Christian faith so was tied to a tree and shot to death with arrows, before being buried at Beadoriceworth - today better-known as Bury St Edmund's.

The festival, christened Edfest, will kick off with breakfast and end with a hog roast supper, served up by pages and wenches in period costume, at the town hall.

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Visitors to the town can see the ruins of the St Edmund's chapel, which was built to celebrate his arrival, and the Hunstanton town sign bears a picture of the famous saint.

Lisa Powell, secretary of the Feast of St Edmunds Committee, said: “He's our patron saint, he's the only one we've got so we should really celebrate him. We want to make it a fun community festival.''

The idea came after a fish and chip supper in celebration of St Edmund last year was a sell-out.

A culinary twist to the day will include a baking competition to see who can make the best St Edmund cake - believed to be named after the saint.

St Edmund cakes are made with almonds, so any cake recipe with almonds is welcomed in the contest.

A local brewery will also be making an ale brewed specially for the occasion, to wash it down with.

t The Edfest will be taking place on November 20, for bookings or more information go to the website or ring Margaret Hunter on 01485 533424 .

MEDIEVAL TREAT: ST EDMUND'S CAKE

Ingredients:

t Five egg whites

t Pinch of salt

t 75g/3oz caster sugar

t 175g/6oz ground almonds

t Grated orange zest

t One tbsp orange liqueur (optional)

t 25g/ 1oz slivered almonds

Preparation:

t Preheat the oven to 190C (375F)

t Grease and line a 20cm/ 8in spring form cake tin.

t Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they stand in soft peaks.

t Whisking constantly, add the sugar a little at a time.

t Continue whisking until the mixture is firm, shiny and very thick.

t Fold in the ground almonds, orange zest and the liqueur with a metal spoon.

t Pour the mixture into the cake tin and sprinkle the slivered almonds over the top.

t Bake for 30 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

tAllow it to stand in the tin for 10 minutes, then loosen, turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.