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"For the rich men, the clothiers, be concluded and agreed among themselves to hold and pay one price for weaving, which price is too little to sustain households upon, working day and night, holy day and week day, and many weavers are reduced to the position of servants." The Liberty of St Edmund, covering the area of West suffolk, had been the barony of the Abbot of St Edmunds up to 1539.The Liberty now came under the control of the Crown.The word of the monarch now held sway in the Liberty, but the area continued to hold itself somewhat separate from the rest of Suffolk.This situation continued up until about 1970, and the hereditary Stewardship of the Liberty also continued until that time, although its importance was purely nominal by then.Unlike many other towns in England at this time, Bury was growing and prospering.It did this largely independently of the Abbey's decline and eventual closure.Over the next hundred years local government would replace the Abbots' Rule, but religious differences would cause bitter divisions in the country.However, the town had now lost the use of the great library of the abbey, the access to the several hospitals which the monks had run, the grammar school was closed, and the various charities and good works of the monks were suddenly gone.

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The duties included returning writs to the Sheriff, apprehending and holding lawbreakers, and convening the Liberty and hundred courts.During the time of the abbey any form of local self determination by the townspeople of Bury existed solely through the Candlemas Guild and later the Guildhall Feoffment Trust.The property of the Abbey of St Edmund was surrendered to the Crown on 4th November 1539 but much of the wealth had already been confiscated in the previous year.After the dissolution in 1539, the rights of the Abbot returned to the Crown.The government of the town was largely ignored by the new owners of the abbey lands and privileges, and any joint actions continued to be carried out through the Guildhall Feoffees, largely without any formal legal backing.

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