The Suffolk town of Bungay located in
Suffolk. On all the town signs as you enter Bungay are
the words 'Welcome to Bungay - a fine old
town'. Bungay lies within the Broads National Park
in an area known as the Waveney Valley. The town
can trace its roots back to the middle ages and has many
historic buildings including the ruins of a
Castle. The centre of Bungay is officially
recognised as a Conservation Area by English Heritage
and you can pick up a town trail guide from the Tourist
Information Office in Broad Street.
The building are predominantly Georgian, the result of
the town having been almost destroyed by a great fire in
1688. The town is enclosed by the River Waveney on three
sides, which provides good fishing and boating
activities as well as some very pleasant riverside
walks. One of Bungay's best known landmarks is the 17th
century Butter Cross topped by the figure of 'Justice'.
A market has been held on this spot since 1382 and is
still held here every Thursday.
The term Buttercross comes from the fact that farmers
used to display their butter, eggs and other farm
produce for sale at these sites. Up until 1609 there was
also a Corn Cross but it was taken down and replaced by
a pump, which itself was dismantled in 1933. The
Buttercross was once used as a prison with a dungeon
beneath it this was replaced in Georgian times by an
iron cage in which were placed local villains. These
prisoners were fastened to one of the pillars you will
see some wrist irons an indication of punishment from
There is a good range of restaurants, cafes and inns as
well as a number of interesting specialist shops. The
town also has an indoor swimming pool, a theatre and
nearby you will find a 18 hole golf course. The Otter
Trust Sanctuary at neighbouring Earsham is only a short
drive away and houses one of the world's largest
collection of otters.
Yearly events in the town include an Antiques Market,
Christmas Market and a Spring Garden Market held along
the entire length of Earsham Street.
St. Mary's Church with its ninety foot tower dates from
the 12th century and was originally the church for the
Benedictine Priory which was founded by Gundreda, wife
of Roger Bigod, who owned the castle. The castle was
originally owned by the Normans but was later rebuilt
around 1300, by Richard Bigod a rich East Anglian
landowner who held the title the Earl of Norfolk.
Its walls were some eighteen feet thick
and it had ninety feet towers, alas all that remains
today are ruins including the remains of the two
semi-circular towers flanked by the gatehouse.
An interesting tale attached to the town of Bungay is
that on Sunday 4th August 1577, when the congregation
were assembled in St. Mary's Church for morning worship
a terrifying thunderstorm occurred "such darkness, rain,
hail, thunder and lightning as was never seen the like"
according to the Parish records. The church became as
dark as night and suddenly a Black Dog appeared before
the terrified congregation. Running along the aisle with
incredible speed, the strange beast grabbed two people
"and wrung the necks of them both at one instant, clean
backward, so that even at that moment where they
kneeled, they strangely died".
Then this beast leapt upon another man, and "gave him
such a grip on the back that he was presently drawn
together and shrunk up like a piece of leather scorched
in a hot fire". The beast or 'the devil in such a
likeness' then flew off to Blythburgh
church about 12 miles distant.
The story is one of the regions most famous legends and
the black dogs image appears on the Bungay coat of arms
and in various sites around the town centre including
the weathervane. Some people still claim to see him
today and he is linked to Black Shuck.