A visitors guide to the Suffolk Village of
Blythburgh located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the River
Blyth in the Blyth Valley, in the north east part of Suffolk. A
place that in medieval days was a thriving wool port but is now a small
village with a population numbered in the hundreds. The River Blyth and
the surrounding marshland attracts a variety of birds including
Marsh Harrier, Shelduck, Avocet and Curlew.
The magnificent church of the Holy Trinity at Blythburgh is known as 'the
Cathedral of the Marshes' and can be seen from the A12, especially at
night when it is floodlit. Founded in 1125 it is considered one of the
grandest churches in Suffolk measuring 128ft long and 83ft high. Among the
church's unusual features are carvings of the Seven Deadly Sins on the
bench ends and another clock 'jack' like that at Southwold who strikes the
bell with his axe and turns his head. Thomas Cromwell closed the church
and his men desecrated the it by using the winged angels as target
practice and screwing the tethers for their horses into the churches
On Sunday 4th August 1577 the church is reputed to have been visited by
huge Black Dog, a phantom hound who had already wrecked havoc at the
church at Bungay
. The story goes that
the congregation were assembled when a terrifying thunderstorm began and
in rushed this hell hound "placing himself upon a beam, suddenly he gave a
swing down through the church, and there also, as before (at Bungay
Church) slew two men and a lad and burned the hand of another person among
the rest of the company, of whom many were blasted. This mischief thus
wrought, he flew with wonderful force, to no little fear of the assembly
out of the church in a hideous and hellish likeness" This account of the
event was written by a Puritan clergyman, the Reverend Abraham Fleming.
There are scorched 'paw marks' remaining on the North door of the
church at Blythburgh as evidence of the Black Dog's activities. The
story is one of the region's most famous legends and the Black Dog is
claimed by some to still appear to this day as a portend of death and
In 1962 the acoustic of the building were discovered by Benjamin
Britten, and some of the concerts of the Aldeburgh
Festival are performed in the church.
The village has a local inn, The White Hart with a restaurant offering
fresh daily specials. In days past the pub used to be the local
court, with beams reputedly from a dismantled Man 'O' War. There
is also a village stores and post office. There are shops aplenty
at nearby Southwold as well as restaurants and a weekly market.
The seaside towns of Southwold (three
miles), Walberswick (two miles) and
the RSBP Reserve at Minsmere (two miles) are all within easy reach.
The village of Blythburgh is littered with references to Angels with Angel
Marsh, Angel Lane, Angel Field and many more. So it is no surprise
that the locals decided to commemorate the millennium by having a large
angel built in metal which is now known as The Angel of the East. Read the
tale of Tobias Gill
hanged at Blythburgh in 1750.