Bungay, Suffolk

Bungay, Suffolk

infobox UK place

country = England
latitude= 52.4496

longitude= 1.4477

official_name= Bungay
population = 4,895 (2001 Census)
shire_district= Waveney
region= East of England

shire_county = Suffolk
constituency_westminster= Waveney
post_town= BUNGAY
postcode_district = NR35
postcode_area= NR
dial_code= 01986
os_grid_reference= TM342891|

Bungay is a small town in Suffolk (East Anglia, England), within The Broads National Park. It lies in the Waveney valley, about 7 km west of Beccles.

Early history

The origin of the name of Bungay is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon title 'Bunincga-haye', signifying the land belonging to the tribe of Bonna, a Saxon chieftain. Due to its high position, protected by the River Waveney and marshes, the site was in a good defensive position and attracted settlers from early times. During the Roman occupation, Bungay was an important military station; and various Roman artifacts have been found in the region. When the Romans returned to their own homeland in the early 5th century, Britain was invaded by Saxon tribes, and the extensive settlement at Bungay is indicated by the large burial site in the Joyce Road area dating from the 6th - 7th century.

Bungay Castle was built by the Normans, but was later rebuilt by Roger Bigod and his family, who also owned Framlingham Castle. Bungay's village sign shows the castle.The 12th century parish church of St. Mary was once the church of the Benedictine Priory (founded by Gundreda, wife of Roger Bigod) It was here that one of the most famous episodes in Bungay's history occurred:

Black Shuck

On Sunday August 4, 1577 at St Mary's Church during a service, the ghostly hound Black Shuck, also known as 'The Black Dog of Bungay' or the 'Snarleyow', is said to have killed two and left another injured. The dog was later believed to have visited the Cathedral of the Marches at Blythburgh (Holy Trinity Church) during the same thunderstorm within an hour of the appearance at Bungay. In that appearance the hound, after charging down the aisle, fled through the North door of the church. Large black scorched gouges can still be seen on the door.

The legend of Black Shuck has inspired several of the town's sporting events. An annual marathon "The Black Dog Marathon" begins in Bungay, and follows the course of the River Waveney and the town's football club is nicknamed the "Black Dogs". Black Shuck was also the subject of a song by The Darkness.

Later History

The town was almost destroyed by a great fire in 1688. The central Butter Cross was constructed in 1689 and was the place where local farmers displayed their butter and other farm produce for sale. Until 1810, there was also a Corn Cross, but this was taken down and replaced by a pump.

Modern Bungay

Bungay is well-known for its unusually large number of hairdressers, antiques shops, food outlets, pubs and wide range of specialist shops.Fact|date=January 2008 Local firms also include the printers, Clays, and St. Peter's Brewery, which is based at St. Peter's Hall.


The local football club, Bungay Town, currently play in the Anglian Combination, having previously been members of the Eastern Counties League.

Notable residents

Bungay was home to religious writer Margaret Barber and early Canadian writer Susanna Moodie, author of Roughing it in the Bush (1852) and other works, was born just outside the town. The novelist Sir H. Rider Haggard was born nearby in Bradenham and presented St. Mary's church with a wooden panel displayed behind the altar. Thomas Miller (1731-1804), the bookseller and antiquarian, settled in Bungay and his publisher son, William Miller (1769-1844), was born there.

External links

* [http://www.bungay-suffolk.co.uk/ Bungay tourist website]
* [http://www.bungay-marathon.co.uk/ Bungay marathon information]
* [http://www.bungay-rbl.co.uk/ Bungay and District Royal British Legion]
* [http://www.secps.co.uk/ St. Edmund's Catholic Primary School]
* [http://www.mythsandlegends.com/mythsandlegends/story8-the-black-dogs-of-bungay.html The black dogs of Bungay] - an animated version of the myth
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hometruths/20050718_chickens.shtml The Chicken Roundabout song] BBC coverage of a local modern landmark.

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