by Sue | Oct 4, 2017 |

Legend of the Black Shuck


In August 1577, coastal Suffolk was hit by great storms of other-worldly proportions.  

During morning service, almost simultaneously at the churches of Holy Trinity Blythburgh and St Mary's Bungay, the devil made an appearance disguised as a black dog. There seems to be some confusion as to where he struck first but, legend has it, strike he did.

At a time in history when the vast majority of houses in the area would have been of timber construction and thatched roofs, lightning was to be feared, as one strike could wreak havoc; razing whole towns to the ground. 

As the congregations of Holy Trinity Blythburgh and St Mary's Bungay knelt in prayer, and the barrelling storms outside grew in ferocity, in the midst of both crowds suddenly appeared a black dog.

In Bungay, lit by flashes of fire, the dog ran about the body of the church causing great fear and panic. It passed between two people kneeling at prayer, killing them instantly, and caused another man to shrivel up, severely burned (although he is said to have survived).

About seven miles away in Blythburgh, at around the same time, another black dog (or the same phenomena) appeared in the parish church preceded by the same thunderstorm. This black dog struck three people dead, collapsed the church tower and left scorch marks on the north church door.

A weather vane in Bungay marketplace commemorates Black Shuck, as do many streets, houses, clubs and companies in the town which bear his name.

Blythburgh needs no such man-made reminder - the devil's scorch marks remain to this day on the church door.

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