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Sunday, 22 June 2014

The ghosts of Bungay, Suffolk

Bungay Castle

It's interesting to note that my camera failed on the first attempt to take the picture above. My watch also stopped at exactly the same time!

The ruins of the Norman castle can be found in the town centre. The former owners, the Bigods, were said to be notorious for their wickedness and were doomed to haunt the castle as a penance for all their naughty goings on.

On certain nights, they were or are supposed to appear in a coach drawn by four horses - the beast's mouths and nostrils issuing flames and smoke - and driven by the obligatory headless coachman with his head under his arm. And to cap it all, the hooves of the horses strike fire as they hit the ground. Shades of Hammer Horror this one!

The coach would then go from the town to Geldeston in Norfolk, past the church, down Lover's Lane into Bigod's Hill Lane and so home to the castle. Apparently, the coach is never both seen and heard. You either see it or just hear it rumbling by.

Is this the same ghostly coach that is supposed to ride from Bungay to Ditchingham and forces motorists off the road by driving at them?

One of the Bigod family, Hugh, is also said to haunt the castle grounds as a black dog. Or is it just Black Shuck up to his tricks again? See: LINK

The Three Tuns

The Three Tuns pub is also reputed to be haunted. In 1969, it was claimed to have 24 ghosts, including an 18th century highwayman, Tom Hardy, who used the pub to plan his robberies. He was later executed. Another ghost is that of Rex Bacon. He supposedly hanged himself in the building after killing his wife's lover in 1682.

It should be pointed that the above information was obtained by a landlady who used a Ouija board. Checks of local records can find no trace of either man. During one seance there, a Mr Beckett, claimed to have seen a white figure standing in the corner of a room. And a former assistant manager, a Mr Blakeway, said he'd witnessed a window open and close.

No ghosts have been reported since the removal of a wall dating back to the 1500's.

The nearby King's Head can boast of at least one ghost. Strange sounds have been reported, including creaking floorboards. However, one staff member puts that down to natural causes - it's an old building.

The ruins

Finally, the ruined Greyfriars priory in the grounds of St Mary's has an auditory haunting. The sounds of chanting and the ringing of bells have been reported at night from time to time. A ghostly black dog has also been seen in the churchyard.

Copyright: John West

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