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Bridge Street, Bungay - geograph.org.uk - 223597.jpg
Bridge Street, Bungay
Grid reference: TM342891
Location: 52°26’59"N, 1°26’52"E
Population: 4,895  (2001)
Post town: Bungay
Postcode: NR35
Dialling code: 01986
Local Government
Council: East Suffolk

Bungay is a jaunty market town in Suffolk. It lies at the neck of a loop in the River Waveney, which marks the border with Norfolk. Bungay stands 5½ miles west of Beccles, on the edge of the Broads.

Bungay has an unusually large number of hairdressers, antique shops, food outlets and pubs and a wide range of specialist shops. Local firms also include local industry: printers, St Peter's Brewery and so forth.


Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity is the parish church and is the oldest building in the town. Its round tower built of coursed flints with herringbone masonry places it as a late Anglo-Saxon tower, but the remainder of the church is later and has 14th century Perpendicular Gothic windows.

St Mary's stands in the town centre, only the width of its churchyard and a road separating it from Holy Trinity. It was built as the church of Bungay Priory, a grand, spacious Perpendicular Gothic church, it became the main parish church after the Reformation. However the cost of repairs became too burdensome for the modest congregation and it was closed for regular services in 1977 and handed over to the Churches Conservation Trust, which now maintains the fabric, while the friends of St Mary's keep the interior clean and organise regular concerts and other fund-raising events.

The town's churches include:

Early history

Bungay Castle

The origin of the name of Bungay derives from Old English, a suggesting original being 'Buninga hæg: "Buna's kins' meadow". 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. Roman artefacts have been found in the region.

Bungay Castle was built by the Normans, but was later rebuilt by Roger Bigod and his family, who also owned Framlingham Castle. The castle declined in peaceful days, eventually sold by the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk and largely pulled down for building material, reacquired by the Howards and later sold to the town. The remains are impressive in size though giving little echo of the castle in its mediæval magnificence.

A Benedictine Priory was founded by Gundreda, wife of Roger de Glanville.[1] The priory was dissolved in 1536 in the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. Not long afterwards, a Grammar School for boys was established in the churchyard in a disused chapel formerly owned by the nuns. All that remains of the priory today is its church, St Mary's.

Black Shuck

On Sunday 4 August 1577 at St Mary's Church during a service, the ghostly hound, "Black Shuck", also known as "The Black Dog of Bungay" is said to have killed two and left another injured. This much is recorded on a board within the church. The dog was later said to have visited the "Cathedral of the Marshes" 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

Bungay's Buttercross

The town was almost destroyed by a great fire in 1688. The central Buttercross 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.

The railway arrived with the Harleston to Bungay section of the Waveney Valley Line opening in November 1860 and the Bungay to Beccles section in March 1863. Bungay had its own railway station near Clay's Printers. The station closed to passengers in 1953 and freight in 1964.


  • Bungay Town FC play in the Anglian Combination
  • Godric Cycling Club is based in Bungay. It organises a number of events each year, including weekly 'club runs'.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Bungay)


  1. Page.W (1975) 'Houses of Benedictine nuns: Priory of Bungay', A History of the County of Suffolk: Volume 2, pp. 81-83 (available online). Retrieved 2011-04-30.