Bungay Trail at Bungay
Key features of Bungay's rich history are highlighted around the town in words and pictures.
Bungay had a thriving livestock market. If you lived in Bungay a hundred years ago you would see flocks of animals and poultry being driven along the streets for Market Day.
Bungay is surrounded by graxing lands, and Broad Street got its name because it was the wide road along which animals were led from Outney Common to the Market.
The Cross Street area was the old Shambles, where beasts were slaughtered, and even the pub there was called the Butchers Arms (now the Buttercross Tearooms).
The Market still prospers on Thursdays, nut the live-stock sales have ceased.
As you walk around the town you'll see the various images of the Black Dog!
On August 4th, 1577, Bungay was struck by the most terrifying thunder-storm that has ever occurred.
While it raged, a Black Dog, or "The Devil in such likeness...!" flew into St. Mary's Church and attacked the building and the congregation.
Old verses relate to the incident:
"The church appeared a mass of flame
And while the storm did rage,
a black and fearful monster came.
All eyes did he engage,
All down the church in the midest of fire
the hellish monster flew
and passing onward to the quire,
he many people slew."
He then flew off to Blythburgh church near Southwold, and more people were killed and wounded! His flaming claw-marks can still be seen in the church door.
The Good Island
'Bungay' - What a strange-sounding name!
Does it mean that the town is famous for gaily decorated buns or could it be connected to an early outbreak of bungee-jumping?
Thousands of years ago, the site on which the town was situated was surrounded by the waters of the River Waveney and marshland, so the Danish invaders in the 9th century named it "Bunga" ('a little heap') and 'EYE' ('island'), indicating its watery position.
The Normans may have called it 'Le Bon Eye', meaning 'The Good Island'.
With global warming and the rising of water levels, it may not be long before old Bungay is referred to as an 'Island' once again.
The Great Fire of Bungay
In 1688, a Great fire swept through the town.
It broke out in an empty shop in Market Place and spread very quickly amongst the timber and thatched buildings. Nearly every building in the town centre was burnt, and more thab two hundred families were left homeless!
St. Mary's also had serious damage, because people dragged their possessions inside for safety while they were still burning, and set the church alight as well! That's why this area is often called 'Silly Suffolk'.
The local people quickly rallied round, and raised funds to get the town rebuilt. The handsome Butter Cross, elegant Georgian buildings and new shops and amenities soon made it such a popular place that it was named 'Little London'.
Have alook at the Guildhall facing St. Mary's Church, and the Fleece Inn nearby. They survived the Great Fire and give some idea of what the town was like in the 17th century.
Open all the time
The Town Trail of Bungay is a self-guided tour and so can be completed at any time.
ContactLowestoft Tourist Information
email a friend
Suffolk, NR35 1AU
Map reference: TM 336897 Lat: 52.45525 Long: 1.43674
By foot :
The walks start from a variety of places within Bungay town centre, with the Visitors Centre located on Cross Street.
Parking : with charge
Toilets for Customers at Visitors Centre.