SHUCKLAND       Introduction        Alphabetical List of Locations
Location: Blythburgh, SUFFOLK
Encounter: [After its visit to Bungay church]: "On the self same day [August 4th, 1577], in like manner, into the parish church of another towne called Blibery...the like thing [a "black dog, or the divel in such a likenesse"] entred, in the same shape and similitude, where placing himself uppon a maine balke or beam, wheron some ye Rood did stand, sodainly he gave a swinge downe through ye church, and there also, as before, slew two men and a lad, and burned the hand of another person that was there among the rest of the company, of whom divers were blasted. This mischief thus wrought, he flew with wonderful force to no little feare of the assembly, out of the church in a hideous and hellish likenes." (1)

In Autumn 1958 the author A. A. MacGregor encountered an old local man at Holy Trinity church [TM45057530], who told him about "'...owld Black Shuck - the owd Gallytrot we calls he - what goo in the church an' cock his leg. He's the Davvel's own hound - big as a calf, black as night, and his owd optics glare like bike-lamps. If yew clap yar eyes on owd Shuck, you're a goner, mate! One look at he, an' yar'll be in the bun-yard [bone-yard.]'" (2)

"...the black dog phantom of Blythburgh is sometimes described as the ghost of a dog killed in a local shipwreck, sometimes as Black Shuck (the Devil)." (3)

"Legend attributed this disaster to the Devil in person, and the scorch marks still to be seen on the North Door were said to have been made by his fingers as he left the Church." (4)

Blybro.jpg (19863 bytes)

Sources: (1) Abraham Fleming: ' A Straunge and terrible Wunder...' (London, 1577.)
(2) A. A. MacGregor: 'The Haunted Marshlands', in the 'East Anglian Magazine', Vol. 20, No. 6 (April 1961), p. 351-2.
(3) Patricia Dale-Green: 'Dog' (Hart-Davis, 1966), p. 183-4.
(4) Guide to Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh (revised edition, 1974), p. 3.
Comments: Although there are obviously many legendary aspects to this event, I've classed it as an encounter because of the contemporary report. The scorch marks on the north door are still there, and could well have been caused by lightning.
Place Name: Blythburgh - OE 'fortified place on river Blyth' (OE blithe: 'gentle/merry']
Other: See encounters below, and Bungay.

Location: Blythburgh
Encounter: "A cottager at Blythburgh assured me the other day that, as recently as the Autumn of 1959, he had seen Black Shuck go bounding over the haunted marshlands..."
Source: A. A. MacGregor: 'The Haunted Marshlands', in the 'East Anglian Magazine', Vol. 20, No. 6 (April 1961), p. 350-1.

Location: Blythburgh
Encounter: Mr. John McLaughlin was working in the Autumn of 1973 for a firm that was laying new sewer lines across the marshes behind Blythburgh church. One day when he was alone, as his mate had gone into the village, he heard the sound of a dog panting very close by him, as if right by his ear, but there was no animal visible. It gave him a fright, which caused his hackles to rise, and he felt "uncanny." He was not a local man, and knew nothing of the local 'Shuck' legends until he was told weeks later. His youngest son died the following June, and he connects this with an appearance of 'Shuck' heralding a death.
Source: Letter from witness to Ivan Bunn, 25/10/1975.

Location: Blythburgh
Encounter: One winter night between 1978 and 1985, a local policeman was on patrol in his car, going north on the A12 just north of Blythburgh, when suddenly "a huge black dog as big as a child's pony" dashed across the road in front of him. It came out of trees on the west wide of the road, and as the man slammed on the brakes, he saw it disappear into the mist of the marshes on the east side. He described the dog as a mongrel/wolfhound cross, with a coat that was "wiry, and either greying or muddy." He later became a police dog handler, and said that the creature was "like no other dog I have ever seen." It was only later that he became aware of the legends of Black Shuck in a local newspaper.
Source: From the 'Eastern Daily Press' website's former 'Spooky Norfolk' feature.

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