SHUCKLAND       Introduction        Alphabetical List of Locations
Location: Overstrand & the coast, NORFOLK
Legend: "Mrs. Opie [writer Amelia Opie, 1769-1853] was staying at Northrepps Cottage in January 1829, and recalls the belief that at twilight every evening, the ghost of a dog is seen to pass under the wall of Overstrand churchyard [TG240407], having started from Beeston. This four-footed ghost, unlike all human ones, is not only visible but tangible...Other historians relate that Shock rises out of the sea by Beeston, and runs along 'Shock's Lane' on to the hills by Overstrand, after which his course is uncertain." [He is described as sometimes headless, but always with saucer eyes.] (1)

"...'Old Shuck' ...travels between Beeston and Overstrand, the terror of the neighbourhood. A lane in the latter parish is called after him 'Shuck's Lane'." (2)

"...a dreary lane, in the parish of Overstrand, is called, from his frequent visits there, Shuck's Lane. The spot on which he has been seen, if examined soon after his disappearance, is found to be scorched, and strongly impregnated with the smell of brimstone." (3)

"...Beeston Heath, whence, according to an old legend, a demon dog - 'Old Shuck' - rising from the sea starts, and prowling along makes his way to Overstrand churchyard..." (4)

"Overstrand has its own take on the legend: A Dane, a Saxon and Shuck the dog were inseparable friends who were drowned while fishing together. The Dane washed up at Beeston while his friend the Saxon washed up at Overstrand. Shuck roams the coast between the two looking for his friends and masters....There have been many, many, local accounts of his sighting over the centuries and further accounts stating that for 40 or so years, Black Shuck made his home in the abandoned ruin of St. Martin's church, until restoration work began in 1911." (5)

"The peasants believe in a goblin headless dog, 'Old Shuck', which runs, coal-black in colour, and with flaming eyes, between Overstrand and Beeston, on stormy nights." (6)

"...perhaps the most respectable of all the premonitors of storm is the huge dog 'Shock' (Shock, not Shuck with us), who comes out of the sea, and runs along 'Shock's Lane', and up on to some hills, after which his course is uncertain...he is 'headless', but has 'great saucer eyes'. The poor fellow seems conscious of some deformity, for he has been met with a 'white handkercher' tied over the place where his head should be." (7)

On the cliffs at Beeston Regis can be found what remains of Beeston Bump, once two rounded hills of glacial origin. In recent years, it has often been stated that Shuck lives in, and rises from Beeston Bump to begin his journey along the coast. (8) However, this idea does not exist in any of the old tales, and seems to be a recent addition.

There is also the recollection of a man whose grandmother "reckoned" that her great-uncle had once seen 'Shuck' on Overstrand beach, but there are no other details. (9)


(1) James Hooper: 'Demon Dogs of Norfolk & Suffolk', in the 'Eastern Daily Press', 2/7/1894.
(2) Rev. J. Gunn: 'Proverbs', in 'Norfolk Archaeology', Vol. 2 (1849), p. 300.
(3) R. Chambers (ed.): 'The Book of Days' (W. & R. Chambers, 1864), Vol. 2, p. 434.
(4) A. Peaton: 'Pictures of East Coast Health Resorts' (1905?), p. 33.

(5) Found on former webpage:

(6) M. E. Walcott: 'Guide to Coasts of Essex, Suffolk & Norfolk' (1860), p. 111.
(7) T. D. P. : 'Norfolk Folklore', in 'Notes & Queries', 3rd Series, Vol. 5 (19/3/1864), p. 236.



Comments: According to Jennifer Westwood in 'Gothick Norfolk' (1989), "Shuck's Lane used to lead up to Cromer Great Eastern Railway station", but I haven't been able to find any trace of it. This is in contrast to most other tales, which seem to equate Shuck's Lane with various coastal paths. James Thurgill, after speaking with locals, has identified the existing Tower Lane as the only remaining fragment of Shuck's Lane, which was lost during cliff falls in the 1920's. Tower Lane leaves Overstrand on the eastern side, fading into a narrow path as it heads for the crumbling cliffs just in neighbouring Sidestrand parish. See:
Other: See also under Overstrand.

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