Hidden East Anglia:

Landscape Legends of Eastern England











Landscape Features





The Seven Hills


The Seven Hills mounds (TM224413 area, actually now 8, and once 13) beside the Ipswich-Felixstowe road traditionally cover those slain in a battle between the Danes and the Saxons. They are said to be the graves of the East Anglians under their lord, the Earl Ulfcytel, who were massacred by the Danish forces after a bloody fight in the early 11th century.


Source: White's 'History, Gazetteer & Directory of Suffolk' (1885), p.507.





Secret tunnels


The kings Charles I, II and James I were habitual visitors to the town, and Charles II was even said to have had a 'palace' here in the High Street, a victim of the fire that destroyed much of the town in 1683. In 1863 a Congregational church was built on the site, followed in modern times by a supermarket. A nearby house in Palace Street with wooden shutters on the windows is known as Nell Gwynne's House, as it's said Charles II had it built specially for his mistress. Tradition also says that he had a tunnel built between the two houses for clandestine visits to Nell. The tunnel is said to still exist beneath the Georgian Rutland Arms Hotel.1

Another tunnel is alleged to run to the site of the king's former 'palace' from the 19th century Cadogan Hotel in Fordham Street.2

Tindall's shop in the High Street is supposed to have blocked-up tunnels running to both Nell Gwynne's House and the Rutland Arms.3

Charles II supposedly also used a secret tunnel to visit the Bushel Inn, where the cellars are said to contain evidence of a cock-pit there (the Royal Cock Pit certainly still existed in 1767, when several battles were fought there, recorded in 1866 by John Glyde), and a blocked-up doorway in the cellar is said to be evidence of the tunnel.4



1. 'Suffolk Fair', June 1975, p.20.

2. www.cadoganhotel.co.uk/

3. http://www.newmarketshops.info/No.50-56_High_Street.html

4. 'East Anglian Monthly', Dec. 1978, p.40.





Boudicca's well


One of the houses in the little village of Newton east of Sudbury is said to possess a well dating back to Roman times. When Boudicca and her warriors were on their way to attack Colchester, a local legend says that this was a resting place for them.


Source: Suffolk Federation of Women's Institutes: 'The Suffolk Village Book' (Countryside Books, 1991), p.169.



North Cove:


Sleepless in St. Botolph's


A friend of mine was told of a gravestone in St. Botolph's churchyard (TM461894) where running round it three times will leave you unable to sleep!


Source: Information from Ivan Bunn.





Gold in the mound


Although Suffolk hasn't got the right geology for it, both Bacton and Norton were once said to have 'lost gold mines'. A large circular mound (TL950664) in the grounds of Little Haugh Hall has been thought at various times to be a folly or garden mount to do with the Hall, a prehistoric burial mound, or a small castle motte. But tradition, and now modern research, suggests it is in fact the site of failed attempts to dig for gold in 1538. Henry VIII's 'Household Book' shows that he paid for such work to be carried out in the parish, such as two "myners to be sent at this tyme into Suff., to trye and werke at the newe myne."


Source: http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MSF6903&resourceID=1017