B is for Black Shuck
In 1578 Abraham Fleming, a clergy man from London, published a pamphlet entitled A Strange and Terrible Wunder. This popular story recounted a terrible incident in the Parish Church of St Mary in Bungay:
…there appeered in a most horrible similitude and likenesse to the congregation then and there present a dog as they might discerne it, of a black colour: …This black dog or the divil in such a likenesses …passed between two persons as they were kneeling upon their knees, and occupied in prayer as it seemed wrung the necks of them bothe at one instant clene backward in so much that even at a moment where they kneeled they strangley died…
On the 4th of August 1577 a terrible storm was raging, the sky blackened and thunder rolled. Fleming reported that a black devil dog entered the church killing two people and wounding a third. Black Shuck, the devil dog, has survived in the popular culture of Suffolk until this day. Naughty children are warned to behave lest Ole Shuck comes to get them, and Lowestoft’s finest band The Darkness started their number one album with ‘Black Shuck’. Local businesses, events and locations are still named after the Black Dog and local people are still motivated to report sightings of him. Whether the devil dog is real or myth doesn’t really matter, he is important to Suffolk people and their history, which is what Suffolk Record Office seeks to preserve, now and in the future.