Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Dunwich's Haunted Hot Spots

Formerly a thriving coastal town, Dunwich was characterised by its many impressive churches, quaint rural houses and striking cliff tops. It was considered as an important port in the UK and once stood proud as the capital town of Suffolk.

But, during the 16th and 17th centuries, Dunwich was fiercely battered by a series of violent storms, leaving its coastline in tatters; its shape transformed forever by the relentless force of the elements. Dozens of the town’s striking buildings crumbled from the cliff tops into the depths of the sea, lost forever.

The modern day Dunwich is a sleepy seaside cluster of houses; unrecognisable in comparison to its heyday, and this once flourishing town now stands eerily quiet. Many mysteries remain in Dunwich, and several of its most famous landmarks are believed to be haunted or visited by its previous town folk.
The sea, which is home to the ruins of a generation of buildings, sits directly under the menacing Dunwich cliffs. An Elizabethan sailor is said to roam this wild stretch of beach before heading into the sea in search of his lost love,. It is also said that, from time to time, the distant sound of church bells can be heard chiming from under the waves, reverberating across the desolate pebble beach, onto the cliff tops and beyond.

Away from the shoreline towards the Dunwich heath is the woodland; a dark, tangled forest wrapped in a veil of secrecy. Legend says two lonely souls haunt this landscape; firstly a Victorian squire who gallops through the darkness on horseback, as well as a man who died from a broken heart after pursuing the love of a lady far superior in class to himself.

Although many of Dunwich’s churches and churchyards were lost to the sea during the horrific, historic storms, the ruins of Greyfriars remain. Walking through the gates of this 13th century friary into the ruins, you can look out across the cliff tops towards the sea, to imagine what lies beneath.

The Ship Inn, Dunwich’s recently renovated flagship pub is said to be home to a ghost in the attic room. A previous owner of the pub reported that she once woke up in the depths of the night to find a ghostly figure sitting at the end of her bed. She is said to have watched the figure vanish into one of the walls, but renovation works years later have uncovered a previously hidden door behind the wall which the ghost is thought to have disappeared through, as well as another room attached to the pub, which the landlord had no previous knowledge of.

Dunwich undoubtedly remains scarred by the events of the 16th and 17th century, which changed both its geographical layout and societal position forever. Although the present day residents of Dunwich may appear unfazed by the numerous ghost stories connected to their sleepy seaside village, this place certainly feels eerie enough to warrant some ghostly goings on.

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Red Pepper Creative