Suffolk's ghosts by the coast
PUBLISHED: 12:51 14 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:57 20 February 2013
Looking at its forlorn, windswept cliffs and lonely ruins, it's not hard to believe that Dunwich is one of the most haunted spots in Suffolk. Rebecca Riley recounts some of the stories surrounding Suffolk's very own Shivers-by-the-Sea
Looking at its forlorn, windswept cliffs and lonely ruins, its not hard to believe that Dunwich is one of the most haunted spots in Suffolk. Rebecca Riley recounts some of the stories surrounding Suffolks very own Shivers-by-the-Sea
Formerly a thriving coastal town, Dunwich was characterised by its many impressive churches, quaint rural houses and striking cliff tops. It was considered an important port in the UK and once stood proud as the capital town of Suffolk. Now, it is rife with ghost stories guaranteed to send shivers down the spine
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 towns striking buildings crumbled from the cliff tops into the depths of the sea and were lost forever.
Modern-day Dunwich is a sleepy seaside cluster of houses; unrecognisable when compared to its heyday, and this once flourishing town now stands eerily quiet. But many mysteries remain in Dunwich, and several of its most famous landmarks are believed to be haunted or visited by its long gone 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, on to the cliff tops and beyond.
Away from the shoreline towards Dunwich Heath is the woodland; a dark, tangled forest wrapped in a veil of secrecy. Legend has it that 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 Dunwichs churches and churchyards were lost to the sea during those long off horrific 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, Dunwichs 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. Renovation works years later 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, of which the landlord had no previous knowledge.
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 stories connected to their sleepy seaside village, this place certainly feels eerie enough to warrant some ghostly goings on.