New book features 'bite-sized titbits' of town's past

Chase's butcher's shop adjacent to the Queen's Head, Trinity Street.

Chase's butcher's shop adjacent to the Queen's Head, Trinity Street. - Credit: Bungay Museum

"Bite-sized titbits of local history" have been collected in alphabetical order by a Bungay author and historian.

Christopher Reeve's latest book, An A-Z of Bungay, has been released for the Christmas season.

The book also includes dozens of colour illustrations and old photographs.

Children playing outside the Queen pub in Upper Olland Street.

Children playing outside the Queen pub in Upper Olland Street. - Credit: Bungay Museum

He said: "As players of the word game Scrabble will know, the most difficult letters to deal with are Q, X and Z, so what subjects do these letters inspire?

"Q deals with two pubs named in honour of good Queen Vic, but of very different character.


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"The Queen's Head at the top of Bridge Street was an upmarket hotel, while The Queen, in Lower Olland Street, was a humbler venue, catering mainly for the local households who would pop in to get their jugs filled with ale for the evening meal.

"The street was jokingly referred to as Pub Alley because it had four ale houses in close proximity. 

The Thatched House pub, oil painting, c. 1800

The Thatched House pub, oil painting, c. 1800 - Credit: Bungay Museum

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"X is used for the crossroads leading to Flixton on the outskirts of the town. A pub was situated there from the 18th century or earlier, known as the Crossways, but later as the Thatched House.

"Z deals with zoos, zebras and zany creatures.

"In the 18th and 19th centuries, few people crossed the seas, so were fascinated to see strange and exotic animals which otherwise they could only view in picture books.

"Travelling menageries transported these poor, ill-treated creatures from town to town.

"Wombwell's famous menagerie came to Bungay in 1887 and plucky young men were dared to enter the Lion's Den.

"William Raven, aged 29, went boldly in, was cheered by the admiring crowds, and received his certificate, but tragically died less than two months later, thought to be as a result of his terrifying ordeal."

Dinky Payne at the official opening of her commemorative garden in 1996

Dinky Payne at the official opening of her commemorative garden in 1996 - Credit: Bungay Museum

Other topics covered include local eccentrics such as 'Blood Skippen', who was the last man in Bungay to be confined in the stocks in 1810, and fundraiser Dinky Payne, as well as angels in stained glass windows, and Hogs digging up bodies in the churchyards.

The book, published by Amberley Books, is available from a number of bookshops, including the Chocolate Box and A Sweet for You in Bungay.

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