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Black dog book launch

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:31 01 August 2010

THE latest publication focusing on Bungay's widely famous legend of the Black Dog was launched at St Mary's Church, the scene of its dramatic 1577 appearance, on Saturday.

THE latest publication focusing on Bungay's widely famous legend of the Black Dog was launched at St Mary's Church, the scene of its dramatic 1577 appearance, on Saturday.

The book, Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay, came about when doctor of anthropology David Waldron was visiting his parents, the Rev Bruce Waldron and his wife Sharn, from his home in Australia, and was so taken by the legend that he decided to research it in depth.

He collaborated with Bungay author and historian Chris Reeve, and they have jointly written it.

At the launch Mr Reeve, who also wrote his first book on the Black Dog, a Straunge and Terrible Wunder, in 1988, said the legend which now attracted attention worldwide, may not have gathered pace at all but for Abraham Fleming.

Two people died and others were injured during a violent thunderstorm in St Mary's on August 4, 1577, Mr Reeve said: “but the only mention of the Black Dog element was in a publication written by Fleming, not a local man and with no direct evidence of the incident. If he had not written his pamphlet it is possible the event would only be remembered as a severe thunderstorm.

“Did the congregation actually believe the Black Dog appeared, was it in their imagination, or invented by Fleming as a piece of religious propaganda? The fact is it is the most popular of all East Anglia legends.

He added: “It was a piece of living history which continued to be reality for people today, and Dr Waldron explained in the book how it has come to prominence fore different reasons, and that is what is new about this publication and makes it exciting.

“The legend continues to create controversy and is a matter of debate. Documentaries about the Black Dog legend have been recorded by people from all over the world - Canada, Australia, the United States, as well as local documentaries. Now David Waldron has taken a completely fresh approach to the story.”

Mr Reeve presented copies of the book to Martin Evans in thanks for his help with the production of the book, Bungay Primary School head Iain Owens, in thanks for his school's involvement, and Frank Honeywood, from whose comprehensive collection of photographs and illustrations the book drew.

The Rev Bruce Waldron, father of Dr Waldron, who was Minister at Bungay's Emmanuel Church until last year, represented his son, who still lives in Australia, at the launch.

He presented a copy to Norman Woods in thanks for the work he did on the proofs and editing for the book.

The book is published by Hidden Publishing of Bristol at £9.99. It is available in local bookshops.

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