Roundabout memorial bid for the 'Ole Chicken Man of Bungay'

Gordon Knowles feeding a chicken at 'Chicken Roundabout', Ditchingham, in 2001.

Gordon Knowles feeding a chicken at 'Chicken Roundabout', Ditchingham, in 2001. - Credit: Archant

One of Bungay's best-known characters could be honoured with a memorial on the roundabout he thrust into the national spotlight.

The 'Ole Chicken Man of Bungay' Gordon Knowles passed away aged 87 in January 2020.

For more than three decades, he rose at the the crack of dawn to take a wheelbarrow of food to feed wild chickens on Ditchingham's 'Chicken Roundabout'.

Gordon Knowles wrote a book based on his life in and around Bungay.

Gordon Knowles wrote a book based on his life in and around Bungay. - Credit: James Bass

In doing so, he catapulted the junction on the A143 to national prominence, with more than 300 cocks and hens flocking to the roundabout. 

Now, Ditchingham Parish Council's community committee is attempting to create a lasting memorial to Mr Knowles.

At a meeting of Bungay Town Council's planning, environment and highways committee on Thursday, January 14, councillors unanimously agreed to support the bid for a memorial to be installed following a request from the parish council committee.

It is believed the chickens lived on the roundabout for more than 50 years.

It is believed the chickens lived on the roundabout for more than 50 years. - Credit: Archant

Councillor Dave O'Neill said: "He was a unique Bungay character and one of those special people you only see once in a while in terms of eccentricity and everything else.

Most Read

"His work feeding the chickens there even spawned board games and gave national coverage to the town and the area and I think it is well meriting a memorial of some form there.

"It obviously doesn't need to be something that would cause a hazard but it should be noted and I give my full support."

Gordon Knowles received his own Bungay Broadsheet for his care of the chickens on Chicken roundabout in 2012.

Gordon Knowles received his own Bungay Broadsheet for his care of the chickens on Chicken roundabout in 2012. - Credit: Nick Butcher

In 2012, Mr Knowles was honoured with his own broadsheet, a preserved display page previously only allocated to landmarks and legends in the town, such as the infamous Black Dog.

Councillor Lorna Richardson said: "I think there are safety considerations but I fully support celebrating Bungay's quirkiness and a person who gave a lot to Bungay's landscape and culture, as long as it is safe and drivers don't drive over the roundabout because they do that often enough so lets not give them another excuse.

"The broadsheet memorial is inaccessible and unreadable if you are colour-blind or have sight difficulties, and there is no map of them if you don't know where they are.

"Perhaps a bit of Bungay heritage needs better signposting if we are to do this sort of thing again in the future."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter