Bungay Castle features in my Mom and my new book While the Bombs Fell. It was originally a Norman Castle and was built by Roger Bigod of Norfolk in approximately 1100. His son, Hugh Bigod, built a large, square Norman keep on the site in 1165. During the rebellion against King Henry II of England in 1173 – 1174, Bungay Castle was besieged, mined and largely destroyed by royal forces.

In 1294, Roger Bigod, the 5th Earl of Norfolk, restored the castle and is thought to have built the large gate towers.

The Bigods were notorious for their wickedness and it is claimed that they still haunt the site of the ruins of Bungay Castle. Legend has it that they appear in a coach, driven by a headless coachman with his head under his arm, and pulled by four horses that spout fire and smoke from their mouths and nostrils and whose hoofs strike fire as they hit the ground. It is further speculated that the coach is never both seen and heard, it is either one or the other.

It is not know whether there is a link between this horse-drawn coach and the one that is purported to haunt the road between Ditchingham and Bungay. This coach is set to charge at on-coming traffic and only turn away at the last moment.

At the time when Hugh Bigod was causing trouble in England, his family at Bungay Castle may have enjoyed this medieval gingerbread as a treat.

Medieval gingerbread


2 cups honey

450 grams bread crumbs

4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cloves


Bring the honey to the boil in a pot. Skim off the scum that forms on top of the honey. Add the breadcrumbs and then the spices. Stir well. Press into a metal tray and let cool completely. Cut into squares.

The photograph is of my Mom, aged 24, sitting on Castle Hills, Bungay.

Have a lovely week.