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From the Black Shuck to buried witch - new book celebrates Norfolk's supernatural tales

PUBLISHED: 14:56 15 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:14 15 August 2019

Somerton Church ruins (oak grown from a witch's wooden leg) Credit: Supplied by Amberley Publishing

Somerton Church ruins (oak grown from a witch's wooden leg) Credit: Supplied by Amberley Publishing

Archant

From the Black Shuck to an oak tree grown from a witch buried there, a new book celebrates the county's weird and wonderful folklore.

The Hanging Monk of St. Benet's Abbey Mill  Credit: Supplied by Amberley PublishingThe Hanging Monk of St. Benet's Abbey Mill Credit: Supplied by Amberley Publishing

The Illustrated Tales of Norfolk features a collection of strange tales from Norfolk and is written by local author and historian John Ling.

Among the stories included in the book are the ancient legend of the supernatural Black Shuck dog, which provided inspiration for The Hound of the Baskervilles, and the strange case of the vicar who, after being defrocked, was killed in a lion's cage while delivering a sermon.

Mr Ling, who is also the author of Windmills of Norfolk, undertook a great deal of research and tried to unearth the more obscure tales.

The book contains over 80 illustrations and features many of his original photographs which involved lots of travelling across the county.

The Ghost of the Lady in Grey is said to haunt Tombland Alley in Norwich. Credit: Supplied by Amberley PublishingThe Ghost of the Lady in Grey is said to haunt Tombland Alley in Norwich. Credit: Supplied by Amberley Publishing

Mr Ling said: "The book brings together all kinds of stories from across Norfolk, including ancient legends, folklore, mysterious murders, smuggling, witchcraft and much besides.

"My favourite Norfolk tale would probably be one of the traditional stories like the tale of the Pedlar of Swaffham, who found buried gold in his back garden after travelling to London and back with his dog.

"I also like the old yarn about the oak tree inside the ruins of East Somerton Church which supposedly grew from the wooden leg of a witch buried there long ago!"

READ MORE: Weird Norfolk: Could this be the most haunted building in Norfolk?

Norfolk's mythical tales have captured the imagination if its residents for generations and none more so than in Norwich where a ghost walk takes place three times a week across the cobbled city streets.

Illustrated Tales of Norfolk by John Ling Credit: Amberley PublishingIllustrated Tales of Norfolk by John Ling Credit: Amberley Publishing

Mr Ling added: "Norfolk is an ancient county with a turbulent history and some of the featured tales go back up to 1,000 years.

"Traditionally it has been quite an isolated county and it has a long coastline which has given rise to many beliefs and superstitions.

"I think that people are interested in Norfolk's past partly because things are changing quickly and the old stories need to be preserved for posterity."

The Illustrated Tales of Norfolk has been released by Amberley Publishing and costs £14.99 and the paperback is available on Amazon and in Kindle, Kobo and iBook formats.

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