Dunwich - Framed Picture - 12" x 16"
Dunwich is a village in Suffolk.
In the Anglo-Saxon period, Dunwich was the capital of the Kingdom of the East Angles but the harbour and most of the town have since disappeared due to coastal erosion. At its height it was an international port similar in size to 14th century London. Its decline began in 1286 when a storm surge hit the East Anglian coast followed by two great storms in 1287, and it was eventually reduced in size to the village it is today.
On 1 January 1286, a storm surge reached the east edge of the town and destroyed buildings in it. Before that, most recorded damage to Dunwich was loss of land and damage to the harbour.
This was followed by two further surges the next year, the South England flood of February 1287 and St. Lucia's flood in December. A fierce storm in 1328 also swept away the entire village of Newton. Another large storm in 1347 swept some 400 houses into the sea. The Grote Mandrenke around 16 January 1362 finally destroyed much of the remainder of the town.
Most of the buildings that were present in the 13th century have disappeared, including all eight churches, and Dunwich is now a small coastal "village", though retaining its status as a town.
A popular local legend says that, at certain tides, church bells can still be heard from beneath the waves.
The Dark Heart of Dunwich is piece of a Suffolk folklore, from the 12th century. The legend tells of how Eva, a Dunwich maiden due to be married to the son of a local landowner, fell instead for a good-looking local cad, who had his way with her and then deserted her, running off to sea. After waiting in vain for her lost love to return, she cut out her heart and hurled it into the sea. However, according to the legend, she was unable to die, and still haunts the area, particularly around the (constantly shifting) beach. The heart itself, believed to be similar in appearance to a wooden heart, is believed to wash up occasionally, and bring great misfortune onto anyone who picks it up and keeps it.