Latest update: Dec 21st 2021                           Hidden East Anglia:  

                                                                                                                        Landscape Legends of Eastern England


The Puddingstone Track:



A Survey of Medieval

(and earlier)

Freestanding Crosses

in Norfolk


the biggest collection anywhere of East Anglian legends and encounters with the ghostly hound

Black Shuck




the quarterly journal of the

Borderline Science Investigation

Group 1971-1982

(scans in pdf form of Issues 3-40)


a catalogue of just about every 'standing stone', 'mark stone', glacial erratic, odd boulder & strange rock that I know of

The Quest for Tom Hickathrift

an investigation into the origins, legends & locations of the Norfolk Giant

Edmund of East Anglia

the history, mythology & landscape legends of our first patron saint



Ancient burial mounds, old stones, crossroads, pits, remarkable trees, graves, secret tunnels, beacons, bowers, ponds, earthworks, crosses, effigies, holy wells, hills, ancient dykes, churches, pillars, bridges, fields, moats, meres.....

This is a website of Places and Things, and the weird tales that people have told of them. Although ghosts do feature, it's not a tourist's guide to haunted inns and stately homes. Every legend here is firmly fixed to a particular location or object, whether it's a natural feature of the landscape, or one imposed on the landscape by Man.

Growing from an involvement many years ago in the Earth Mysteries field, I've long been fascinated by the way in which folklore and legend attach themselves to both natural and man-made objects. Hidden beneath the skin of the landscape, behind the scenery and the tourist sites, are the bones and blood of tradition. History has mixed with folklore to produce tales of hidden treasure, legendary battles, strange burials, living stones, saints and spirits, devils and demons.

This site is basically a gathering of every legend that I've found in over 40 years of collecting tales throughout my native East Anglia, and through exploring old books, periodicals and manuscripts. Some of the 500+ legends here appear in no books that I know of, while others haven't seen the light of day for decades.

((I've used the pre-1974 boundary of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, thus leaving out Huntingdonshire and Peterborough. For Essex, I've excluded those parts that are now London Boroughs.))

I've visited many of the sites myself, so I've tried to give Ordnance Survey map references where possible. And I always try to give my sources - though some of the tales were collected so long ago that I no longer have any record of where I found them!

Plus, here you will also find antiquarian oddities of the landscape that have no legend attached, and which sometimes have left only a name behind to be of interest.

This site is arranged in four ways:


First there's a Gazetteer of every place mentioned that has a legend attached, alphabetically by parish or town, and separated into their counties. (Where secret tunnels that run from one parish to another are involved, I've had to make a choice as to which end should be the focus of the Gazetteer entry).



Then there is the Full Site Index by County, where every single place mentioned on the site is listed alphabetically, whether it has a legend or not. This includes Shuckland, as well as the Stone Index, Odd Burials, Notable Springs, the Hickathrift and Edmund sections (though not the Survey of Norfolk Crosses.) Those locations in bold already have an entry in the Gazetteer.



Thirdly there is the Landscape Features section, grouping the types of site (mounds, stones, trees etc) into eight categories - with the eighth being the inevitable collection of 'Miscellaneous Tales' that wouldn't fit anywhere else. Here you'll also find 'Extras' - links in most categories to objects that may not have a story, but which deserve to be recorded. (For example, in the 'Trees' section, there's a link to all the various 'Gospel Oaks' and other notable trees that I've found. Similarly, under 'Old Stones' you'll find a link to a list of stones that may be significant in some way, such as on an ancient route, or in the foundations of a church).



Finally there is a Themes section. It doesn't contain everything from the first two lists, but gathers some of the stories under common theme headings, such as 'Hidden Treasure', 'The Devil', or 'The Haunted Landscape'. In the 'Giants, Dragons & Fairies' category there's a link to my 'Quest for Tom Hickathrift', plus a lengthy search for the truth about 'Edmund of East Anglia', who has left his mark all over the eastern landscape.


I'd be pleased to hear from anyone who could add any detail to the stories already here, and especially pleased to hear any new tales connected with the landscape features of East Anglia. For this or any comments you might have about this site, please email me at the address below.


Explore and enjoy!


 Mike Burgess.

 Lowestoft, Suffolk.

 Website originally published October 2005.