Black Shuck – said to have terrorised churchgoers is immortalised by writer

A writer has immortalised the demon dog of East Anglia in a graphic novel after raising more than £3,000 through crowdfunding.

Mark Allard-Will chronicled the legend of Black Shuck – which is said to have terrorised churchgoers in Bungay and Blythburgh, Suffolk, in 1577.

His funding campaign gained sponsors worldwide, including one supporter from the remote Faroe Islands.

He said he achieved the goal through “hard work”.

“It was a 60-day campaign and it was 60 days of going on social media,” said Mr Allard-Will, who was born in Suffolk and now lives in Canada.

Black Shuck
The legend of Black Shuck inspired Sherlock Holmes novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create the Hound of the Baskervilles. Image copyright: Ryan Howe

Mr Allard-Will said he received funding from fans in the UK, Canada, the United States and Finland.

He said the hardest part of writing the book was making sure his research into clothing, housing, technology and settlement types of both the Dark Ages and Tudor era was as accurate as possible.

The East Anglian legend recounts how on 4 August 1577, during a dry lightning storm, Black Shuck broke down the doors of Bungay’s St Mary’s Church, resulting in the deaths of four worshippers, and then vanished.

Three panels from the graphic novel
On 4 August 1577, Black Shuck was said to have killed four worshippers at Bungay’s St Mary’s Church. Image copyright: Ryan Howe/Elaine M Will

The animal then reappeared in Blythburgh, where Shuck’s claw marks are said to still be visible in the doors of Holy Trinity Church.

The legend has been celebrated in song by Lowestoft rock band The Darkness, and it inspired Sherlock Holmes novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create the Hound of the Baskervilles.

The book – The Burning Black: Legend of Black Shuck – with artwork by Ryan Howe and lettered by Elaine M Will, is due to be published on Friday.

First published 09.06.19:

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