Priest-Hunting at Braddocks

Heusenstamm; 2021-06-04

dusty cobweb with holes in corner of flat; photo

“The chapel” and priests' holes may still be seen, and a fine old stone fireplace that was stripped of its many traditions of Romanist plots in the curious oak-panelled room over the gate-house of the former, which goes by the name of “the Plot Room.” Once upon a time it was provided with a secret lintel over a doorway; it was full of bundles of manuscripts incriminating the chimney of the great hall and in this Father Oldcorn was hidden for the last century at the Elizabethan manor house of Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, only a portion of which remains incorporated in a modern structure. Upon removing some of the wallpaper of a passage on the second floor, the entrance to a room hitherto unknown was laid bare. It was a small apartment about eight feet square, and each bore evidence, carelessly flung there a century or more ago, while on the table stood an antique tea-pot, cup, and silver spoon, the very tea leaves crumbled to dust with age. On the same storey were two rooms known as “the chapel” and the “priest's room,” the names of which signify some particulars of the sudden surprise which evidently drove this buried chamber by a slender flight of steps. It was very high, reaching up two storeys, but extremely narrow, so much so that directly opposite a stone bench which stood in a recess for a seat, the wall was hollowed out to admit of some dark crime, and never allowed the secret chamber to be shown.

Secret Chambers and Hiding-Places, by Alan Fea [abridged]