A PRIESTS' hiding hole, "lost" for nearly 400 years, has been discovered at historic Sawston Hall, a few miles south of Cambridge.
Although one hole, made by BI, Nicholas Owen. and described as "one of the finest in the country" has been known at Sawston for many years, there has always been hope of finding another. Bl. Nicholas, a Jesuit Laybrother, is never known to have made less than two hiding holes in any house where he worked.
It seems amazing that all knowledge of such a room, known to a few priests like Fr. Gerard and RI. Edmund Campion, S..I., and to the head of the Iluddleston family in Elizabethan times should be lost.
THE Catholic Huddlesion family who still own the house today were only too glad to give permission for boards to be taken up when Mr. Arthur Goddard, a skilled craftsman who does much restoration work in stately hones, detected a hollow sound beneath the floorboards in the Great Han.
After some hours work he was amazed to see through the haze of dust the shadowy outline of a room. A considerable amount of rubble lay in the hole, but much of this has now been cleared and already it has been established that the room is connected with a Tudor lavatory shute, whose exit is on the outside of the house.
The room. 9 ft. long, 6 ft. high and 3 ft. wide, contains no evidence such as the powdered oyster shells which were found in the other hole testifying to the difficulties the Hoddlestotts bad in bringing food to the priests who were hidden.
Nicholas Owen's second hiding hole doubtless sheltered many brave men, but who they were will probably never be known.
SAWSTON HALL, is open to the
public un Saturdays and Sundays from 2.30 to 5 p.m. and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and 'T'hursdays by arrangement. Teas may be obtained at the Hall.
The Hall is 6i miles south of Cambridge on the Saffron WaldonCambridge Road (A.130).