Priest's holes

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These hiding places were created to conceal priests during a time when Catholics were persecuted. Under Queen Elizabeth I, priests were often imprisoned, tortured and even killed. Priest holes were specially disguised within a house to baffle search-parties.

* Oxburgh Hall, in Norfolk, has a secret priest's hole which you can crawl inside.

* Built by the Catholic Norris family during turbulent times, Speke Hall in Merseyside has several Tudor security features including priest’s and spy’s holes. There is even an eavesdropper, which is a small hole under the eaves of the house, allowing servants to listen in on the conversations of people waiting at the front door.

* There are three priest’s holes at Baddesley Clinton, in Warwickshire.

* See the bed on which King Charles II slept and the priest’s hole in which he hid at Moseley Old Hall, in Staffordshire.

* Coughton Court, in Warwickshire, has a priest’s hole with a double hide – meaning that it has two compartments so that if anyone opened the first section they would still not be able to see the priest hiding in the second compartment.

* There is a small compartment, thought to be a priest’s hole at Scotney Castle, in Kent. This hiding place is said to have helped the Jesuit priest, Father Richard Blount, make a dramatic escape. Explore the Old Castle to find the hideaway.


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