Unique house on sale featuring Tudor-era tunnel that allowed Catholics to escape when authorities visited

22 May 2023, 16:13

The historic cottage features an 'escape tunnel'
The historic cottage features an 'escape tunnel'. Picture: Rightmove

By Kit Heren

A bizarre house has gone on the market featuring a Tudor-era escape tunnel that would have allowed Catholics living in the property to hide when the authorities visited.

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The house, in the village of Fowlsmere in Cambridgeshire, has a tunnel that estate agents say probably dates back to the time of King Henry VIII, who ruled in the first half of the 1500s.

The listing says that the house itself probably dates to the 17th century.

Estate agents list the usual features in the house, adding that "there is also a door down to a basement area, with lots of space for storage, as well as a historic underground tunnel!"

They say: "The Tunnel goes from Hill View Cottage and joins up with several historic properties in the village, with a small central meeting room.

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"It was likely to have been built when Henry VIII created the church of England and was most likely used by Catholics and Protestants as an escape route when persons of authority visited, so as to avoid persecution.

"It is believed this could be the last remaining access to the tunnel, with others having been sealed off."

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Henry VIII split Britain from the Catholic church when he wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Catholics were persecuted in the reigns of several of his followers, although Protestants were burned when his daughter Mary, a Catholic, was Queen.

Hill View, High Street, Fowlmere

History.co.uk said: “The effects of the English Parliament passing a series of acts that made King Henry ‘Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England’ turned England into a sovereign state but also created a religious schism in the country between Catholic and Protestant worshippers.

"A climate of religious and political discord and bloodshed between the two opposing religions as a result of the Reformation continued well into Elizabeth I's forty-four-year reign and into the seventeenth century."

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