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Town looks into the location of a secret tunnel
3:10pm Wednesday 13th August 2008 in News
DROITWICH Spa’s History and Archaeological Society is set to look into a number of suggestions about the whereabouts of a secret town tunnel.
Residents have been coming forward to tell of where they believe the hidden tunnel is located.
There was a wave of interest after suggestions were made that a passageway leads from St Augustine’s church, Dodderhill, to the town centre.
Patrick Simpson said he saw the entrance in 1945 when he was playing as a child in the churchyard of St Augustine’s.
“There is a stone that reads ‘Entrance to the Norbury’s Vault,’” he said.
“When I was young there were two metal doors on the floor next to the stone, which opened to a tunnel.
“I remember a man in the entrance when we were playing one day. He showed us the entrance, which sloped steeply. I heard that it came out at a property down in Friar Street.”
Patrick’s claim to have seen the tunnel entrance was backed up by Mike Driscoll, who suggested the same area and headstone.
Monty Wild, from Spa Road, Droitwich, said he believed the tunnel came out in the yard of a house that used to be in Chorley Road, off Friar Street, but was covered up in the early 40s.
However, Paul Jones disagrees and says the tunnel does not exist. “The tunnel myth, which gained momentum several generations ago, was started by several local people who noticed a stone in St Augustine’s churchyard, which appeared to read Entrance to Norbury.
“People assumed that this referred to Norbury House in Friar Street.
“But when the soil was cut away from the base of the stone about 20 years ago, it was found to read Entrance to Norbury’s Vault.
“So, the stone marks the entrance to an underground vault, which contains the remains of the Norbury family, and not the entrance of a tunnel to Norbury House,” said Mr Jones.
However, Isabel Pearce has researched town tunnels and said that there was a tunnel in Friar Street to the original St Nicholas’ church, first built, according to her, on the corner of Friar Street and Winnetts Lane in 1086.
She also said that a system of tunnels ran from there to St Augustine’s and St Andrew’s, which linked the churches together.
She apparently discovered the system when researching the town at the archives in Worcester in 1986.
The town’s history and archaeological society will now look into the suggestions.