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Scans unveil secret room in Coughton Court


Posted on Sunday, 29 January, 2017 | Comment icon 11 comments

Coughton Court is a building steeped in history. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 jo-h
A secretive 'priest hole' in an English Tudor mansion has been tied to the infamous 'Gunpowder Plot'.
Coughton Court in England, like many stately homes in the 16th century, had a priest hole - a hidden space designed to conceal priests during the anti-Catholic persecutions of that era.

At the time, Catholic priests were considered traitors and faced execution, however many of them chose to travel around in disguise while performing banned Catholic ceremonies in secret.

Priest holes, which were often no bigger than a small cupboard, would give them the opportunity to hide from the authorities for days at a time while visiting wealthy families across the country.

Now researchers at the University of Nottingham have used 3D scanning techniques to reveal a priest hole hidden in the tower of Coughton Court - a building of particular historical significance.

The scans showed that this secretive space had been built using a 'double-blind' construction so that the real priest hole was hidden behind another secret space designed to fool the authorities.

"When they're searching, they think they've found the priest hole but it's empty, but actually the priest is hidden in the more concealed space beyond," said assistant professor Christopher King.

"And that's what happens at Coughton: there's one chamber under the floor in the turret of the tower, and then there is another trap door that goes through into a second space, which we assume is where the priest was actually hiding."

Coughton Court is well known for its connection to the infamous 'Gunpowder Plot' in which Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the House of Lords and assassinate King James I in 1605.

On the night of the attempt, a group of Catholic conspirators met at the mansion to await news of the assassination. When it transpired that the plot had failed and that many of those involved had already been captured, the men fled in to the night.

Most of them were eventually captured themselves and executed for their treachery.

Source: Live Science | Comments (11)

Tags: Gunpowder Plot, Coughton Court

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by glorybebe on 29 January, 2017, 19:55
Really cool! †I always wanted to live†in a place that had hidden rooms. I don't know why I find them fascinating, but I totally do.
Comment icon #3 Posted by hetrodoxly on 30 January, 2017, 2:43
I've also been to Coughton court many times (i don't live that far away) have you seen the ancient trees in the grounds, i think one of them is the oldest oak in the country.
Comment icon #4 Posted by acute on 30 January, 2017, 14:30
I know the†old tree you are talking about. I think they have some rare fruit trees too.
Comment icon #5 Posted by MJNYC on 30 January, 2017, 19:52
Love your avatar picture! Is he/she yours?
Comment icon #6 Posted by seanjo on 30 January, 2017, 20:32
I thought priest holes could only be found in the church choir!
Comment icon #7 Posted by hetrodoxly on 31 January, 2017, 1:14
It is a†special place.
Comment icon #8 Posted by acute on 31 January, 2017, 11:17
I'm glad you like it. It's a selfie!
Comment icon #9 Posted by acute on 31 January, 2017, 11:20
No comment! †
Comment icon #10 Posted by MJNYC on 31 January, 2017, 19:35
LOL, what's his (your) name?†
Comment icon #11 Posted by acute on 31 January, 2017, 19:50
Don't tell anyone...... I borrowed if off the interwebs, about 10 years back.


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