Ye Olde Bell

Inglenook Fireplace

On my recent visit to the Olde Bell in Hurley I noticed some information above a wooden panel next to the fireplace. I was intrigued by it and took a closer look. The photo and words informed that a passage runs from the cellar of the Olde Bell to the Village Priory and the passage was accessed by concealed panelling next to the inglenook fireplace.

Secret Passage

The Olde Bell first opened its doors in 1135 AD as a guesthouse for visitors to the nearby Benedictine Priory. For hundreds of years, the ringing of the Sanctus Bell signalled to the monks that an important visitor had arrived in the village and was on his way to call at their monastic retreat beside the River Thames. The Sanctus Bell still hangs over the door of The Olde Bell, a sign of welcome and refreshment to travellers.

There is a secret passage running from the cellar of The Olde Bell to the Priory in the village. The secret passage was used by Lord Lovelace of Hurley who was a plotter of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ in 1688 which drove the Catholic James II into exile and placed his son-in-law William of Orange jointly with his wife, James’s daughter Mary, on the throne.

Sanctus Bell

12 Comments CherryPie on Sep 25th 2017

12 Responses to “Ye Olde Bell”

  1. Amfortas says:

    And is the secret (?) passage still used?

    • CherryPie says:

      The priory itself is not still standing other than part of the church building.

      However whilst researching for my post about Hurley Priory I came across some interesting information about the tunnel but you will have to wait for my next post to find out what it is ;-)

  2. james higham says:

    To one person, a hero, to others the opposite.

  3. rusty duck says:

    I do love places with secrets and a bit of history!

  4. Hels says:

    In light of your previous posts on Priest Holes, how ironic that the secret passage was used by Baron Lovelace of Hurley who was part of the planning for the Glorious Revolution in 1688!

    Thus this Catholic secret passage was being used by a Protestant, trying to get rid of a Catholic king :)

    • CherryPie says:

      It certainly is an interesting twist in history. I had earlier in the day been researching and making notes for another article which was taking my longer than I had time for. That story is from the Catholic perspective.

      That one is coming soon…

  5. This is a hidden gem!
    Shame, I only walked past it.
    Spent too long walking along the Thames.

  6. Astrid says:

    I missed a lot of the posts over the last time. You saw some remarkable places again. The history goes far back in time and is still alive. Happy travels with your new car!!
    Wonderful pictures too.