Home History Section Barton Stories
Story HERE as a pdf
PRIEST HOLE (OR NOT ?)
1959 I was in the Upper Sixth at Barton Grammar School and much
of our life was spent in Baysgarth House which was an annexe to
the school. Henry Treece the well-known author was our English
teacher and was a fountain of knowledge on many things beyond grammar
and literature. For years he had told us that he suspected that
there was a Priest Hole in Baysgarth House. Others suggested that
these were only found in old houses inhabited by Catholic families.
We all believed that there might well be a priest hole and decided
to investigate. We targeted the wall, which is on the end of the
house which faces Brigg Road.
The wall was either of enormous thickness or their was a cavity between it
and the back of our classroom (which may have been room 14 ?) Mr. Brice
taught French in there.
One night Jimmy Hill, Phil Jackson, Howard Kitchinson, John Patchett, Derek
Allen and I approached the building.
Derek tried climbing up the drainpipe but this alerted the cleaner. He then
knocked the door on the pretext of picking up a book. The cleaner kindly
let him in but he hid until she left. Then he let the rest of us in.
We made our way up the back stairs to the attic, which we knew fairly
well anyway from earlier and equally unofficial expeditions. Eventually
with the aid of torches and bicycle lamps we found what we were looking
for. Using one of our mother's clothes lines we lowered ourselves into
the "priest hole" and recorded the event with camera and
flashbulbs before departing. We did not tell any teachers, except of
course Mr. Treece with whom we had a special relationship.
The present staff of the museum deny all knowledge of the secret hiding place
but I did not make this story up although increasing girth may prevent
me from giving guided tours.
is a councillor for North Warwickshire Borough having retired
from teaching. He spends his winter holidays skiing and in the
summer cycles through the bush in Central Africa.