Priest-holes today. Did you know that Baddesley Clinton House in Warwickshire has three priest-holes? Priest-holes were where Catholic priests serving wealthy Catholic families would hide when houses were searched by the government for evidence of Catholicism. After Henry VIII began the schism from Rome and the establishment of the Church of England in the early 16th century, it was his daughter, Elizabeth I that banned the practice of Catholicism in 1558. This led to the persecution of Catholic priests and those caught were often tortured and sentenced to death – hence the need for priest-holes. Today both Coughton Court (photo 1) and Baddesley Clinton (photo 3) have priest-holes that have survived. Photo 2 shows how small and cramped these were. Sometimes priests would stay hidden for days.
Fun Fact: Coughton Court’s priest-hole has a false entrance so even if that was discovered a priest would still not be seen.
Check here to find out about these and other National Trust priest-holes and here for more information on priest-holes in general.
Photo 3 from Google Images.
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