posted on May, 16 2010 @ 05:29 PM
I think the article is correct, it was likely a secret Catholic chapel. Open Catholicism was only legalized relatively recently in England (19th c.).
It may be hard to imagine today, but there was only a very limited freedom of worship, and to be Catholic really meant you were considered a
"traitor" to the Crown. This began mainly after the so-called "Bloody Mary" era, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, after Cromwell successfully
protestantized a still lingeringly "catholic" England, through the forced introduction of the Book of Common Prayer, and then followed up with an
incredibly brutal crack-down on those who wouldn't change.
It was serious business. Worse, if you were found to be a Catholic priest, you would be executed, no fooling around, and sometimes in a most painful
fashion. But, this did not immediately stop priests from ministering to their faithful, at least in secret. Elaborate set-ups evolved, with very
talented carpenters able to create hidden chambers, and cubby-holes to hide priests, that were virtually impossible to find. You can read about how
some of these hiding places even had food and water provisions, since often the suspected family harboring the priest would have their home occupied
for days on end, while very thorough searches took place.
If you were wealthy, it was even more important not to risk it all, and often a secret Catholic who could afford it, could arrange to have an almost
church-sized chamber stealthily built beneath some structure. In fact, the great Shakespeare is one who was reputed to secretly practice Catholicism,
with recent receipts discovered proving he at least paid the rent on a house that was found to have a secret place of worship.
Probably most in England are more or less aware of this history, but people in other parts of the world may never have heard of it. Anyway, nothing
"spooky" here to me, other than the fact that it's a grim reminder of an ugly and bloody past.