Borley Rectory tunnel - 1957
On 12 September 1957 came the discovery of the long-lost and eagerly-sought tunnel running under the road between the vanished Rectory and Borley church or Borley Place.
Mr. Sewell entered the tunnel and examined it carefully. . . . there was a flat brick floor covered with hard earth, upright walls about a foot high and a domed or arched roof. The bricks were of the red two-inch Tudor type, the whole construction strongly built and the roof still very clean. Mr. Sewell made careful measurements and found that the width of the tunnel was 32 inches and its height 28 inches. The top was 12 inches below the road surface, including three inches of metalling.
The tunnel was found to continue for several yards beyond the road on both sides. The northern end was blocked by a brick wall and the southern by an accumulation of earth that reached almost to the roof.
Workmen [were] digging a trench from the direction of Borley Green towards Rodbridge Corner in order to lay water mains in the parish, cut through brickwork at about 9am with their mechanical digger and came upon the tunnel. Mr. [Len] Sewell was promptly informed and immediately went to Borley with Mr. W.J. Leathley of the East Anglian Daily Times and Mr. Leathley's son.
Until this point the general inference placed the tunnel, if one existed, running in an east-west direction. In fact, it was found to be running roughly north-south, some two or three yards west of the barn in front of Borley Place. The position of the tunnel could account for many reports of a hollow sound noticed by drivers of farm carts and other vehicles on this stretch of road.
[The bricks of the] blocking brick wall, made by Byford of Melford, were quite modern.
[Close examination] rules out the possibility of the tunnel having been originally a large drain, as a local surveyor suggested.
They also dug on the other side of the wall, within the garden of Borley Place, and again found traces of the tunnel, turning up several two-inch bricks. From here to the end of the tunnel the distance was roughly 90 feet. If the tunnel had continued straight on it would have entered the ancient cellars of Borley Place where there was a curious square alcove.
On its way the tunnel would have hit (or possibly just missed) the well in the garden where, according to reports, it was penetrated many years earlier by the late Mr. Farrance (while employed by the Reverend Harry Bull [to repair a well] he came across some brickwork a few feet below ground. He forced an entrance and found that he had broken into what appeared to be a high and valuted tunnel. He pursued it some distance until he met 'foul air;' the candle he carried gutted and he was forced to turn back).
Following their thorough exploration, Mr. Sewell and Mr. Rayner covered the opening they had made and filled in the hole.
There still remains [the question of] just where and how far the tunnel continues on the Rectory side. (Now private property.)
The Ghosts of Borley
copyright 1973 by Peter Underwood and Paul Tabori
used by permission