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1 Oct: The curious tale of a secret door

In February 1900, a curious tale was noted in Norfolk and Norwich Notes and Queries about Wiveton Hall in North Norfolk.


It read: “In one of the least known villages on the Norfolk coast, a place called Wiveton, is an Elizabethan house named Wiveton Hall. "


“In this ancient house, some years since, was discovered a door, heavily plated with iron, giving access to some room which had been closed and unentered for probably half a century. The former occupants of the place seem to have felt no particular interest as to what might be behind this mysterious door, and so left it undisturbed.


Black and white pencil drawing of the extensions to Wiveton Hall in 1908
Architectural drawing of extensions to Wiveton Hall, Norfolk, 1908

“On the house changing hands, the new proprietor was of a more curious disposition and determined to have the door opened.


“The iron plates were cut through and after considerable trouble, access was obtained to the chamber. It proved to be completely empty and the floor had entirely rotted away.


“On one of the walls, however, was the impress of a hand made with some dark pigment, giving the idea that someone had smeared their hand with it and then pressed it on the wall, palm downwards.


“This pigment was said to have been human blood, but as to the truth of this, we cannot say. One can only wonder what dark tragedy this room, so long untenanted, may hide.


 

Thinking of visiting Wiveton? If you do, pay a visit to St Mary’s church to see the cadaver tomb of Thomas Brigge. Mr Brigge’s (no relation) wife Joan’s cadaver brass has been stolen, along with the plaque which memorialised them both.


We know that the remaining cadaver is Thomas as, when viewed with your back to the altar, it is on the left (the conventional position for a man) and the skeleton has a Biblical rib missing!






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