Re: The Lamb Inn Cellars
I investigated the rumoured tunnels in early 2000 that supposedly once existed between the Lamb pub and St Mary’s Church, the Old Parsonage and a former house called The Lawn located where Lawns Avenue now is.
Most of the information I gleaned was from people who were children in the mid-1930s, when the 17th century The Lawn house was demolished.
By a strange quirk of fate, one of the heavily laden lorries taking rubble away from the demolition site, collapsed part of the surface of Ocklynge Road beside the Lamb pub revealing a tunnel below.
Despite appearances and a structure giving a misleading impression, there is currently no tunnel opening out into The Lamb’s ancient cellars although there may have been at least one in the past.
Two people, quite separately from each other, entered the so-called “Lawn tunnel” but found it blocked by chalk rubble before reaching the pub.
They then separately walked in the other direction, toward The Lawn house and found the tunnel opened out into the ruined basement of that old building.
The tunnel exit into the basement had been partially bricked-up but leaving sufficient space for the youngsters to be able to scramble out.
One of those people reported seeing many glow-worms in the tunnel and, at intervals, 12-inch nails with square heads had been hammered into the tunnel wall, presumably upon which to have once hung lanterns.
In 1932, two other young people, then both aged nine years, two or three years before the demolition of The Lawn house, entered a tunnel which they claimed “started from a barn near the house”.
They said the tunnel had a headroom of about five feet. This doesn’t quite tie up with other information received.
I have been told the supposed location of what had been a subterranean void or “tunnel” exit just inside the front door of The Old Parsonage; a void in the stonework blocked up and cemented over in the 1960s.
The then Verger of St Mary’s Church, a Mr Canning, is alleged to have explained to an informant that “evidence of a former tunnel could be seen in the Sacristy, behind the altar, although a grille had been fitted over the entrance”.
I hope you may decide to print the above information which although imparted to me as second or third-hand hearsay, I believe I was told genuine experiences which occurred nearly 80 years ago.
What reason would there have been for anyone to lie?
It takes “trauma” to a building, ie: demolition or other structural damage, to reveal such a feature as a tunnel if one exists.
Geoffrey Ambridge, Northern Avenue,