When Adcock's were expanding their TV Shop in 1982 workmen rediscovered an old tunnel under the building which was said to be 30 feet long, seven wide and high enough for a man to stand up in. For Michael, it brought back memories when he dared his school boy friends lo go into it. He also thought that it could be as old as the house, which according to a date on the wall, was built in 1674, I also think that it would have been constructed when the house was built- This is most interesting. Was the house one of those destroyed by the fire of Watton on 25th April 1674? If so, no lime was lost in rebuilding it. Or was the fire in April 1673, as most old records state? However, according to one reference I have come across, 1673 was an error, as the fire was in 1674.
Another question is, what was the original purpose of the tunnel? It is well known that the part running under the former chemist shop was used by Lacy Vincent and Benjamin Chaston, his predecessor, as a wine and spirit store. So could the shop and tunnel have originally been built for a wine merchant? Probably, but after reading on, you may well think this unlikely. When the new sewer was laid along the High Street in the 1950's, certain modifications had to be made to circumvent the tunnel. The man in charge of this work informs me that although the tunnel had been sealed off near the pavement, he was able to remove a little rubble and with the aid of a powerful torch could see That it went under the High Street towards the Crown Hotel. At the opposite end it had been sealed off near the end of the chemist's property, but he was able to see that this end of it went under Harvey Street, towards the house that until 1926 was the "Red Lion" Inn.
This was also confirmed by a man of 88 who helped with maintenance work in the tunnel when only 14 and the older workmen told him to keep a look out for their employer coming along, as they had partaken of too much wine stored there and were going to sleep off the effects. He also stated that another branch of it went under the buildings towards Roy Rudling's Stores. I would be interested if anyone can throw more light on the subject.