Their curiosity led to the discovery of a hidden chapel and a secret passageway!
When moving to a new home, it is inevitable to discover things and ‘secret’ places as time passes by. But this family never knew that there was something hidden underneath the house they have been living in for years!
Pat, 52, and Diane Farla, 43, had a few drinks one Friday and decided to check something in their Telford home of three years in Shropshire. Ever since they moved into the detached Victorian building three years ago they’d wondered what lay behind the metre-long rectangle which lay alongside a wall.
After pulling it away they found a hole that led somewhere, but they couldn’t fit into it. Gareth Farla, 20, and his uncle Matthew Lathan, 25, were the only ones who could squeeze through. As they jump into the hole without thinking twice, they found themselves in a dark brick room that seemed to be a chapel of some sort.
In the centre of the room lay a wooden cross which appeared to have fallen down after rotting away.
Matthew said: ‘We only discovered it because we were drunkenly fooling around and decided to have a look at what was beneath the grid – It was amazing.
‘Everyone was hovering around with excitement.
‘The first thing we came across in the middle of the basement was an old, open chest and in it were old newspapers and bottles dating back to the 1930s.
‘There were also hooks hanging from the ceiling which could have been used to hang meat.
‘At one end of the cellar was a sort of mesh or cloth which was damp.
‘There were also some sort of brick seats around the walls which looked like something you might find in a church.’
With a little more exploration, they also found some stairs at the back of the basement.
Gareth added: ‘When we spotted the stairs in the room we tried to find out where they led to.
‘There was more cardboard and we broke through that and it came out to a cupboard in our dining room.
‘It’s strange it’s been there and we had no idea. We were just storing the hoover and blankets, we couldn’t quite believe it.
‘At that point everyone else came in and saw it.
‘We’re not sure what the room was used for, but the crosses and layout suggest it might have been a chapel.
‘We didn’t like to touch the stuff too much as we would like someone to come and tell us what it is.’
Richard Westwood Brookes, historical documents expert for nearby Shropshire auctioneers Mullocks, said: ‘If the deeds are over 230 years old and the room dates back to the 1700’s, there’s a chance it could have been used as a Catholic hideaway or for other nonconformist religious groups.
‘There’s a possibility a room like that could be used as a clandestine Catholic church as you couldn’t be a Catholic during that time—you would be persecuted and executed.’
The family plan to get in touch with local history groups who might be able to shed some light on their discovery.