I told you sometime ago that local legend says that somewhere here in the grounds of Le Petit Chateau is a hidden tunnel. When we bought this place it had stood empty for over 10 years.The grandson of the last owner told us that his grandmere was a fabulous gardener - but she hadn`t unearthed anything. We too have had a good scout about in the grounds but never came up with any ideas.
But today I went down into the cellar to see if the swallows had nested in there again this year. The cellar is not accessible from inside the house but does have a small access door in the garden. When grandmere purchased the house in the 1950s it had already long been derelict and the wooden ground floor floors had fallen through into the cellar. She renovated and put new floors throughout but it is clear to see with all the mud and debris in there that it was never cleaned out. The floor remains deep in mud and old rotted 19th century wooden beams - and, to be honest it is the last thing to deal with on our list of renovation work.
I went down into the half light and immediately saw a tiny field mouse scuttle along the mud floor. Rather than leave him to run the gauntlet with Charles le Baron I decided to catch him and put him outside in the bushes. He ran into the second half of the cellar and into the darkness - and I had to wait until my eyes became accustomed to the darkness to try and see him. And then I saw it......a huge flat triangular stone in the corner. After living here for over two years it is the first time we have ever seen it!!
So after a some investigation, digging into the heavy clay and soil moving this is what we have found................
The first stone was cleared to reveal another stone step below. Did those steps lead down to a hidden 19th century privy? But then it became apparent that there is a hole below the second step. The left hand side of what we have uncovered is a solid wall and continues down but the front opens up below the second step. It feels as if there are some stones in there and we have pulled out some old bottles and mother of pearl buttons.
So......we have lost the light now and have to stop - but cannot wait to do a bit more digging tomorrow.
Double click on the photograph if you want to look closer.
So............... what do you think?