Tunnels

Tunnels

Stories of tunnels around Hanworth have been the subject of many discussions and arguements over the years, more recently on the Facebook Groups.

I am going to put my own theories here.

I don't think there are any tunnels, with rumours possibly started when an underground stream or sewer was discovered during building works, and the stories just expanded over the years. 

One of the most common stories involves Henry VIII and Hampton Court, probably because of his connection to Hanworth. Henry loved to visit Hanworth Manor House and used it as a hunting lodge. Tunnels were thought to be his way of getting from Hampton Court to Hanworth without being seen, to see one of his many mistresses. I cant see this being true, because as King, he would have a large entourage, wherever he went, so he couldnt hide.

Also any tunnel from Hampton Court to Hanworth would have gone extremly close to the River Thames, and engineering skills of the day would not have been able to handle this.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the greatest engineers of recent times took 20 years to build a tunnel under the Thames, how long would Henrys engineers have taken? 19th and 20th century building would have also found some sort of trace of tunnels.

Talk of tunnels between Hampton Court and Hanworth Park House, and the Ice House can be discounted straight away. The main reason being, Henry died in the 1500s. Hanworth Park House and the Ice House were built 300 odd years later, and apart from Henry, there is no historical link between these two buildings, apart from one being built to replace a fire damaged one from Henry's time.

Another thing to consider is the amount of water around Hanworth. The water table is quite high and would have had a n adverse effect on any tunnel building.

This map shows in Blue water courses, both now and from days gone by. In Red are the tunnels that people say exist. As you can see there are many, and no one knows which, if any are true. The 3 red lines that go to the bottom of the map, are heading towards Hampton Court, one of the so called ends of the tunnels. As you can see all the routes go near or through the water.

 

 

We now have it on reasonably good authority that there is or was a tunnel at Hanworth Park House, but this was only used for deliveries and servants, so they would not be seen at the front of the house. It was apparently bricked up, so we are going to go looking for it, when we next visit. we have an e Nursing Home worker visiting soon and she will try to expalin what each room was for, and hopefully she may be able to point us towards the tunnel if it exists.