There are various yarns of underground tunnels criss
crossing the village of Blakeney. These tales probably
have some basis in fact given Blakeney’s past as a major
seaport in days of old, when smugglers abounded.
Rumours, speak of a passage that is
said to link three principal buildings, the Friary at
Blakeney, the Guildhall at Blakeney and Wiveton Hall at
the nearby village of Wiveton.
The long forgotten Carmelite Friary of Blakeney stood
out on the marshes close to the mouth of the river
Glaven. It was built by the White Friars of the
Carmelite order who also built the chapel by the
quayside so that vessels going out to sea could be
blessed. Fishermen would stop and put offerings into an
iron box, which was fixed to the outside of the friary.
They did this to ensure a successful and safe
The 14th century Guildhall building which remains to
this day, is a well preserved vaulted undercroft
believed to be the remains of a merchant house with the
undercroft being used as a store for merchandise and
also at some time as a mortuary for drowned sailors. The
village sign of Blakeney shows a fiddler and his dog and
the story goes that this fiddler went to explore a
mysterious tunnel that started in this 14th century
Guildhall. According to legend the fiddler entered the
tunnel playing his fiddle with his little dog and both
were never seen again. A similar tale to the
fiddler and his dog in the village of Binham.
Rumour and counter rumour abound as to the presence or
otherwise of this tunnel.
In 1924 a Mr. Archie Bedwell and his boss were working
for a Mr. William Starling on Mariners Hill close to the
Guildhall, they dug down some 12 feet into the hill and
came upon the barrel roof of a tunnel.
Unfortunately they did not have time to investigate and
covered it over again.
Another tunnel of which there is proof was the one in
Little Lane. In the turn of the 20th century the
principal ship owners were Page and Turner who lived on
either side of Little Lane, they had a tunnel dug to
connect their two properties, for what reason it is not
known. The legendary Black Shuck is also said to
haunt Little Lane along with s a ghostly wagon and
horses. The marshes are said to by hytersprites,
long legged spidery creatures. Many of the stories
were probably invoked to keep people in doors youngsters
in at night and strangers off the marshes, no doubt by
smugglers and others not keen t have their nocturnal
activities publicised.t was used a s a store for his
The famous old Crown and Anchor Inn and one time reputed
haunt of smugglers was demolished in 1921 to make way
for the Blakeney Hotel, here to there were rumours of
tunnels being found. The inn was affectionately
known as the Barking Dickey the word Dickey being an old
Norfolk name for donkey.
Lastly in the 1970s in the local Eastern Daily Press
newspaper there was a report of a tunnel being exposed
in the White Horse yard so the argument is kept
alive that the village is honeycombed with old smugglers