Picture (c) by John Ashley Photography
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 voyage. 

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 merchandise

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 tunnels.
 Picture (c) by John Ashley Photography