Leeds nostalgia: Tales of secret tunnels from Old Bramley

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Following on from last week’s brief foray into the history of Bramley (before the demolition of the old town), more this week from the fascinating pages of ‘The Lands of Bram’, a pamphlet published under the direction of E T Carr, which although it has no date seems to be from some time between 1937 and the 1970s.

There are many wonderful tales to be got from this thin pamphlet, including diary entries made by its residents, one of which, dated Nov 16, 1808, penned by Joseph Rogerson, a miller, reads: “We have had the Mayor of Leeds and Mr Gott at our house respecting Rebecca Perigo, the wife of W M Perigo, who without doubt died by poison administered to her in a pudding by Mary Bateman, of Leeds.”

His diary entries also take in war being declared in England by the US in 1812 and the Golden Jubilee of King George III on October 25, 1809.

However, one of the most interesting passages relates to Bramley Old Hall, which by all accounts was on Town Street. It seems to have been in good repair at least up to the start of the 20th Century but afterward fell into ruin. There is mention that the building, or perhaps one which stood before it, belonged to the Abbot of Kirkstall Abbey and that a tunnel connected the two.

The pamphlet tantalisingly states: “It is said even to this day a well defined subterranean passage... led direct to the Abbey...” It goes on: “Who knows what relics of the good old times, when the Abbots of Kirkstall reigned, are lying hidden in that passage from the Old Hall to the Abbey. Each attempt so far to explore it has been foiled by the foul air and poisonous gases from below and is it doubtful whether the mystery of Bramley Old Hall will ever be solved.”

If you can shed further light upon it, please get in touch.