Harvington Hall
Harvington Hall
Harvington Hall

36 Hours in a Priest Hide

In November 2021, Hall manager Phil was locked inside one of the Hall’s seven priest hides, for a gruelling 36 hours!

You may be thinking to yourself, why?

Well, as a charity, and with a significant reduce of income during the pandemic, he took it upon himself to help fundraise in the most unusual way. Phil’s greatest passion is Harvington and when he realised extra funds were needed for the bridge repairs the decision was made

As a moated house it is important that our bridges are in good order, not only to give visitors access but to enable emergency onto the island. It will also give us the opportunity to utilise our gardens, enabling us to hold more outdoor events.

Probably choosing the coldest time of the year, Phil was locked in the pitch black along with a blanket, a loaf of bread, water, an apple and a piss pot for company, trying to replicate real life as it was in the late 16th, early 17th Century.

Phil said “what better way to understand history by putting yourself in a situation and experiencing it for yourself”

The hiding place is Harvington’s most well-known hide, a hide that wasn’t rediscovered until 1894!  A young boy was playing in a book cupboard next to the hide, when he put his hand on the wall part of it collapsed, revealing a secret room that was 8ft long, 3ft wide and 5ft high.

During Phil’s 36hrs he regularly lived streamed his experience on social media, during one of these videos, unbeknown to him, volunteers of the Hall recreated a priest hunt. A truly terrifying and atmospheric experience can still be seen on Social Media and our YouTube Channel. 

Phil is no stranger to hiding out in our priest hides, he spent 24 hours back in 2017 under the stairs, to help raise money for the wall paintings in the Marble Room. Phil raised a great amount of awareness first time round, even getting a donation from TV historian Lucy Worsley.

Up to the time of Phil completing the challenge he had raised £7,500.

You can still donate to this worthy cause by clicking the ‘donate’ button below.

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