Chichester's secret tunnels mystery: Shop owner shares his curious find

A Chichester business owner has spoken about a tunnel that runs from under his shop.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 4:45 pm

In this week's edition of the Chichester Observer, 82-year-old Maureen Williams told a story about a trip she made into 'dark' and 'miserable' tunnels near the Crypt on South Street.

The article received huge interest with many readers sharing their own stories about the underground passageways.

You can read it here: Mystery of Chichester's 'secret tunnels' continues as woman's tale leaves investigators intriguedA number of those readers remembered a story about tunnels underneath Hansford Menswear, also in South Street, so we spoke the shop's owner to find out more.

The Market Cross as seen from South Street. Picture by Kate Shemilt

Matthew Hansford described a blocked-off passage in cellar of the shop, which he believes may have led to the cathedral.

In the 1970s the passageway was open and was once used by burglars who used the route to break-in to the shop and make off with a number of sheepskin coats.

Matthew said: "I think [the burglary] was before I was here, in the 70s, but the tunnel has been breeze-blocked up now. It is probably as much hearsay as anything else but as far as I know it was built to link the cathedral to the shop.

"The shop used to house the vicars and people who worked at the cathedral but I haven't been down there because it is breeze-blocked up.

The area covered by breeze blocks shows where the tunnel used to run from

"All I have been told is that originally the priests, or whoever, used to go underground but I'm not sure if there is just one tunnel or several."

Amateur investigators are also looking into the reported tunnels which are different the river Lavant culverts.

If you have any information about possible tunnels under the city, get in touch: [email protected]