A secret room has been discovered in Byfleet Manor, one of the buildings used to film the epic ITV period drama, Downton Abbey.
According to getsurrey.com, the owners of the estate, which features as the home of Violet Crawley Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith, had no idea that the room, which was discovered between floors when a new telephone line was being installed, was there, or what it had been previously used for.
The discovery at Byfleet Manor, in Mill Lane, Byfleet, was made by Dave Harris – the marketing director for Orchard ICT, after lifting floorboards to enable the line to be installed.
Discussing the discovery, the Manor’s owner for the last 12 years Julie Hutton explained:
“He lifted the floorboards out and I heard a shout as he nearly fell in,” she said. “We were all really surprised.”
The secret room found in the Manor House, originally built in 1886, is approximately 7ft square in size and has no doors and only one bricked up window, but is spookily fully wallpapered!
According to Ms Hutton, the exact location of the room is impossible to pinpoint as there is no sign of it from the outside of the house:
“With a house like this and the age and its history you constantly come across odd things which are unexplained,” she said.
“The room is there and it will always be there and we will try and find out exactly where it is and exactly what is was.
“I do everything I can to be sympathetic to the character of the house but I would like to get the wallpaper in the secret room dated to see if we can discover its original use.”
Whilst the purpose of the room is still unknown, and after research has been confirmed as having never been documented, it has left a few clues to investigate consisting of some old tiles, thought by Ms Hutton to be Chertsey tile, and an inky blue glass bottle.
“I have no idea where the bottle came from but it looks very old, it was just laid on its side,” Ms Hutton commented.
“There are still all these questions that we cannot really answer.”
Byfleet Manor is listed in the Domesday Book and has had a palace on the site since the 13th century.