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at Ufton Court: The House of Hideaways
- Francis Perkins family inherited
Ufton Court his their aunt, Lady
Marvyn. The Perkins family lived there for 200 years.
They were well-known Roman Catholics. They had to pay lots of fines to the government because they wouldn't go to services in a Church of England church.
They needed Catholic priests to say mass for them, but they were banned from the Country. They had to visit in secret. If they were caught, they would be executed.
So Ufton Court had lots of 'priest-holes'. These were tidy secret rooms and cupboards to hide priests and their priestly clothes and equipment in.
The Perkins family were twice betrayed by servants. Soldiers raided the house looking for priests, but they never find any.
In 1599, the local magistrate, Sir Francis
Knollys Junior, had led a group of soldiers to Ufton Court.
Francis Perkins was away. He had rented out the house to pay his fines. His cousin, Thomas, showed Sir Francis round.
The soldiers broke down doors and found a secret chapel and a priest hole in the floor. They discovered two chests there filled with gold and church plate.
They confiscated the lot and marched off to Aldermaston with it. Luckily, the Perkins family seem to have escape without further punishment.
What happened next at Ufton Court?