Beneath Our Feet

The idea for this project arose from a discussion in a pub (in the way that ideas sometimes manifest themselves) with the idea of trying to determine what lies, literally, beneath our feet...

Partly due to its historical connection with Henry VIII's Oatlands Palace, there are innumerable tales of 'tunnels' connecting to Hampton Court or even Westminster. Ideas like these are almost certainly pure myth but there certainly are man-made structures beneath the village - be they drains, culverts, sewers or something equally mundane. We certainly know of one blocked-off 'tunnel' that almost certainly pre-dates the village and we have a couple of un-investigated reports of people falling into brick-lined structures when the ground above was disturbed by the bombing during WWII - one from a known reliable source.

This project will aim to try and identify as many of these as possible and investigate anything that cannot be 'pinned down' from the historical record.

In these days of main drains and piped water it is easy to forget that, when Oatlands was born as a village, most of the sewerage would have been cess-pit and most of the water would have come from wells - the two often being in rather too close a proximity to each other for good health!

If you have what you think may be a 'capped well' in your garden, or an area where the soil is noticeably different them please contact us. If you have any information or specialist knowledge relating to water or drainage systems or other classes of 'things subterranean' and would be willing to devote some time to this research, then we'd love to hear from you - just use the contact form.