An underground passage used to exist under a road in the village of Toller Porcorum, near Dorchester.

Tales of bygone Toller were confirmed when an underground passage between the old vicarage and the Old Swan Inn across the road was discovered during building work in 1975.

Dorset Echo:

The Swan Inn in Toller Porcorum

Hook man Ted Bugler, formerly of Bugler Builders, was working on the project to turn the old stables, the original vicarage, into a holiday cottage.

He said: "It was only when we were excavating to put new floors in that we discovered it.

"We found a tunnel, partly collapsed |further in, that almost certainly led to the pub opposite - we could see it went quite a long way along.

"It had an arched top and proper walls.

"The owner didn't want anything to do with it, so we just had to carry on with the work."

Dorset Echo:

Toller Porcorum

He added that local farmer Peter Billen, 70, remembered when horses and carts passed between the old vicarage buildings and the inn and their metal-rimmed wheels made a definite hollow sound over that part of the road.

It is thought that the secret passage was built to conceal smuggled goods sometime before the original Old Swan Inn burnt down in 1903.

Mr Bugler said: "It must have had alcohol connotations to lead from the vicarage to the pub.

"The clergy were heavily involved in smuggling in those days and it was probably rum or something like that."