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Thread: Royston Cave: what was its origin and function?

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    Royston Cave: what was its origin and function?

    I noticed Skadi didn't have a Royston Cave thread yet, much to my surprise. If you've never heard of the find, I suggest reading up on it as it is an engrossing mystery.

    In 1742 a cave complex with numerous crude medieval carvings was discovered in Royston, England. Some of the carvings may be as old as the 13th century and as young as the 16th or 17th centuries, as pottery of that era was likely discovered during the clearing of the cave; at least it would indicate human activity in the cave system as late as the 1500s/1600s. It is assumed that several different unskilled artists from various generations are responsible for the artwork.

    The carvings themselves are enigmatic and remain unexplained. So far not a single theory has been advanced that would sufficiently explain the purpose of the cave. But, unsurprisingly, independent researchers and enthusiasts alike link the cave to the Knights templar, even though it's just guesswork. It has also been pointed out that Catholic imagery and several saints are present on the cave's walls; the work of Augustinian monks of the local priory?

    The high strangeness of these depictions leave much room for speculation: are they alchemist/gnostic/heretical in nature? And is that why the person(s) responsible for them went literally underground to create these carvings? Is the cave in fact a cult place? Do the Freemasons or Knights Templar have anything to do with the cave? Or a renegade medieval guild?

    There's no shortage of theories and people have been looking in the direction of the Anglosaxons too, even though it's unlikely they had anything to do with the cave.

    Perhaps I'm missing something but the meaning of the reoccuring "heart in/on hand" symbolism and its relation to the Holy Spirit (the dove) eludes me. Figure 4 seems androgynous (a woman without breasts?) - and what is figure 14 all about? Who are these ten people and why do two of them carry heart symbols on their chest and one a cross?

    Figure 7 strikes me with my modern eyes as ghostly, but who knows? Figure 15 makes no sense to me. A lot of people executed by hanging in this one:

    Another plate from Joseph Beldam's book The Origins and Use of the Royston Cave, 1884, showing the shape and floor plan of the cave:

    "Our country is ourselves. It is our villages, our altars, our graves, all that our fathers loved before us. Our country is our Faith, our land, our King. . . But their country — what is it? Do you understand? Do you? . . . They have it in their brains; we have it under our feet. . ." - François-Athanase Charette

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    There is also the equally mysterious shell grotto at Margate. It was discovered in the early 19th century but no one knows when it was built or by who. Unfortunately this has happened:

    In 1933, the then new owner took over the grotto, and soon afterwards substituted electric lighting for the gas lighting that, over the decades, had blackened the once-colourful shells. Cleaning trials show that in the majority of the grotto the shells
    have lost their colour under the dirt and are white.

    The link below has photographs of the shells as well as one image of what they looked like before losing their color.

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