Caynton Cave(s)

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Harrison Jones

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I paid a visit to Caynton Caves (plural?) on the weekend, and thought I'd share some pictures that I took.

Sorry for the poor quality - my prep was bad and it's pitch black in there.

History:

Caynton Cave is a historical man-made cave that lies with the private grounds of the nearby Caynton Hall in the Shropshire countryside.

There are conflicting rumours regarding the origins of the cave, with some stating that it's an ancient Templar Cave, which was made for secret prayer. Other state that it's a grotto, built by slaves of the Legge family in the mid-19th century.

There is no way of really knowing the history, although there was an article about a man who found a "templar sword" in the cave more than 30 years ago (article here).

The explore:

This was my first explore on private property, but after scouting out the site on Google and seeing media from others that had visited, I decided that it was something I needed to see. My first thought was to just ask the owners of the hall, but I could not for the life of me find out who they actually are.

Sure, I could have knocked on the door; but this was not a short drive and rejection would have seen my plans stopped for the day in all liklihood.

I've also seen how they've put out numerous press pieces designed to put people off visiting, and how they've made some efforts to stop people; I decided that it would likely be rejected anyway.

I do feel like sites of potential historical significance like this, should have a route for requesting public access.

Anyway, it's pretty dark in there and I did not come fully prepared, so forgot my tea lights and all of the ones there were spent. If I visit again, I'll clean up the place because there are tealights everywhere.

The pictures (yes, there is a photograph of somebody down there. He was named but it's not shown in the photo so I think it's ok):
 

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Harrison Jones

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Oh and here's a bonus video. Not very long or informative, but you can't see my chisled features in this one - just the caves' instead - and you do get an impression of the size.
 

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Hayman

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"
There are conflicting rumours regarding the origins of the cave, with some stating that it's an ancient Templar Cave, which was made for secret prayer. Other state that it's a grotto, built by slaves of the Legge family in the mid-19th century."

Slaves in the UK in the 1850s? Maybe they captured some marauding Welsh cattle thieves and set them to work on it. Then, maybe not.
 

BikinGlynn

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"


Slaves in the UK in the 1850s? Maybe they captured some marauding Welsh cattle thieves and set them to work on it. Then, maybe not.
Highly likely, lets face it people still get away with it today!
 

Harrison Jones

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Slaves in the UK in the 1850s? Maybe they captured some marauding Welsh cattle thieves and set them to work on it. Then, maybe not.

Yeah, the caves are near an old quarry and I don't think the Legge family were working that themselves. Apparently the caves were built to hide the slaves, if the rumours are true.

Personally, I just want someone from a body like The National Trust to examine the caves for their origin; and if something significant is found, have them preserved and make open to the public.
 

BikinGlynn

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Yeah, the caves are near an old quarry and I don't think the Legge family were working that themselves. Apparently the caves were built to hide the slaves, if the rumours are true.

Personally, I just want someone from a body like The National Trust to examine the caves for their origin; and if something significant is found, have them preserved and make open to the public.

Its terrible really these have been allowed to get trashed, there is so much "etching" in the sandstone now its hard to know what was original & what is new.
Someone did clean out the rubbish recently I believe which is something I wished Id done on last visit tbh
 

Sarahsper

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Oh and here's a bonus video. Not very long or informative, but you can't see my chisled features in this one - just the caves' instead - and you do get an impression of the size.
The etchings engraved above the archway look like witch Marks, apotropaic symbols, if recognised then it may be able to be protected as an ancient monument.
 

Hayman

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In 1850 most likely, Brum is only a stones throw from there, if you dont believe modern day slavery goes on there now you are deluded.

After what I was told by US Air Force personnel delivering food aid to Mauritania in 1974, I am certainly not deluded about "modern day slavery". But just what sort of slaves would have dug Caynton Cave? Near Beckbury, it is some 30 miles from Birmingham. In the middle of open countryside, no nearby railway, a ten hour walk to Brum. A long stone's throw.
 

BikinGlynn

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After what I was told by US Air Force personnel delivering food aid to Mauritania in 1974, I am certainly not deluded about "modern day slavery". But just what sort of slaves would have dug Caynton Cave? Near Beckbury, it is some 30 miles from Birmingham. In the middle of open countryside, no nearby railway, a ten hour walk to Brum. A long stone's throw.

True but in 1850 its highly possible the estate itself had "slaves" working there, & thats if they were dug then they could be much older.
Very strange place whoever did em
 

Hayman

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True but in 1850 its highly possible the estate itself had "slaves" working there, & thats if they were dug then they could be much older.
Very strange place whoever did em
And the National Coal Board had hundreds of thousands of slaves digging tunnels all around the UK! That meant anyone who used coal - from British Railways to all the gasworks to Mrs Brown who used it to heat her home - was benefiting from slave labour. Even my mum.
 
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woody_woodwood

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And the National Coal Board had hundreds of thousands of slaves digging tunnels all around the UK! That meant anyone who used coal - from British Railways to all the gasworks to Mrs Brown who used it to heat her home - was benefiting from slave labour. Even my mum.
The National Coal Board wasn't formed until 1947. In the 1800's mines were all privately owned, and slavery was abolished in 1833. Prior to that the majority of slaves in the UK were homegrown, literally.
 

Hayman

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The National coal board never used slaves I have never heard such beeeeeep you need to re read your history of mining
My line about the NCB having “hundreds of thousands of slaves digging tunnels all around the UK!” was to point out the absurdness of the suggestion that the caves were dug by slaves. But the NCB miners were tied to the closed shop and NUM or NACODS membership. Hence my saying anyone who burnt coal was contributing to 'slavery' of one sort or another, just as today anyone with ancestors even remotely connected to the tobacco, sugar or cotton industries is supposedly guilty of all manner of crimes.

I know "The National Coal Board wasn't formed until 1947." Yet many NCB employees worked in conditions much worse than whoever dug the caves: miners contracted pneumoconiosis or black lung, and there were daily risks of underground explosions, flooding, electric shock. And the NCB was formed under a Labour government; Labour, the workers’ party. Weren’t the coal miners ‘wage slaves’? Isn’t every wage earner?

And what is ‘slavery’? Is conscription slavery? Did slaves fight in the British armed forces in both World Wars? Were the National Servicemen in my billet in the 1950s and 1960s ‘slaves’? In England, the remnants of serfdom had largely died out by 1500, so who were the wildly imagined slaves who supposedly dug the cave(s) 200 or 300 years later? As we know, the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act was brought in to stop slavery in other parts of the world, not in the UK.
 

night crawler

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You could be right about coal have you heard of the Truck Act the saying "I'll have no truck with you" comes from that. In effect the miners and most workmen were tied to the company and had to purchase goods at inflated prices till the act came out. Basicly slaves to the company's
 

Hayman

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You could be right about coal have you heard of the Truck Act the saying "I'll have no truck with you" comes from that. In effect the miners and most workmen were tied to the company and had to purchase goods at inflated prices till the act came out. Basicly slaves to the company's
Yes, I was aware of the Truck Acts (plural). The Acts were passed in 1831(two years before the Abolition of Slavery Act), 1887 and 1896. Incidentally, The Payment of Wages Act of 1960 repealed certain sections of the Truck Acts to permit payment of wages by cheque. Now wages are paid by electronic transfer.

While it could be said workers were tied to the company employing them, bulk purchase of goods and selling them from one shop could bring down their prices; that was one of the principles behind the CWS, the Co-operative Wholesale Society department stores. And the biggest group of Co-op customers was the working class housewives.

While many small privately-run shops would have given workers greater choice, that would not necessarily mean prices cheaper than “the company store”. And ‘supply chains’ from the Middle Ages right up to the establishment of the UK railway network were tenuous.
 

night crawler

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Yes, I was aware of the Truck Acts (plural). The Acts were passed in 1831(two years before the Abolition of Slavery Act), 1887 and 1896. Incidentally, The Payment of Wages Act of 1960 repealed certain sections of the Truck Acts to permit payment of wages by cheque. Now wages are paid by electronic transfer.

While it could be said workers were tied to the company employing them, bulk purchase of goods and selling them from one shop could bring down their prices; that was one of the principles behind the CWS, the Co-operative Wholesale Society department stores. And the biggest group of Co-op customers was the working class housewives.

While many small privately-run shops would have given workers greater choice, that would not necessarily mean prices cheaper than “the company store”. And ‘supply chains’ from the Middle Ages right up to the establishment of the UK railway network were tenuous.
I think one of the reasons also for the act was because some companies paid their workers with tokens meaning they could only use them in their shops, I could be wrong but that is what I heard
 

Hayman

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I think one of the reasons also for the act was because some companies paid their workers with tokens meaning they could only use them in their shops, I could be wrong but that is what I heard
From what I have read, part of the pay was in tokens, part in cash. Whether that was to tie the workers into using only the company shop/s, or to do away with the need for having unnecessary amounts of cash that needed to be kept secure and accounted for is akin to the “terrorist or freedom fighter” argument.

I had jobs where part of my wages went direct to the person providing my accommodation; at one I was paid £5 a week, but I only got £1∙50p (actually £1 - 10s) in cash.

When I was in the army, there was what was called the PRI Fund. A small sum was taken each week and paid into an account to be used for the general benefit of the unit. Any soldier could object to the deductions, but he would then not be eligible to attend free any event paid for by the fund. That could have been seen as akin to the token system.

Automatic deductions from workers’ pay for union subs – especially in closed-shop factories, mines etc – is/was along the lines of payment by tokens. When I worked in Australia – actually on the survey for a diamond mine – union membership was assumed, if not compulsory.
 

night crawler

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I had jobs where part of my wages went direct to the person providing my accommodation; at one I was paid £5 a week, but I only got £1∙50p (actually £1 - 10s) in cash.
Some is showing their age here, Thought I was one of the few who remember being paid in £,s & p :D
 

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