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Mysterious Rabbit Holes Lead to 7oo-year-old 'Knights Templar' Cave Network

Medieval History | March 13, 2017

A series of rabbit holes, on the estate of a historic English domain in Shropshire, England, which are speculated to lead into a network of a possible 700-year-old secret Knights Templar cave.

The grotto is actually cut from an ancient red sandstone quarry. Although, the entrance is like a series of primitive rabbit holes, the interior caverns are composed of a sequence of man-made neo-Norman or Romanesque channel and chambers, some are even very small that in order to enter, one should be down on hands and knees.

Within are carved archways, fascinating pillars and niches made for candles. Still, it can’t be confirmed if the caverns were related to the Knights Templar, but according to the site owners, these were notably overrun by magic cults way back the 1980s. Oftentimes, these were also used for informal secret ceremonies and other sacrificial rituals (because a “sacrificial stone” was noted).

The caves are found on the private property of Caynton Hall, which is about 250 meters west of the main house, and beneath a farmer’s field. Caynton Hall was constructed as a gentleman’s house during late 18th or early 19th century by a person named William Yonge (1775-1803) who supposedly made his fortune in the United States.

Based on historical records, the estate was believed to have been built on the site of a farmhouse called Dennetts Hays. Caynton Hall was then altered during 1850s by a Colonel Legge, and again later in the 1960s prior to the estate being divided into three parts in the year 1977. Still listed on RightMove for £895,000, the garden house had been up for sale since 2014.

This somewhat official-looking heritage spot estimates the grotto could have been created between 1800 to 1850. A less adventurous theory, though it suggests that the caverns are the outcome of quarrying during the 19th century and turned later into a grotto by the affluent Legge family as a folly.

With the grotto’s close affinity to a temple, it’s been firmly speculated that the caverns might be older, and were just carved out by followers of the ancient Knights Templars, a medieval religious organization, as a place where worshipping is allowed without being persecuted.

One of the more imaginative local innuendo is that a landowner hid many slaves at a time when slavery became illegal. The rumor claims he may have hidden as many as 60 slaves down there. The cave’s primary purpose and also the date of construction continues to be a debate.

Following a series of troubling incidents, passage to these caverns have been prohibited to the public since 2012. Frequent vandalism was one of the reason for this and the property owners are also bothered by the presence of those unwelcome intruders conducting black magic or who are having pagan ceremonies in the caves.

Dominic Wass, a freehand aerosol artist with the work name ‘Sketch86’, once set up a workshop on this area of Craynton Hall and seems to be the cave’s unofficial gatekeeper. Dominic said that in the past, if the visitors asked permission and explained their intention in coming and “we were happy with it, and if they tidied up afterwards”, those people were occasionally invited during special occasions such as Halloween.

Unfortunately, the younger trespassers who are often less respectful, have repeatedly invaded the temple and turned it into somewhat of a drinking den, worst of all, leaving empty bottles of alcohol littering the grounds.

Although wrought iron gates have been installed over the small rabbit hole entrances, the obnoxious intruders have removed them several times. A Birmingham-based photographer named Michael Scott of Caters News Agency, was able to search and access the caves after seeing a video of the site online. His published pictures have been extensively shared, which gave the impression that these caverns have reopened, thus attracted more visitors.

For those curiously asking, this cave network is on private property and is absolutely not open to the public. Many guard dogs roam the grounds, apart from the barbed wire and CCTV that has been installed as well.

H/T MessyNessyChic

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