Royston ‘Cave’ is an excavated space rather than a natural cave and has unkown origins. It is located in the centre of the market town of Royston, at the intersection of the former Ermine Street and Ickenfield Way. The cave is roughly circular in profile and unsupported, cut into the native chalk. It measures about 8metres in height with a diameter of roughly 5 metres. The walls are profusely covered in carvings of symbols and figures.
Some of the carvings are believd to be Christian Saints, and other symbols appear to be related to freemasonry. Some speculate the cave has connections with the Knights Templar, but the armour worn by some of the figures appears to post date the Templars. Other theories have the space as a monastic store (but why the carving?), a dungeon for prisoners or even a neolithic flint mine (most unlikely).
The cave was re-discovered in 1742 by a workman excavating on the surface. It rapidly became a tourist attraction, originally via a rope ladder but soon (1790) through a newly excavated passage which is still in use today. The caves are owned by the local council and is regularly open for visits, guided by local volunteers.
Royston Cave could be viewed as Subterranea Britannica’s spiritual home as our founder Sylvia Beamon has done much research on the site and published books on its history and features. The cave is both a scheduled monument and listed Grade I.