The end result of the information I gleaned is woven into my story, but I’d like to share some other interesting facts about these not-so-famous caves:
· The earliest written record of Nottingham’s caves comes from a Welsh monk called Asser who when writing about Nottingham in 868 referred to the town as Tig Guocobauc, meaning house or place of caves in British.
· Nottingham has more man-made caves than anywhere else in Britain.
· The exposed cliff of the sandstone outcrop made this an obvious place for the early citizens of Nottingham to make their home. The occupants of these cave houses were generally poor and the caves were known as pauper holes.
· Each cave is unique and created for a specific purpose; some even have elaborate carvings, pillars and staircases.
· The softness of Nottingham’s sandstone makes it easy to excavate with hand tools, and the structural stability means that excavated caves are safe to use, even with buildings above them.
· Throughout the medieval period Nottingham continued to grow and prosper becoming a centre for trades such as wool manufacture, tanning, malting, alabaster carving and pottery production. A number of these activities were undertaken in Nottingham’s caves.
· Sandstone caves maintain a constant temperature of around 14 degrees Celsius/ 57.2 Fahrenheit and therefore made excellent cellars for the storage of ale.
· At the start of the Second World War new caves were excavated and old ones reused to act as Air Raid shelters.
Believe it or not, few people in Nottingham are aware of this labyrinth, and fewer still have visited them. Unfortunately, in these modern times, a significant number of caves have been filled in with cement or bricked up, with others disappearing through natural collapse. There’s a special project underway called the Nottingham Caves Survey which hopes to survey and document all the caves under Nottingham, and bring awareness to this unique historical resource. I invite you to take a virtual tour if you dare: http://nottinghamcavessurvey.org.uk/And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win all of the fabulous prizes mentioned in the Rafflecopter below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway