Royston Cave is located in Royston, Hertfordshire, 42 miles North of London, situated at the junction of the A10 and A505 and but for its accidental discovery could have remained a hidden treasure in the real meaning of the term.
It is one of the least know but most mysterious places in Great Britain and may even hold the secret to the whereabouts of the Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar. The cave was discovered by accident beneath Melbourn Street, in 1742, when a workman was digging a hole in the Butter Market to build the foundation for a new bench for the patrons and traders of the town to use. He discovered a millstone beneath the surface and, on looking further he discovered, a vertical shaft leading deep down into the chalk face.
After the removal of a large amount of rubble a cave was revealed deep underground. All across the walls were the remains of religious and secular carvings. No one knows who was responsible for digging the cave or exactly when it was built but some of the carvings have been identified as being Medieval, others clearly are of the Crucifixion, St Catherine, St Christopher and St Lawrence.
Historians have visited the cave over the years and many theories have been suggested ranging from a Roman Sepulchre, a Hermitage and even a secret temple used by the Knights Templar during their regular visits to Royston.
The structure is ‘Beehive’ in shape with a small aperture at the top for ventilation; it is not formed by any natural erosion like most caverns underground and has clearly been made by man.
Other suggestions for its existence include a connection to James I, a Freemason, who was known to have a hunting lodge at Royston and some believe the cave was used for spiritual activity signifying the site is at the centre of two significant ley-lines.
Sadly, the soil and bits of bone and pottery discovered at the time the cave was excavated were discarded as being ‘worthless’ as the people of the time were looking for buried treasure. If more care had been taken to preserve the contents of the cave we would know more about its origin today.
In 2010 it was discovered that the cave was being attacked by worm life attracted to the damp and wet conditions and elements of the chalk rock thus placing the carvings on the walls at great risk. It was decided to bring in specialists to deal with the worm population and reduce the numbers. Gas and biocides were not a good option so they laboriously dugout the soil and debris, especially around the walls near to the carvings.
In 2014 it was declared a success. The worm population had been brought under control and the threat had been removed.
The cave is owned by the Town Council and opened for public visits by the Royston and District History Society. It has restricted access due to the terrain and is not suitable for all visitors.
Paranormal investigators visiting the cave have claimed they have experienced things such as seeing Orbs, hearing screams and experiencing the ‘feeling’ of being watched. Other visitors have claimed to have perceived visions of human sacrifice, a figure hanging from the roof of the cave and some have had feelings of terror that they can’t explain.
Royston Cave has long been associated with tales of treasure. It is historical fact that on Friday, 13 October 1307, the King of France Philip IV together with Pope Clement V ordered that all Knights Templar be arrested and tried for heresy. This was probably a plot on the part of the French King to erase his debts and secure for himself a portion of the vast treasure accumulated by the Knights. However, witnesses claim that the evening before the great persecution a fleet of Templar ships left the harbour at La Rochelle and headed towards England – perhaps Scotland. They were never seen again and neither was the Templar treasure. Some researchers believe that the cave at Royston was a form of treasure map instructing future knights where to locate the hidden wealth when times were once again safer for their order.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
19 Cabbage Moor (Rd), Great Shelford
Cambridgeshire, England, CB22 5NB
+44 (0)1223 841 185
- Address: 8 Melbourn St, Royston, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom, SG8 7BZ
- GPS: 52.04821111,-0.023441667
- Phone: 0044 (0)1763 246 367
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: SG8 7BZ
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: Very Limited
- Visibility from Road: None
- Image Credits: Header Image: Cruccone