Anorther reminder of the fourteenth century

By | Category: Travel destinations

When the time comes when we can domestically travel again what will appeal to you first?

The mediaeval cave discovered near Guildford. Image – Archaeology South East

Could it be a long walk in the country, a trip to the beach, a visit to a friendly tea room, café or restaurant just so that you can listen to the chatter of other people?

Perhaps you would opt for a castle tower so that you can look over the surrounding lands and see places that you haven’t been able to visit due to the lockdown. You might prefer a trip to one of our famed gardens or woods to see flowers that are in full bloom as opposed to the small shoots that you remembered seeing being the enforced stay-at-home rules.

In a few cases there will be new things to see, one of which has been unearthed by archaeologists working in conjunction with Network Rail.

As an aftermath of the heavy rains and floods (don’t they seem a very long time ago now?)  there was a landslip near Guildford in Surrey.

Whilst repairing and restoring the line, workers have come across a cave structure. Caves are nothing unusual but this one might be for archaeologists from archaeology South East believe that they could be mediaeval and date back six or seven hundred years.

Nearby is the fourteenth century chapel of St Catherine, and some academics are wondering whether the site has even earlier origins as a site of cult activity because its earlier name  was Drakehill – ‘Hill of the Dragon.’

Of course the fourteenth century was the time of what may have been the greatest pandemic the world has faced – the Black Death. Could it be fanciful to suggest that the cave was used during that time for some purpose?

Inside there is a gothic niche decorated in dots with a Calvery cross nearby. 

There are a total of around seven or eight further niches and experts found considerable evidence of writing and other markings across the cave ceiling. The cave is partially covered in deposits of black dust, which is believed to be soot from lamps. The remains of two suspected fire-pits were also uncovered in the cave floor.

The cave is being preserved so that, at some time when we can venture out of our homes without being asked why we are doing so, many of us could travel all the way to Guildford to look at a new tourism attraction.

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