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THE LOST CAVES OF MENDIP

An overview by Dave Irwin

It has been sometime since anyone has published a review of the lost caves of Mendip - that is, in my definition, sites that have been recorded in the past but whose location is now unknown.  Some sites are well known because of their inclusion in the commonly used references such as guide books, but others are new to caving publications, details of them only recently coming to light as a result of researching early documents and publications.  It is worth noting that records relating to some of these sites deserve a more detailed examination in the hope that the odd fact might just give that lead necessary to 'home in' on the entrance location.

There has been surprisingly little written on the subject, most seemingly contented to accept what has been published, mainly writings associated with Balch.  The only other person to write on the subject was Howard Kenney of the WCC. (note 1) His coverage of the topic was superficial and fearing to upset Balch failed to analyse the topic any further than that taken by him.  John Beaumont in his letters to the Royal Society during 1676 and 1681 said that he knew of many caves, excepting Wookey Hole, on Mendip but the largest of them all was to be found on Lamb Hill. (note 2)

Our Miners in digging daily meet with these Caverns, which are of different widenesses, some of them being very large, but the most considerable Vault I have known on Mendipp hills is on the most Northerly part of them, in a hill call'd Lamb, lying above the Parish of Harptry ...

Only five of the lost caves are truly legendary: Maskall's Wood Cave which is said to lie in the wooded area between Cheddar and Draycott; Elborough Cave near Banwell, Rickford Lost Cave and the lost caves in Burrington Combe and Ebbor Gorge.  As far as I am aware there is no written evidence that these legendary caves ever existed, only reports based on local 'hearsay'.

Tales, which are related to the 'shaggy dog' stories that suggest that Cheddar caves are connected to Wookey Hole, or Ebbor Gorge to Wookey Hole, are not discussed in this article.

When the author commenced this paper it was thought that there were a dozen or so sites that came within the definition set above - however, surprise, surprise the number almost trebled!

Burrington Combe and neighbourhood

Blagdon Fissure

A bone fissure excavated in 1872 and located (note 3)

‘ ... near the top of Blackdown ridge, above the village of Blagdon .... '

Miners, searching for iron ore, accidentally broke into the fissure at a depth of 40ft.  Pleistocene bones were removed from the site but the entrance has since become blocked and its exact location is now unknown.  E.K. Tratman of the UBSS searched for it but was unsuccessful. (note 4)  Shaw suggests that it may be one of the fissures in Swancombe Wood and Morecombe Wood. (note 5)  References to the archaeological finds are given in the UBSS Proceedings for 1953-54, 1964 and 1988. (note 6,7,8)  The site is also mentioned in BSA Caves and Caving. (note 9)

Burrington Hole

Previously listed as an unidentified BEC dig during 1945 - 1946.  Now shown to be Lionel's Hole, Burrington Combe.

Snogging Pot

The earliest reference to this site may be an entry in the BEC log for the 31 st March 1946  (note 10) and was simply recorded by R.A. Crocker as 'Burrington Hole 2'.  At this time Crocker, D. Howell and Chas Lloyd made' ... a strenuous attempt on the large boulder blocking the way ahead .... '  The only other reference to this site is to be found in the same caving logbook and the visit dated 11th May 1946.  Don Coase made the following entry:

A trip to Swancombe  (note 11) for survey followed by a [?] to Burrington.  Snogging Pot was examined also the U.B.S.S. Dig.  D.A. Coase & THS examined entrance to East Twin Swallet. ...

UBSS Burrington digs at this time were scattered around the Burrington and Charterhouse area.  They included Bath Swallet and Plumley's Hole so little help from the location of these sites.  A further dig was made later in the summer.  The log entry by Don Coase is headed 'Burrington Hole, Snogging Pot, Sidcot Swallet & the Tunnel in W. Twin Valley.  Sun. 18th Aug 46' .

... The Snogging Hole was inspected.  Hasell getting stuck & after various manoeuvres he retreated. Coase & Pain went down & came straight out with emphatic ideas of what to do with the 'ole ....

Harry Stanbury, the founder member of the BEC in 1935, is sure that Snogging Hole was named after H.S. 'Snogger' Hawkins, a post-war club member who was known to be a misogynist!

Guy Hole

An unpublished manuscript housed in the county archives at Taunton by John Strachey, c.1736, tells of a cave lying below the fortifications at Dolebury near Burrington Combe.  He wrote: (note 12)

... under this fortification is an hole or Cave called Guy Hole, altogether as remarkable as that at Woky but the former being near a City & this remote from any place of Entertainment is not often visited by Travellers ...

A discussion, with extracts of Strachey's work, was published in 1987 and shows that Guy Hole was known to him as early as c.1720. (note 13)  It is difficult to place this site but in the view of the author it is likely to be Goatchurch, for it lies below the Dolebury fortification, i.e. at a lower level, and travelling up the West Twin Brook valley would have been the most direct approach to Dolebury itself.  Further it was compared with that of Wookey - and not unfairly for the entrance passage with its stalagmite deposits and the immediate lower chambers which would appear quite large in poor light.  No other record of this cave has been found.

Further, Williams, in his discussion relating to the this site, and another known to Strachey as Goechurch, came to the conclusion that both names were alternatives for the same site, that which is known today as Goatchurch Cavern.

Dolebury Cavern

There was extensive mining activity on and around Dolebury; several mining sites and shafts may be seen close to the hillfort.  In 1830 the Reverend John Skinner recorded in his extensive diaries (note 14) details of a lead mine adit at Dolebury.  This site may subsequently have been called Dolebury Cavern.  Today the mined tunnel, half way up the valley from Rowberrow, is known as Dolebury Levvy.

Knight in Heart of Mendip records a deep mine shaft midway from the fort to the eastern end of the hill which he thinks was opened up for lead. (note 15)  He also outlined the horizontal gallery driven during the period 1829-1831 and infers that at the time of writing (1915) the entrance to it was blocked.  This is probably the same site referred to by Skinner, i.e. Dolebury Levvy.

A tiny cave was found, c.1975, on the hillside above the adit, whose very small entrance had been walled up.  This was explored by Chris Richards and the writer.  The total length of this site is barely 50ft and the floor is covered with thermoclastic scree.

Lost Cave of Churchill

There have been rumours of a lost cave at Churchill but the writer can find no evidence that such a cave existed, excepting those that lie on Dolebury itself.  There is a 20-30ft long cave in a little quarry at the rear of the houses that line the edge of the A38 at the Churchill cross- roads. This is known as Churchill Cave. (note 16) A small cave, whose entrance was once closed by an iron gate, was mined for brown ochre and pyrites about 1865. (note 17)

Lost cave of Burrington - 1: the 'famous' one!

The 'lost' cave of Burrington is a superb example of researchers relying solely on secondary sources thus perpetuating the errors.  However, Boon and Donovan, carried out independent research and arrived at the same conclusion.  The standard references commonly used for information relating to early cave discoveries are Balch and Knight.  In the case of the Burrington 'lost' cave these authors used Rutter as their principal source.  Several cavers have written about the lost caves of Mendip, notably C. Howard Kenney, in the 1950’s but most seemed to have spent more time in the field rather than inspecting the written evidence which changes the picture dramatically.

Rutter outlined the discovery of Aveline's Hole and then makes the, now well-known, statement: (note 18)

... About half a mile distant another of these curious places of sepulture was discovered, which was calculated to contain not less than one hundred skeletons; and higher up the Combe, not far from Goatchurch, is

AN EXTENSIVE AND INTRICATE CAVERN

but little known.  Its entrance on the side of the hill is small...

If one reads this note carefully it becomes clear that Rutter is not inferring that the other burial site is higher up the combe as assumed by Balch and others.  He is simply changing his subject matter and point of reference to another part of the combe called Goatchurch and the cave entrance that exists there - today known as Goatchurch Cavern.  Note the all important semicolon that divides the topics.

During their researches, Boon and Donovan located a copy of Seyer's Memoirs of Bristol  (note 19) which included an account of the discovery of Aveline's Hole and a reference to the source material is given.  The result of their research is reported in the 1954 UBSS Proceedings. (note 20)  An independent search for the 'lost cave' was carried out by Lennon of the Wessex CC and he arrived at the same conclusion quite unaware that the answer had been found some eight years previously. (note 21)

Lost cave of Burrington - 2: Axe-head Cave  (note 22)

Shortly after the discovery of Aveline's Hole in 1797, (note 23) not 1795 as stated below and in a number of other publications, (note 24) a second site some 50 yards away was explored and a bronze axe-head was found on one of the side ledges.  Reference to this site, now lost, was given in Mr. Urban's column  (note 25) in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1805. (note 26)


The instrument was found in a natural cavern, 28 feet below the surface, on a ledge in the rock at Burrington Coomb [sic], in Somersetshire, about five miles from Stanton Drew.

Within 50 yards of it, in 1795, was found in another cavern, 80 feet deep, an ancient catacomb or interment of the dead, consisting of near 50 perfect skeletons lying parallel to each other, some of whose bones were petrified.

It is of Corinthian brass, and weighs full 8 1/7 times its bulk in water, and I apprehend was an interment of war.

Yours, &tc. H.W.

This reference is of particular interest in two ways.  It records an unknown cave site and illustrates an important bronze tool. Who found this and where the instrument is currently stored is unknown.  The location of the cave clearly indicates it not being Aveline's Hole or Fairy Toot but another site that was probably located in the zones of the two quarries that were worked either side of the promontory in which Aveline's Hole is located.  One wonders why Aveline's was not quarried away - possibly a requirement placed upon it by the landowners of the day, Whalley and, later, Somers.  There are fragment caves in the immediate area such as Pseudo Aveline's - a small vertical feature at the top of the quarry face immediately east of Aveline's Hole entrance.  It is highly unlikely that Pseudo Aveline's is the 'lost' site as cave explorers of this period would not have penetrated such a small feature; their principal use of caves was for the purpose of discovering bone material which might be associated with the Diluvian ideas of the late 18th century. Further, it is not Plumley's Hole for this cave was not opened up until December 1874.

Lost cave of Burrington - 3: Mystery Cavern

In 1948 H.S. Hawkins published an extraordinary article on a new 'lost' cave of Burrington. (note 27)  Entitled 'New Mystery Cavern in Burrington Combe, Somerset', Hawkins claimed to have unearthed a previously unrecorded site, the details of which were embedded in a paper published by the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society in 1864.  The paper was written by William Boyd Dawkins entitled 'On the Caverns of Burrington Combe' (note 28) and in it Dawkins described the work carried out by W. Ayshford Sanford and himself at four Burrington caves, namely, Aveline's Hole, Foxes Hole, (note 29) Goatchurch Cavern, and Whitcombe's Hole. (note 30)  Hawkins wrote two papers dealing with the 'mysterious' elements of west Mendip caving and patently did not know that there were two Plumley caves in Burrington Combe. The upper, Foxes Hole [Plumley's Den] and the lower site, Plumley's Hole - the cave where poor Joseph Plumley met his untimely end. (note 31 32)

Hawkins failure to realise that there were two caves named Plumley created his illusion of a lost site and so his argument that Dawkins had used the name Plumley's Den, in error, for the upper cave which he, Hawkins, knew as Foxes Hole falls apart at the seams.  He further argued that Dawkins and Sanford's Plumley's Den could not be Foxes Hole for the latter had three chambers, whereas the site described in the SANHS paper had only two. There is a low extension off to the left of the first chamber, which undoubtedly Hawkins classifies as the third chamber. However, the Dawkins survey is an elevation, which shows the chambers in which he had excavated.

Lost cave of Burrington - 4

To the south (left) of The Link, leading to the Plain, lies a shallow valley.  In it a cave was said to have been opened and filled almost immediately.  It is thought that the information relating to the site came from the late E.K. Tratman. No other details are known.

Lost cave of Burrington - 5

In his well-known ' Swallet Caves ... " Balch in his delightfully vague manner discusses the probability that the famous lost cave of Burrington was not in the Combe but in the valleys.  However, his final thoughts on the matter related to a thirty foot deep hole - but is described without any definite point of reference.  However a clue is gained from the preceding paragraph where he explains that the lost cave of Burrington might be located in the Twin Brook valleys.  Balch wrote: (note 33,34)

There is a hole, however, on the other side of the Combe, in solid rock, with evidence of much wear by passing of feet, which might expand below its present depth of 30 ft., if some clearing were undertaken ....

If this assumption is right and that the 30ft deep cave is on 'the other side' then the hole could be one of two mined shafts  (note 35) that can be located east of Foxes Hole: Toad's Hole and Lizard Hole.  Both of these are 'opposite' the East Twin Brook valley. J. Harry Savory, in 1911, also refers to a site opposite Ellick Wood. (note 36)

It is three quarters way up cliff opposite Ellick Wood just above S curve above E. Brooklet.  It shows a bush of yew and some bare rocks from the road.  After zigzagging up to it over loose surface scree we found it to be a vertical drop slightly inclining in to the cliff, avo 5-6 ft diameter all the way down, silted up at the bottom, resembles Plumley's Den but larger, 30 ft deep shown by reflected sunlight, shows promise of further galleries from one or two recesses now choked, a little work might clear these ....

One wonders whether Balch had the details of this site from Savory - the descriptions are too close for comfort!

Lost caves of Burrington - 6: Boyd Dawkins' Hole

J. Harry Savory noted the following in his diary -  (note 37)

Balch had told me of Boyd Dawkins' hole on opposite side of W. Brooklet to Goat-church.  We looked for this and found a promising crack among loose boulders and in the nettles 15 ft above foot of path leading to Goatchurch, could see but a few feet in here and there, imperfectly examined by B.D., might get in by excavation. Took photo but it wants a distant one taken with morning light from other side of stream.  We then took immediately below this the swallet at present acting for W. Brooklet.  When this cannot take all, there are one or two subsidiary swallets further down W. Brooklet gorge.  We took higher road to Morgan's and had tea.  We were looking for Squire's Well and M [Morgan] reported this to be beyond lake at Rickford, but we could only find a dry trough, which takes drainage of wood on W. of Blagdon Combe.  Still to do swallets behind Mendip Lodge Wood and Squire's Well.  Found no other signs of caves.

In all probability this was the jumble of boulders that now mark the entrance to Sidcot Swallet.  The path to Goatchurch gently ascends from a point on the east side of the valley today cavers generally take the 'direct' route further up-valley.  A photograph, taken by Ralph Reynolds in 1925, clearly shows the Sidcot site before excavation began. (note 38)

Rickford Lost Cave

A cave has been rumoured to have been open in the area.  No other details are known.  It is possible that the site is one of those recorded near Blagdon.

Swancombe Hollow Dig [Hole] (note 39)

Active diggers of the BEC were working at a small site in Swancombe Hollow, near Blagdon.  Members, including the late Dan Hasell worked at the site on 22 December 1945, 10th February and 11th May 1946.  A survey was made on the latter date but this has not been located; the exact spot of the entrance is unknown.

The area was extensively mined and a number of sites have been recorded by Stanton  (note 40) including Swancombe Hollow Hole - it could be this site and may also be the lost cave of Rickford.

Central Mendip

Cheddar Hole

The first note of a cave on Mendip is to be found in the many versions of the book Historia Anglorum by Henry of Huntingdon who wrote his work, in Latin, about 1135. (note 41, 42) The famous description of the cave at Cheddar occurs in the section dealing with the four wonders of England; Cheddar Hole is listed considered the third wonder

Tertium est apud Chederhole; ubi cavitas est sub terra, quam cum multi saepe ingressi sint, et ibi magna spatia terrae et jlumina pertransierint, nunquam tamen ad finem evenire potuerunt.

The English translation reads:

….The third is at Chedder-hole, where there is a cavern which many people have entered, and have traversed a great distance under ground, crossing subterraneous streams, without finding any end of the cavern ...

Recorded as 'Chedre Hole'  (note 43) in the Domesday Book it is also the 12th century name of the modem village of Cheddar.  The earliest reference to this site in caving literature was in Balch's 1935 Cheddar book (note 44) and since that time it has become known as the 'Lost Cave of Cheddar' - a purely 20th century invention.  There are no caves in the Cheddar area that fulfil the 12th century description and, though there is a sizeable stream flowing from the risings near Gough's Cave it is quite impossible to follow any stream underground, except by diving the underground river at Gough's Cave, this having been first explored in the mid-1980s.  It is most unlikely that Henry actually visited the area, let alone the cave but gained his information from an earlier unknown source or by word of mouth.

There are many interpretations of his writing, but two of them are worth mentioning.  Willie Stanton suggests that the description given may have referred to the Cheddar Gorge.  Before the Enclosure Act in the 1790s the gorge would have been so overgrown and full of scrub that it could have been quite dark and cave-like before goats and sheep were allowed to roam freely removing most of the vegetation. Jim Hanwell, on the other hand, has suggested that building of the waterfall by the hotel, at the time of it being a grist mill, has artificially raised the stream floor between it and the risings by some 10ft or more.  If the stream were lowered to its original level access to some of the river passages in Gough's Cave may well be gained.  However, these explanations are really 'shootin' from the hip' without any serious investigation of the historical evidence.

The Wonders as written by Henry, were plagiarised / copied into many other manuscripts of the 12th - 14th centuries.  These include the 40-odd copies of Historia Anglorum, now in the British Library, and also in a miscellaneous collection of manuscripts collectively known as the 'Wonders of Britain'.  These were written at various dates mostly in Latin, but some were also written in Norman French and Welsh all of which include details of the Four Wonders including the Chedre Hole reference. Shaw has summarised these documents in Mendip Bibliography Part II. (note 45) Polychronicon (Many Chronicles) by Ranulph Higdon (1327) was copied / published in a number of editions.  The first English translation of Higdon (1480) by John Trevisa was the earliest printed reference to an English cave. (note 46) 

The final reference to list the Wonders is to be found in William Harrison's  (note 47) contribution to Raphael Holinshed's The First and Second [and Third] Volumes of Chronicles, 1577.  The Wonders were not repeated again in any topographical book of the 17th-19th centuries; excepting of course 19th-20th century reprints. Why did such a famed site become lost to local memory, let alone its claimed national importance, so suddenly? During the course of the 16th-18th centuries many travellers kept private diaries of their tours of the country - very few of these had any contemporary influence upon other travellers as their notes were not published until much later, generally during the 19th century.  Significantly none of the travellers who had visited Cheddar and its Gorge make any mention, let alone describe, the Wonder cave'.  Further, the earliest note of caves having been explored in Cheddar Gorge is to be found in the letters to the Royal Society by John Beaumont in 1676 and 1681. Possibly earlier than Beaumont, John Aubrey of Chippenham described and prepared a map of Long Hole, c.1670. (note 48)

(note 49) In the early editions of Camden's Britannia, first published in 1586, there is no mention of any caves at Cheddar or in the gorge.

Coincidentally as the demise of Henry's cave came about an increase in the available information relating to Wookey Hole is to be found.  William of Worcester  (note 50) visited the cave in 1478 and outlines the cave features and that guides were available.  The names of the three principle chambers are as we know them today; permission to enter the cave though had to be obtained from 'Mr. Porter', an upright stone at the cave entrance!  The fact that the cave appears to have been a place of tourist interest for some time and that it had in the 'dark ages' been used as a place of sacrifice and burial would imply that the cave was well rooted in local memory and that its fame had spread far and wide before William made his visit at the end of the 15th century. All of the diaries and topographical books of the 17th and 18th centuries relating to Somerset have a description or at least a mention of Wookey Hole (in all its various 'ancient' spellings).  I have long held the view that it is more likely that Henry was referring to Wookey Hole, a mere five miles away and that a cave in Cheddar Gorge does not exist.  The large wide passages and river would fit his note that many:

... have traversed a great distance under ground, crossing subterraneous streams, without finding any end of the cavern ...

Further, Henry admits that many visitors had visited this site prior to the production of his book for he says:

... there is a cavern which many people have entered ...

Henry does not mention Wookey Hole at all in his manuscript,

Daccot's Hole

Alexander Catcott, 1725-1779, a Bristol vicar in his later years, amateur geologist and brother of George Symes Catcott of Pen Park Hole fame, made a lifelong study of geology and in particular the formation of caves.  He recognised that the caves had been formed by water action and concluded that they were formed during the rising and draining of the waters of the great flood of Noah.  Catcott was a supporter of the Diluvian ideas, outlined by Hutchinson, and he summarised his field work studies in his book, more so in the 2nd edition that was published in 1768. (note 51)

Catcott had spent much of his time wandering the Mendip Hills and explored the, then, newly discovered caves in the Bleadon and Hutton ochre mining area, fully describing them in his Diary of tours. (note 52)  On the 10th August, 1756 he, accompanied by Mr. Gore of Charterhouse  (note 53) visited Blackdown after which he wrote a long description of the hill, (note 54) the valleys descending into Burrington Combe and the mining area then known as Pits Close, today best known to cavers as Groffy Field.  In August 1757 he revisited the area with a ' stranger' to show him the wonders of Cheddar Gorge and the local hills.  On this occasion he met a miner by the name of Will Hares who was at that time digging for ore in the caves that had been opened at Pits Close. The cave was briefly described stating that water was met with and that the caves' depth was about 40 fathoms (240ft). Catcott wrote:

…. One Will Hares told me that he was digging for ore in Daccot's Hole in Charterhouse Mineries .. , he came to a spring of water, in which they threw all the rubble, which so muddied the spring at Cheddar, that it could not be used ...

Of the three caves known in Gruffy Field could Daccot's Hole be one them?  Both G.B. Cave and Charterhouse Cave show signs of being worked by these miners.

Dick Turpin's Cave

A fabled cave said to exist on Shute Shelve.  A friend of John Chapman's father, named Faulkner, living at Axbridge, remembered when as a child playing in a cave (c.1900) which they knew as Dick Turpin's Cave. Its exact location is unknown.

Green Ore Cave

The single reference to this cave is in a travel guidebook first published in 1856. (note 55)  The cave is mentioned in passing and is said to exist on Green Ore Farm.  In the vicinity of the farm a number of mineshafts have opened up and have been recorded from time to time; all are now effectively capped.  The lost site may well have been one of these.

Lost cave of Axbridge

Miners recall that in the 1920s a cave was opened with a chamber as large as Axbridge Square. Members of the ACG accompanied one of the old men in order to locate the cave.  This resulted in the opening of Triple-H Cave in 1952 and Large Chamber Cave in 1954; both of these sites were shown not to be the site of the lost cave.  However, in 1992, the ACG systematically searched Shute Shelve for any possible sign of the lost cave.  One particular site, at the base of an old ochre working gave good results leading to a cave with large chambers and signs of the 'old man' - Shute Shelve Cavern.  This discovery is now assumed to be the lost cave.

Maskall's Wood Cave

A rumoured cave said to exist in Maskall's Wood [ST/470.537], east of Cheddar.  No written evidence has been traced of this site.

Priddy Lead Works Shaft

During the August Bank Holiday week, 1944, members of the UBSS commenced digging at Plantation Swallet. Though they achieved little they managed to investigate another site - its location was not recorded.  The log entry for the 7th August, 1944 contains the following note:

… The shaft opposite the old mine workings was also examined and found unpromising ....

Can anyone offer any information?

Rift Cave, Compton Martin

A general account of the 1921 UBSS Christmas holiday activities, appeared in the Wells Journal for the 12th January 1922. (note 56)  Twelve members were present and on one occasion they went on a cycle ride visiting a number of cave sites including inspection of Lamb Leer Cavern entrance, which was then in a poor state and was blocked.  Embedded in this account is a visit to a quarry owned by a Mr. Bath at Compton Martin where a number of holes had been exposed.  One of these emitted the sound of a running stream.  It would appear that the UBSS worked at this site for the next five years, how frequently and what results were obtained is unknown for their logbook covering this period was destroyed in the Bristol blitz early in the Second World War.  It can reasonably be supposed that not very much was achieved for no mention of the site was made in the Field Work notes that appeared regularly in the UBSS Proceedings during this period.  The only reference to establish the fact that members of the Society actually worked at the site is recorded in their Logbook Volume 4 1927. (note 57)  Which quarry is unknown but it is likely to be one of the group to be found at the lower reaches of Compton Combe on its western fringe.  The writer is carrying out further research.

Rowpits and Small Pits

In the forested area of Stockhill lies the Chewton Rabbit Warren.  This area was extensively mined for lead in the 16th and 17th centuries. Between 1657 and 1674 Thomas Bushell sunk up to 20 shafts in the area but regular flooding severely hampered work. In order to drain the water, an adit level was driven out from a natural passage at the depth of 120ft.  Currently, the BEC have opened a site on what Stanton thinks is the lower edge of the working area in the hope of entering this lost swallet.  A report of the current situation has been published. (note 58, 59) (see also the recent series of articles on Stock House Shaft in BB’s. Much of this is natural cave enlarged by the Old Man -A. Jarratt)

Site near St. Cuthbert's Lead Works found and closed by miners, c.1900

C. Howard Kenney in his article on the lost caves of Mendip written in 1953 suggests that a cave had been found by the miners at about the time they had excavated Plantation Swallet around 1900. He wrote:

... It seems that the miners at the old Priddy Lead Works discovered a cave or chamber, but owing to the lawsuit Nicholas v. Ennor, (note 60) restraining the miners from polluting the Axe at Wookey Hole, they were anxious that its discovery should not be known. and they hastily concealed it. ...

Kenney's source material came from Balch's Swallet Caves of Mendip  (note 61) and there we find that the location of the site is fairly well described.

The miners had regular problems of flooding in the floor of what is now known as St. Cuthbert's Depression. About 1900 they opened up Plantation Swallet but failing to excavate a successful drainage path for the water overflowing from the Mineries Pool they turned their attention first to the South Swallet [now commonly known as the Maypole Sink for it is the stream sink of that which flows through the Maypole Series in St. Cuthbert's Swallet] and then to the lowest part of the depression.  This section of the depression still floods in wet weather conditions to the east of the present entrance to St. Cuthbert's Swallet. After clearing out the lead bearing mud a collapse occurred revealing a passage or chamber.  This was quickly filled for fear of infringing the High Court Injunction granted at Wells in 1863.  Two collapses have occurred here since that time. (note 62)

Ubley Farm Rift

In his wide ranging paper on the bone caves of Mendip, the Reverend William Jones outlined the frequency of bone bearing fissures opening up in various parts of Mendip.  He wrote that in some cases  (note 63)

... the fissures are open and on the surface.  An instance of this kind occurs in a field on Ubley Hill farm, on the Eastern side of the range.  A stone dropped into the hole may be heard for several seconds in its downwards course ....

The site location was not given except that it was not far from the farm buildings but an indication of what Jones had observed may be related to an exploration by the MCG close to Ubley Hill Farm.  In November 1984 Tony Knibbs et al explored a 5m deep shaft that had opened up and found that it was part of an open rift aligned 15° - 195°. Knibbs wrote that the ‘…. magnetic bearing of the rift corresponded to surface indications of a filled-in rift and it was concluded that the hole had been caused by slumping of this infill ....’ (note 64)  Similar occurrences of this type may account for the 'lost' caves of Blagdon and Rickford.

Eastern Mendip

Emborough Cave

The only reference relating to this site is to be found in an article written by E.E. Roberts in an early British Caver published in 1943, entitled 'Legends, Dead & Alive.'  (note 65)  It appears to have been brought about by a prank played by Platten on Devenish and Roberts.  No other reference to the cave has been found.

Fairy Slatts

These natural fissures were first recorded by Collinson but can hardly be considered caves. (note 66) Partly natural, partly mined, open fissures said to be up to 21 ft deep.  They were partially filled about 1860 to protect livestock.

Poking Hole

John Strachey records a cave at Great Elm the so-called Poking Hole. (note 67)  This appears not to be natural for, he writes, ‘... but made with hands ... '  The description indicates that it is on the north side of the Wadbury Valley. Williams has suggested that it could have been one of the Clinker Caves, but this seems unlikely that such a small feature would have been recorded for such a publication as Strachey's planned 'Somersetshire illustrated.'  (note 68)

Stoke Lane Fissure

Balch noted in the 1907 Netherworld of Mendip  (note 69) that he had been notified of a potential bone fissure above Stoke Lane Slocker and that it might possibly connect with the cave below.  The slocker cave had been first explored about 1905 and its extent known.  In 1909 Balch and Troup recorded that an excavation had been carried out at the spot but no bone remains had been found. (note 70)  Its location is now lost though it is possible that it is Stock's Hole opened by MCG in 1961. (note 71)

Western Mendip Bleadon Cavern

This cave has been rediscovered and is currently open to cavers.  It was discovered by Beard and Williams in 1833.  They originally entered the cave via an entrance on land within the Hutton Parish boundary.  Instability problems forced the excavators to sink another shaft nearby but within the parish boundary of Bleadon - this is the entrance open today.  Once the 19th century excavations were complete the entrance collapsed and was lost until being reopened in 1969.  At first it was thought to be the lost Hutton Cavern - 1 but later proven not to be.  A full report on this and other sites in the area has recently been published with a bibliography and so no further discussion is required. (note 72)

The Gulf, Sandford Hill

The earliest record of this site is to be found in two letters from the Rev. David Williams of Bleadon to the vicar of Shaftesbury - William Patteson, dated 4th January and 16th February, 1829.  Rutter used the latter letter as the source for the information relating to the lost cave in his book. (note 73)  Summarising the sites found by the miners at Banwell and Hutton Williams continued:

... The mouth of the largest, which the miners call the "Gulph," lies, they say 80 fathoms, or 480 feet below the plane of the Hill.  They also affirm they have let down a man, with a line, 240 feet deep, but that he could see neither top, sides, or bottom. Miners, like other men in their station of life, are very superstitious and wonder-working, when they meet with any thing like this fissure, which they cannot fathom ....

Though so well known surprisingly little has been written about this site.  Various ideas have been proposed as to the likely known sites that may be the whole or part of the lost cave.  The most persuasive argument put forward has been that of Stanton which states that the dimensions must be wrong or that the rift feature in the Levvy might be part of the lost cave. The plane of Sandford Hill is only about 420ft OD and the water table only some 20ft below the lowest part of the valley beyond where it is near sea level. Therefore there must be something wrong with the figures!  However, in 1981 the writer, accompanied by Marie Clarke of the ACG, surveyed the hill using the Williams' measurements in the way in which they were intended to be interpreted.  Oh ! you may well say - if the entrance lies 480 feet below the plane of the hill and the height of the hill itself is only 420 feet how can you mistrust the Stanton argument?  Simple.  Up to and well into the early 19th century the height of a hill was commonly measured by the distance you have to walk up it!!  Hence Blackdown is about one mile high, though today we would say it was some 1000ft vertically above OD.  During the earlier centuries a vertical measurement is frequently referred to as being 'in the perpendicular' .

Using this rule of measurement, the late Marie Clarke and the author surveyed the hillside and found that Mangle Hole was 470ft from the edge of the plane of the hill - measured down the slope of the hill. However, that still leaves the 240ft of line used by the explorer.  Letting a man down on a 240ft long rope does not necessarily imply that was the vertical range of the descent - it could also mean that the man penetrated into the cave that distance.  A full discussion will be found in an article on the subject published in 1984. (note 74)

Hutton Cavern - 1 and Hutton Cavern - 2  (note 75)

The lost Hutton Cavern -1 has been searched for since the 1930s by a number of societies including ACG, UBSS and WCC.  None found the elusive cave.  However an intensive period of digging by the ACG between 1970 and 1974 produced some good results, Hutton Caverns -3 and -4.  They succeeded in reopening the lost Bleadon Cavern [q.v.] and two other natural sites, both of which had been worked by the ochre miners of the 18th century. (note 76)  Alexander Catcott became aware of Hutton Cavern -1 being a source of bone material in late 1756 but it was not until 10th June, 1757 that he actually visited the site.  There are three accounts of the cave, the first written about 1761 in the form of a letter to an unknown recipient. (note 77)

From the 16th February, 1829 letter of Williams to Patteson we know that the cave was lost and it was not until a miner pointed to the spot that workmen were hired and excavation work commenced.  The cave was re-entered in 1828 and the results of their work reported in the letter. Since that time location of the entrance has been lost.

Not so well known is the second site, Hutton Cavern - 2, explored by Alexander Catcott - it lies some 40 yards west of the Hutton Cavern - 1 entrance.  But until Hutton Cavern -1 has been rediscovered this site, too, remains lost.  It could have been the second of the two ACG sites, Hutton Cavern - 4.

Lost cave of Elborough

The background to this site was given to the author by John Chapman of Cheddar.  He recalls, when a lad, that a man living at Canada Combe, Charles Ponsford, told him of a cave that was said to exist near Elborough ' ... which goes back under.'  The cave is supposed to lie close or in Benthill's Wood.  Mining activity was undertaken in the area in the early 19th century; it is possible that the cave was an old mine working.

Loxton Cavern

There is often confusion between the lost cave and the cave known today as Loxton Cave.  However, there are two caves known to exist on Loxton Hill, the second, quite different, site being the lost cave - Loxton Cavern.  The cave was famed in its day for its copper stained formations.  For the record the lost cave was first recorded by Alexander Catcott in 1757. (note 78)  The second, that open today, was found by quarrying in 1862 and its discovery was widely reported in the local press; it bears no resemblance to the lost site.

The lost cave was found by miners associated with William Glisson of Loxton and who accompanied Catcott on his visit on May 19th, 1757.  An outline description of the cave is to be found in Catcott's Diaries The cave was still accessible as late as 1794 when C.I.H. [name unknown] made a descent. His account of experiences and an outline description of the cave was published in the Gentleman's Magazine. (note 79) Accompanied by the farmer on whose land the cave entrance lay C.I.H met the guide who cleared the brambles spanning over the entrance.  Once done and a rope belayed to a stake, the party commenced the descent.

... Our guide (whose father was the discoverer of the cave about fifty years ago) went in first; and, as I had been told there was no difficulty or danger, I readily followed; and, having slid down a steep slope for about six yards, found myself at the mouth of a very awkward black-looking pit, down which I was to swing by means of the rope.  I got down a few yards more, where, fixing my feet in the crevices of the rock, I stood astride the gulph; and there I thought I must have given up the scheme.  I could see nothing but a dark chasm, which appeared to be bottomless .... [At the bottom of the shaft] we then lighted our candles, and followed the guide, who carried us along an narrow passage towards the West. The sides of the rock were here covered with beautiful stalactites, very similar to what I have seen in a cavern at a village in Italy called Palo, near Folingo, but much more delicate.  Having explored the passage for some yards, we turned aside into a small chasm, just large enough to admit my body with a great deal of squeezing, and which, as we advanced, did not permit me to go on all fours. I was obliged to crawl like a snake, and could not have proceeded much further, as I found my breath getting short from the fatigue and heat of the place; but was at last relieved by reaching a large arched room most beautifully covered with sparry incrustations. The rock (a limestone) was so hard, that our tools were unequal to procure me the specimens I wanted, and I was sorry to find those we saw had been much defaced by Cornish miners, who, in trying for copper a few years ago broke off the finest pieces to send to their friends.  For the satisfaction of your readers, who delight in the Quixotic and marvellous, let me assure them, that I here saw the Magician of the Cave, in the form of a bat, clinging to the cieling [sic] of his crystal palace.  That our return might be prosperous, I would not suffer him to be disturbed .

... Our descent was difficult; our return neither arduous nor dangerous; perils once known are half conquered. However, I made a firm resolution never to make another attempt to explore the place, in which I was joined most heartily by the farmer, who by no means liked crawling ten fathoms underground. we visited the other branches, diverging in different directions from the main shaft; they contained petrifications more or less beautiful, and of different colours, as tinged with iron or copper, of both which there are veins in the cave.

Having been buried alive for more than two hours, I was glad to revisit the regions of mortality, though completely bruised and battered in every part of my body.

Rutter's account is based on a transcription of Catcott's Diary made by David Williams.  From the past tense in the account it would appear the cave was closed at the time of publication of

'Delineations' in 1829. (note 80)  Neither Williams nor Beard are known to have visited the site.

Sandford Bone Fissure

This site was opened by William Beard of Banwell on 29th January, 1838, having been, no doubt, prompted by the knowledge that bones had been found there in the 1770s.

Beard had his men, Robert Brown and William Cuff, working for him removing bone material until the 29th May, 1838. For this they were paid 1I6d. a day (7Y2p). (note 81)  The site was still open in 1863 at the time of James Parker's visit.

There are many trenches and mined features along the plane of Sandford Hill that it would be difficult to identify the actual pit, many of which were worked as late as the mid-20th century.  Some persons claim to have identified the site but this is far from proven.

Lost cave of Worlebury Hill

Sometime during the late 1940s a local caver recorded that he had explored a cave on Worlebury Hill which contained stalagmite formations.  The note is to be found in the Local History Library at Weston-Super-Mare.  Although an intensive search has been made the cave has not been found.

Somerset - general

Cothelstone Hill Cave.

Not far from Holwell Cavern lies Cothelstone Hill Cave.  This, it is reported, was an inhabited rock shelter. (note 82)  Recent work in the area by Pete Glanvill and Trevor Knieff have uncovered a small cave (ST/1866.3199) but it does not resemble the lost site. (note 83)

Dodington House Cave

During the late 18th century Cornish miners migrated to the Mendip area in search of work.  A mining agent, William Jenkin left a wealth of mining records including details of work in the Somerset area.  Among his records is a reference to a cave in the Quantocks ' ... a little above Dodington House.'  A selection of Jenkin's records was published in 1951 edited by AK. Hamilton Jenkin in which the following extract of a letter may be found.

Extraordinary Somerset Cavern.

To Scrope Bernard Esq. 19th Dec. 1795

The surprising cavities and large caverns we have discovered under the beech grove a little above Dodington House are beyond my power of describing.  One in particular which is about 28 yards in length and from 4 - 12 yards high and wide, the top of which is 14 yards below the surface, strongly indicated that this spot must have undergone some wonderful convulsion, and the cracks and fissure we find in the walls of the cavern are no less wonderful, through which fissures come strong currents of air, to the great refreshment of the labourers ...

Oldham noted that the cave must be located in the area on the seaward side of the Quantock Hills where there is a small outcrop of Devonian Limestone [ST/173.405] at an altitude of 400ft. (note 84) Oldham continued:

... The beech grove mentioned still remains above Dodington House.  At the western end of the grove is an old quarry (probably excavated after the account was written), the greater part of which appears to be off the limestone.  At the eastern end of the grove is an old copper mine building, probably constructed after 1795, which also appears to be just off the limestone. The easternmost end of the quarry appears to have bisected an old shaft in the limestone ....

No doubt the idea of rediscovering one of these lost sites will intrigue cavers for many years to come. However, to do so will entail many hours of researching old records lodged in county collections and archives.  The very best of luck!

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Ray Mansfield, Chris Hawkes, John Chapman and Chris Richards for their helpful comments.

Dave Irwin,

Priddy.

Originally published in Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal Series 10 No.3 (Spring 1998) and BCRA Speleo-history Group Journal No.2 (revised version, 18th August 1998)

notes

1.                  Kenney, C. Howard, 1953, "Lost" caves of Mendip. WCC Jn12(39)12-14(Apr)

2.                  Beaumont, John, 1681, "A Letter of Mr. John Beaumont Jun, giving an account ofOokey Hole and feveral other Subterraneous Grottoes and Caverns in Mendipp-hills in Somerfetfhire, etc.", Phil. Collections, [Royal Society], No.2, pp 1-8; extract from pp 4-5

3.                  Anon, 1876. Geological Section. Proc Bristol Nats Soc., Ser 3 1,137-140(1874-1876) pp137-138

4.                  Tratman, Edgar K., 1945. University of Bristol Spelaeological Society Field Work Log. Bristol: Quarto MSS, 2 vols., surveys

5.                  Shaw, Trevor R., 1972. Mendip Cave Bibliography. Part II Books, pamphlets, manuscripts and maps, 3rd century to December 1968. CRG Trans 13(3) viii + 226pp(Jul)

6.                  Donovan, Desmond T., 1954. A bibliography of the Palaeolithic and Pleistocene sites of the Mendip, Bath and Bristol area. Proc UBSS 7(1)23-24(1953-1954)

7.                  Donovan, Desmond T., 1964. A bibliography of the Palaeolithic and Pleistocene sites of the Mendip, Bath and Bristol area. First supplement. Proc UBSS 10(2)89-97(1964)

8.                  Mansfield, Raymond W. and Donovan, Desmond T., 1989. Palaeolithic and Pleistocene sites of the Mendip, Bath and Bristol areas. Recent bibliography. Proc UBSS 18(3)367-389(Nov)

9.                  Jackson, J. Wilfred, 1937. Schedule of Cave Finds. BSA Cav Cav 1(2)48-51

10.              BEC Caving Log, Volume I, 1943-1946

11.              The survey has not been located.

12.              Strachey, John, c.1736. Somersetshire Illustrated. MSS held at the Somerset County Archive, Taunton. Ref .. No. DD/SH.I07 (1-2) and DD/SH. 108 (1-3)

13.              Williams, Robert G. J., 1987.  John Strachey on some Mendip caverns and antiquities in the early eighteenth century. Proc UBSS 18(1)57-64(Nov)

14.              Skinner, Rev. John, 1788-1832. Journal of Travels and Parochial Matters. Quarto MSS, 98 vols., maps, illus. BM Ref.: Add MSS 33717 Vol. 85 ff182a

15.              Knight, Francis A., 1915. The Heart of Mendip. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., xvi + 547pp, maps, illus., figs [p.2IO]

16.               Barrington, Nicholas and Stanton, William 1.,1977. Mendip: the complete caves and a view of the hills. Cheddar: Barton Productions with Cheddar Valley Press, 236pp, illus., maps

17.              Knight, Francis A., 1915. [as above] [p.2IO]

18.              Rutter, John, 1829, Delineations of the North Western Division of the County of Somerset. Shaftesbury: printed and published by the author., xxiv + 349 pp, map, plans, sections, illus. [p.118]

19.              Seyer, Reverend Samuel, 1821-23, Memoirs Historical and Topographical of Bristol and its neighbourhood. 2 Vols. Vol. 1 : xx + 535pp, maps, illus. [Published 1821] : Vol. 2 : 603pp, maps, illus. [Published 1823]. Bristol: Printed & Published by John Mathew Gutch.

20.              Boon, George C. and Donovan, Desmond T., 1954. Fairy Toot: the 'lost cave of Burrington' Proc UBSS 7(1)35-38(1953-1954)

21.              Lennon, I.G., 1960. The lost cave of Burrington. WCC Jnl 6(76)28-30(Nov. 1959/ Mar 1960)

22.              So named by the author.

23.               Bristol Mercury, 16th January, 1797, page 3, column 4, Vol. VII, No. 360 [account of the discovery of Aveline's Hole]

24.              Irwin, David J., A History of Aveline's Hole. [in prep]

25.              The equivalent of the modern ' Peterborough' or Aunt Agony column that appear in newspapers and magazmes.

26.              H.W., 1805, Mr. Urban. Gentleman's Magazine Pt. II, p.408-409, illus. ; reprinted in Gomme, George Laurence [ed.], 1886, The Gentleman's Magazine Library. Archaeology. London: Elliot Stock, 2 volumes [Vol. 1, p.22-23]

27.              Hawkins, H.S., 1948. New mystery cavern in Burrington Combe, Somerset. Brit Cav 18,29-31

28.              Dawkins, W. Boyd, 1864. On the caves of Burrington Combe, explored in 1864 by Messrs. W. Ayshford Sanford, and W. Boyd Dawkins. SANHS Proc 12(2)161-176(1863-1864), surveys

29.              Foxes Hole was known to Dawkins as Plumley's Den - a name that has fallen into disuse because of its confusion with Plumley's Hole, a short cave located at the bottom of Burrington Combe.

30.              It was Dawkins who named this site. Who Whitcombe was is unknown.

31.              Plumley's Hole was not discovered until December 1874.

32.              Dougherty, Alan F., Irwin, David J. and Richards, Christopher, 1994. The discovery of Plumley's Hole, Burrington Combe and the death of Joe Plumley. Proc UBSS 20(1)43-58(Dec), illus., table

33.              Balch, Herbert E., 1937. Mendip - its swallet caves and rock shelters. Wells: Clare, Son & Co., 21lpp, illus. figs, surveys [p.121]

34.              Balch, Herbert E., 1948. [as above] [p.97]

35.              Howell, Christopher, Irwin, David J. and Stuckey, Douglas L. 1973. A Burrington Cave Atlas. BEC Cav Rep (17)35pp(Jul), map, illus., surveys

36.              Savory, John. 1989. A man deep in Mendip. The Caving Diaries of Harry Savory 1910-1921 Gloucester: Alan Sutton, xviii + 15Opp, maps, illus., figs, surveys. [p.15-16]

37.              Savory, John. 1989. [as above], [p.16]

38.              Howell, C., Irwin, D.J. and Stuckey, D., 1973. A Burrington Cave Atlas. BEC Caving Report 17, 35pp, illus., surveys, maps

39.              Hasell,D.H., 1947, Swancombe Hollow [Dig]. BEC Belfry Bulletin 1(2)3(Mar) 40Barrington, Nicholas and Stanton, William I., 1977. [as above]

40.               Barrington, Nicholas and Stanton, William I., 1977. [as above]

41.              Henry of Huntingdon, c.I135. Historia Anglorum.

42.              Forester, Thomas [trans & ed], 1853, The Chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon, comprising the history of England ... London: Henry G. Bohn, xxviii+442pp, illus. [first translation in English]

43.              There are many different ways in which Cheddar has been spelt in the past. For the purposes of this paper only one version has been used - that used by Thomas Forester in his translation of Henry's document in 1853.

44.              Balch, Herbert E., 1935, Mendip - Cheddar, its Gorge and Caves. Wells: Clare, Son & Co., Ltd. The Cathedral Press. 177pp, illus., figs, surveys [p.23]

45.              Shaw, Trevor R., 1972. [as above] [877]

46.              Trevisa, John [Higden, Ranulph], 1480, Policronicon ... descripcion of Britayne according to the translacion of Treuisa. [ Westminster] : William Caxton.

47.              Harrison, William, 1577, An Historicall Description of the Island of Britayne ... [in] Holinshed, Raphael, 1577, The Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande ... London: John Harrison

48.              Boycott, Antony, 1992, Cave References in John Aubrey's Monumenta Britannica. BCRA SHG Newsletter (OS) (4)2-5(Aut), illus.

49.              Irwin, David J., 1992, A thought about the John Aubrey Long Hole survey. BCRA SHG Newsletter (OS) (4)5(Aut)

50.              William of Worcester, c.1478. ltinerarium sive liber rerum memorabilium. Cambridge MSS Corpus Christi College, no. 210. [Refer to Shaw, Trevor R., 1972 for details [see above]]

51.              Catcott, Alexander, 1761. A treatise on the deluge ... London: Withers, xiii + 296pp, illus. ; Two editions and a supplement exist, 1761 and 1768. Full details of each and the Mendip cave content in Men Bib Pt II, No. 169A & B, 170.

52.              Catcott, Alexander, 1774. Diaries of tours made in England and Wales. MSS; 11 sheaf of loose papers, various sizes bound together. 17.5 cm [1748-1774]. Sheaf1138p, sheaf 5 44ff : Bristol Ref.. Library. B 6495. Strong Room IB3. A bound photocopy is available for general inspection.

53.              Mr. Gore lived at Lower Farm, Charterhouse. His coat of Arms may be seen above the front door.

54.              A transcript of the Blackdown description is given in: Richards, Christopher, 1979. Early observations on the Cheddar catchment at Charterhouse. BEC Bel BuI33(372-373)24-27(Apr/May)

55.              Anon, 1856, A Handbook for Travellers in Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire. London: John Murray, 1st ed., [iii] + 235pp, map. At least five editions of this book are known published between 1856 and 1899.

56.              Wells Journal, 12th January, 1922; page 8, column 3. Mendip Caves // Underground Stream near Compton Martin.

57.               University of Bristol Spelaeological Society 1927, General Log IV: 19th April 1927 [p 58 - 59] and 8th May 19/27 [p 67]

58.              Jarratt, Anthony R. et ai, 1997. Five BuddIes Sink - A lost cave rediscovered - Part 1. BEC Bel BuI50(494)37-63(Dec), map, illus.

59.              Jarratt, Anthony R. et ai, 1998. Five BuddIes Sink - A lost cave rediscovered - Part 2. BEC Bel BuI50(500)39-45(Dec),illus., survey

60.              This is an error - should read [Nicholas] Ennor v. Hodgkinson.

61.              Balch, Herbert E., 1937. Mendip - its swallet caves and rock shelters. Wells: Clare, Son & Co., 211 pp, illus. figs, surveys [p.170-171] AND
-- 1948. Mendip - its swallet caves and rock shelters. London: Simpkin, Marshall (1941) Ltd., 2nd ed., [vi] + 156pp, surveys, illus. [p.135-136]

62.              Irwin, David J. et ai, 1991. St. Cuthbert's Swallet. Priddy, Somerset, Bristol Exploration Club. ii + 82pp, map, illus., surveys, (Oct)

63.              Jones, William Arthur, 1857, On the Mendip bone caverns. SANHS Proc 7,25-41(1856-1857); p.33

64.              Knibbs, Antony J., 1984, Ubley Hill Farm Rift. MCG Newsletter (174)8-9(Dec), survey (elevation)

65.              Roberts, E.E., 1943. Legends, Dead & Alive. Brit Cav (10)95-97

66.              Collinson, John, 1791. The history and antiquities of the County of Somerset, collected from authentick records and an actual survey by the late Mr. Edmund Rack ... Bath: R. Cruttwell, 3 vols. : Vol. 1 : Iii + 45 + 277pp, Vol. 2 : 507pp; Vol. 3 : 650pp; maps illus.

67.              Strachey, John, c.1736. [see above]

68.              Williams, Robert G. J., 1987. [see above]

69.              Baker, Ernest A. and Balch, Herbert E., 1907. The Netherworld of Mendip. Bristol: J. Baker, Clifton, xii + 172pp, illus., map, index

70.              Balch, Herbert E. and Troup, Reginald D., 1909. Report on cave research MNRC Rep (3)23¬27

71.              Cowley, Alan, 1962. Stocks Hole. MCG Jnl (3)58-59, survey

72.              Irwin, David J. and Richards, Christopher, 1997. The Bleadon and Hutton Caverns, West Mendip - a reassessment. BCRA Speleo-history Group Jnl (l)14-23(Autumn), illus., surveys.

73.              Rutter, John, 1829, [as above]

74.              lrwin, David J., 1984. 'The Sandford Gulf A new look at an old problem. BEC Bel Bul 38(426)3-7(Oct)

75.              The numbering system is that adopted by the Mendip Cave Registry to identify the four different caves each known as Hutton Cavern! Refer to Irwin, David J. and Richards, Christopher, 1997. [see above]

76.              Irwin, David J. and Richards, Christopher, 1997. [see above]

77.              Catcott, Alexander, n.d., Discription [sic] of Loxton Cavern. MSS. c.1761. Transcribed by C.J. Harford. Photocopy presented to Bristol Central Reference Library 1974 by Dr. H.S. Torrens, Dept. Geology, Keele University. 66ff 4to, illus. MSS belonged to Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution.  The location of the Catcott original letter is unknown, presumably lost.

78.              Catcott, Alexander, 1774. [see above]

79.              H[ ], C.I., 1794, [Loxton Cavern exploration] Gents Mag 64(1)399-400 [author is possibly C.l. Harford, a geologist]

80.              Rutter, John, 1829. [refer above], p.163

81.              [Beard, William], 1824-1865. [Manuscript Note Books on the caves at Banwell, etc.]. Taunton: Somerset Record Office. No. D/PIban/54/C1l93

82.              Page, John Lloyd Warden, 1890. An Exploration of Exmoor. London: Seeley, [ii] + xv + 318pp, map, illus., index

83.              Irwin, David J., 1997. Howell Cavern, Merridge, Somerset. BCRA Speleo-history Group Jn1. (l)1-13(Autumn), surveys, illus.

84.               Oldham, Anthony D., 1968. The Mendip Caver. Men Cav 4(7)9pp(Oct/Nov)