Joseph Beldam, The Origin and Use of the Royston Cave

First published 1858. Scanned from the 5th edition, Warren Brothers, Royston, June 1904.

The author of this short book argues that the carvings in the Royston Cave date from the late 12th century, and that some of them commemorate events of that period. His conclusions provide an alternative to the theory best known today, that the Cave was associated with the Knights Templar.

In the scanned edition the publishers added a memoir of the author and a couple of footnotes, but the main text has only trivial differences from the first edition.

The Royston Cave, though unique in Britian, has some resemblance to the rock-cut chamber at Svojkov in the Czech Republic. See the article by E. Gebauer on this Web site, and the more recent article by Philip Coppens.

The digitized version contains the following Web pages:

Prelims:   A brief memoir of the late Joseph Beldam, F.S.A.
Web §1:   Introduction
  The town of Royston and its vicinity
  The old cross
  Discovery of the Cave, and its first appearance
  Subsequent alterations and present appearance
Web §2:   Later examination and further description
  The grave
  Original contruction and purpose of the Cave
  Comparison with Oriental caves
  Conversion into a Christian oratory
  Decorations of the oratory
Web §3:   Explanation of the sculptures [part 1]
Web §4:   Explanation of the sculptures [part 2]
Web §5:   The Hermitage
  Continued use and final abandonment of the oratory
  Description of plates
Title page
Plate I  Section of cave looking northwards
Plate II  Section of cave looking south-west
Plate III  [Miscellaneous images]
Extract from Edward Robinson’s Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petræa (1841)