English farmer discovers mysterious holes on his land leading to unexplained historic caves

When a local farmer from Shropshire, England stumbled across a seemingly-ordinary rabbit hole out on his land, he had no idea that he was going to unearth a series of historic caves shrouded in mystery.

The rabbit hole looks innocuous from the outside, but it doesn’t take long to reach something far more magnificent deep beneath the earth.

Credit: Richard Law CC BY SA 2.0

Full of carvings and symbols on the walls—including a pair of crosses that are believed to be representative of the Knights of Templar, a medieval Catholic army that fell centuries ago—the hole leads to a series of arched pathways, which end up in an intriguing cave.

The exact date of the cave’s origin is tough to pin down, and even historians are unsure of just how old the maze of tunnels truly is.

One option is that the caves were carved out sometime in the 17th century by followers of the Temple of Solomon, more commonly known throughout history as the Knights of Templar, as a way that they could meet in secret without persecution. At the time that the caves are believed to have been formed, the Knights of Templar—who had reached the peak of their power and influence during the middle ages—had already been all but completely disbanded by changing religious influences around Europe.

Credit: Richard Law CC BY SA 2.0

The other option, of course, is that the caves were created by a rich landowner near the end of the 18th century, and were simply an attempt at adventure or to add some interesting architecture to the estate.

Over the years, various other groups stumbled across the caves, so it’s hard to tell what was added to the walls and candle sconces by whom. Druids and other spiritual groups have used the caves as a meeting place of sorts even dating up into the 21st century, and they’ve added their own touches.

What isn’t in doubt, though, is that the caves were man-made—and have been around for hundreds of years.

 
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