Tuesday 19 August 2014

Gilmerton Cove

Something very unusual can be found in a stereotypical and unexceptional street at the suburb of Gilmerton in Edinburgh, Scotland. Beneath the floors of number 16 Drum Street, opposite a bingo hall, is the hidden entrance to Gilmerton Cove, an underworld of artificial caverns which are shrouded in mystery, see: http://www.gilmertoncove.org.uk/. The entrance leads to a series of passageways and chambers that were hand-carved many centuries ago, at least; their ceilings are about ten feet deep. They have been used as storerooms, a brothel, an illicit whisky distillery and many other purposes over the years, like the caves in Nottingham, see links below. Nobody knows who constructed them except rumours that they're the work of a man called George Paterson who ran a smithy there in the early 18th century. However the Cove is too large and elaborate to be the work of a single individual. Also there are stories that they are far older than Paterson's time. They may have been built as a refuge during the "Killing Time", a brutal civil war sparked off by the rebellion of the Covenanters, a group of people belonging to Protestant nonconformist churches, against King Charles II. They had to go into hiding or face being imprisoned and killed. Was Gilmerton Cove a place in which an underground, literally, Covenanter cell founded a safe-house? This took place over a hundred years before the life of George Paterson which would put the date of construction for the Cove back to at least the early 17th century. Maybe it's even older than that; engravings and graffiti on the chiselled walls of the Cove contain Masonic and esoteric symbolism, and it was indeed rumoured to have been used by Freemasons and the Hellfire Club more recently, see links below. Could it actually be a much more ancient sanctuary for secret societies like the Freemasons and Knights Templar? In 2002 archaeologists excavated a new section of the Cove in which they discovered a bricked up tunnel. The local authorities would not grant permission for this blockage to be removed because it lay directly beneath the road and they were afraid heavy vehicles driving above could cause the tunnel to collapse... or at least that's their story. However the initial direction of the tunnel can be ascertained and it points south. About five miles south of Gilmerton lies Rosslyn Chapel, one of the most enigmatic and fascinating buildings on Earth; it is one of the locations nominated as the resting place of the Holy Grail. Does this mean that that there is a subterranean link between Gilmerton Cove and Rosslyn Chapel? Only further study will tell. There are certainly underground chambers beneath the Chapel and many explorers have tried to chart them... some never came out again. One thing which makes Gilmerton Cove unique is that incorporated into its architecture are carvings that serve as furniture. These resemble benches and tables, indicating that the chambers were originally intended to be dwelling places for people; however a few of the adaptations serve no obvious purpose, like a four to five pint hemispherical depression on one of the benches known as the "punchbowl". This might have been a baptismal font or intended for use in some rituals if the Freemasons and Knights Templar were there. Gilmerton Cove is just one of a number of similar locations such and Petra and Derinkuyu in Turkey, and Nottingham in England, where for some reason people decided to build very complex and extensive underground spaces, sometimes as large as the city above them, often leaving no records as to who built them or when they built them; or why. New ones are being discovered all the time, and it's quite likely that what has so far been unearthed is a mere fraction of the complete covert underworld, unimaginable secrets that may lie just a short distance beneath your feet.

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