The Merlin Chapter’s Adventurous Ride to Royston Cave: A Journey Through History

The Merlin Chapter of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association (WSMBA) recently embarked on a thrilling journey, riding their bikes from Shardlow Marina in Derbyshire to the mysterious Royston Cave in Hertfordshire. This adventure was not just about the ride; it was an expedition into the depths of history and culture. For cultural explorers, history enthusiasts, and local travellers, this post recounts the Merlin Chapter’s journey and delves into the enigmatic past of Royston Cave.

Setting Out from Shardlow Marina

The day began with the roar of engines and a sense of camaraderie among the Merlin Chapter members. Shardlow Marina, known for its picturesque canals and vibrant boating community, served as the perfect starting point for this historic journey. As the bikers revved up their engines, the anticipation of the day’s adventure was palpable.

Riding through the scenic landscapes of Derbyshire, the Merlin Chapter members enjoyed the crisp morning air and the sense of freedom that comes with a motorcycle journey. The route to Hertfordshire took them through charming villages, rolling hills, and historic landmarks, making the ride as much a part of the adventure as the destination itself.

Arrival at Royston Cave

Upon arriving in the quaint market town of Royston, the Merlin Chapter members were immediately drawn to the main attraction: Royston Cave. Nestled beneath Melbourn Street, this man-made cave is shrouded in mystery and steeped in history. Discovered by accident in 1742, Royston Cave has since fascinated historians, archaeologists, and curious visitors alike.

The History of Royston Cave

Discovery and Initial Exploration

The discovery of Royston Cave was entirely accidental. In 1742, a workman digging a hole for a new bench in the Butter Market stumbled upon a buried millstone. Beneath it, to his surprise, lay the entrance to a hidden cave. Once excavated, the cave revealed an array of intricate carvings and symbols adorning its walls. These carvings depicted religious and secular scenes, leading to speculation about the cave’s original purpose.

Theories and Speculations

Several theories surround the origins and use of Royston Cave. One popular theory suggests that the cave was constructed by the Knights Templar, a medieval Christian military order. The carvings, which include images of knights, saints, and mythical creatures, lend some credence to this theory. However, there is no definitive evidence to confirm this connection.

Another theory posits that the cave may have been used as a hermitage or a secret meeting place for religious or fraternal organisations. The symbols and carvings found within the cave hint at various religious and esoteric traditions, making it difficult to pinpoint a single purpose or origin.

The Carvings and Their Significance

The most striking feature of Royston Cave is undoubtedly its carvings. The walls are adorned with scenes depicting St. Christopher, St. Catherine, the Crucifixion, and other religious iconography. Additionally, there are images of knights, animals, and geometric patterns. The carvings are believed to date back to the 14th century, although their exact age and meaning remain subjects of ongoing research and debate.

The significance of these carvings lies not only in their historical and artistic value but also in the stories they tell. They offer a glimpse into the religious and cultural life of the period, reflecting the beliefs, customs, and artistic expressions of the time.

The Merlin Chapter's Experience

For the Merlin Chapter members, visiting Royston Cave was an enlightening experience. The cave’s enigmatic history and intricate carvings provided much to ponder and discuss. As they explored the cave, the bikers couldn’t help but marvel at the craftsmanship and dedication that went into creating such a mysterious underground sanctuary.

The visit also served as a reminder of the importance of preserving and exploring our cultural heritage. By delving into the past, we gain a deeper understanding of our collective history and the forces that have shaped our world.

Reflections and Takeaways

The Merlin Chapter’s journey to Royston Cave was more than just a motorcycle ride; it was a voyage through time and history. For cultural explorers, history enthusiasts, and local travellers, the adventure offers several key takeaways:
  • The Importance of Exploration: Venturing into lesser-known historical sites like Royston Cave can yield fascinating discoveries and enrich our understanding of the past.
  • The Value of Camaraderie: Sharing such experiences with like-minded individuals enhances the journey, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.
  • The Mysteries of History: Sites like Royston Cave remind us that history is full of enigmas waiting to be uncovered and understood.


The Merlin Chapter’s adventurous ride to Royston Cave was a journey filled with excitement, discovery, and camaraderie. For those who share a passion for history and culture, such excursions offer a unique opportunity to delve into the mysteries of the past and connect with fellow enthusiasts. As the Merlin Chapter members rode back to Derbyshire, they carried with them not just memories of a thrilling adventure, but a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of history that surrounds us all.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a curious local, Royston Cave and its intriguing history await your exploration. So gear up, hit the road, and embark on your own journey into the depths of time.

Book Your Trip To Royston Cave

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