Photographer Finds Secret Underground Cave System Used by Knights Templar
After becoming intrigued by an improbable video online, photographer Michael Scott set out to find a rabbit hole that would lead him to the caves of the Knights Templar.
As made famous in The Da Vinci Code, the Knights Templar were a religious order that fought in the Crusades in the Middle Ages. Although their influence spread throughout western Europe, many of the knights fled to England in the early 14th century to escape persecution.
It was here that they are believed to have built an underground system, used as a secret place of worship.
And hidden in plain sight, Scott found the rabbit hole that leads to the cave system in Shropshire, England— known as the Caynton Caves—used by the Knights Templar. He photographed and recorded his journey throughout the caves, including into some rooms so small, he had to enter on hands and knees.
"I traipsed over a field to find it, but if you didn't know it was there you would just walk right past it,” Scott told BBC. “Considering how long it's been there it's in amazing condition, it's like an underground temple."
The cave network lives about a meter below a farmer’s field. It’s believed that the Knights Templar carved the sandstone caves by hand—although it’s unclear when. Reports put the birth of the cave anywhere between the 17th and 19th centuries.
Locals have known about the mystical cave system for quite some time. Around Halloween every year, some decide to infiltrate and celebrate the day with debauchery and ceremony. But in 2012, the owners of the caves closed the site after they discovered the system filled with candles, graffiti, and trash, according to the Shropshire Star.