The caves beneath 8 Castle Gate are an extraordinary survival of a virtually intact Medieval factory.
Boroughs endured as late as 1835, even electing separate sheriffs and coroners, while a vestigial wall that separates the two can be clearly seen cutting across the Market Square in Thoroton’s map of 1677.
How early were the caves occupied? Although one assumes they had been used from the very earliest time, no evidence of use has been found until the later Medieval period. The precise location of Asser’s Tigguocobauc is still a subject of much debate, as no securely dated Anglo-Saxon caves have been found in the city. There was little pressure on space in the Medieval city, so it is hard to picture underground dwellings sunk down from the top of the rock. Cave-houses cut back into the exposed sandstone cliffs, perhaps with a timbered frontage, seem more likely. If so, four possible locations are known in and around the city. But the caves are all palimpsests, cut and re-cut by successive generations, so that any original Anglo-Saxon caves may well have been transformed out of all recognition.
ain image Seeing Nottingham as never before. The pub cellar caves beneath the Sir John Borlase Warren Inn. This silhouette image was created using laserscanned data. below J ulia Clarke examines the Peel Street sand-mine caves.
quickly realised the potential of the exposed stone in the cliff faces along the river and many caves were hollowed out.
Nottingham lies to the north of the floodplains of the Trent and its tributary, the Leen, now mostly buried beneath the sprawling city. The floodplain is bordered by a series of low sandstone cliffs and bluffs, and it was on – or in – these cliffs that the town was founded. On the lower, flatter bluff (currently occupied by the Lace Market area) an Anglian Burh was established. The much more pronounced cliff to the west provided an obvious location for the construction of one of William I’s castles in 1068, and a Norman town grew up around its base. Over time, streets and buildings filled the gap between the Norman and Anglo-Saxon settlements, but the legal separation between the French and English
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