ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Gilmerton Cove - Does It Hold Roslin Chapel Secrets?

Updated on June 29, 2012

Gilmerton Cove


Gilmerton Cove is a secret network of 300 year old vaults and passageways lying beneath the street of a sleepy suburb of Edinburgh. Deep below ground lies a long forgotten underground labyrinth of tunnels and rooms, on the outskirts of Scotland’s capital city. Rumoured to be a secret meeting place of Freemasons and the Knights Templars, Gilmerton Cove remains a mystery, despite excavations as recently as 2002.

Some four miles from the centre of Edinburgh lies Gilmerton, a small mining village; there beneath an unassuming cottage lies the cove; carved from the sandstone bedrock.

The origins of the cove are surrounded in myth and lore.

What is known is that the property above the chambers was occupied by a blacksmith known as George Paterson, who lived there from 1719 to 1724.

Paterson did use the rooms, accessed from stone steps from the property above, amounting to 1000 square feet, and including beds, couches and tables carved from the rock; bedrooms, fireplace, workshop and forge. He lived there with his family but was also charged by the Kirk for operating an illegal drinking den on the Sabbath.

Covenanters and Witch Hunts


In 1792 after Paterson's death the cove was investigated by the Rev Thomas Whyte, who concluded that the chambers could not have been excavated by Paterson himself, the work was too extensive for one man to complete in five years. Paterson; being a blacksmith also lacked the stonemasonry skills needed to carry out such complex and detailed work.

A further investigation in 1897 by F R Coles of the Scottish Museum of Antiquities also concluded that chisel marks and other evidence pointed to a much earlier creation of the cove. During the time of the covenanters in 1600s Scottish Presbyterians were persecuted, and many sought refuge to practice their religion in secret dens and hides, away from the eyes of the authorities. The 1500s also saw a time of witch persecution, where hundreds of women were hunted and killed for their devilish practices.

Within the cove there is a large stone basin called the punch bowl, which could equally have been used as a font for religious practices or as a cauldron.

After Paterson's death the cove became a den of vice, local stories abound of an illegal distillery, brothel, hell fire club and satanic meetings.

Masonic Connection


Gilmerton Cove has been only recently been excavated, in 2002. There are a large number of masonic carvings on many stone faces and surfaces, notably the masonic compass, the single most important symbol used within freemasonry. A geometric symbol and an architect’s tool, the symbol serves to remind freemasons to be "square in their dealings" and "circumscribe desires".

This evidence may suggest that the cove was used as an underground meeting place for a masonic lodge. The Order of the Masonic lodge owes its existence to the Knights Templars, also spotlighted in the nearby Roslin Chapel. Some speculate that this could be the final resting place of the Holy Grail, brought to Scotland by the Knight’s Templars. What better hiding place could there be than this sleepy unassuming mining town, just a stone’s throw from Roslin Chapel.

Excavations in 2002 have revealed that the vaults may be more extensive than first thought, there are two passageways blocked by falling rock, one which runs the street, and heads in the exact direction of Roslin chapel, only three miles to the south. The other passageway heads in the direction of Craigmillar castle, a medieval fortification built in 1400 AD and just a mile to the East.

Permission for further excavation has been declined for the time being, the removal of the rubble would compromise the stability of the road that runs over the tunnel, so the secrets of Gilmerton Cove may stay hidden for the sometime yet.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Thanks bac2basics, it is an amazing place.

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 

      6 years ago from Spain

      Wow, what a strange and fascinating place. It´s one of those places which make´s you wish you could go back in time and find the real truth of it all. Great hub.

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      molly meadows- I agreem I think the mystery of the bcked tunnel adds to the appeal, it would be pretty disappointing if it was excavated and turned out to be a dead end!

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      DzyMsLizzy. I am sure you are right, we do have the technology to do this, but I think the funds are lacking. It's not a big money making business, and is owned by a local charity.

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Nel, that, I read your Hub about the Hellfire club- amazing!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 

      6 years ago from The Shire

      Maybe the uncertainty is the most valuable thing to the city fathers. If they knew all the answers, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun!

      Still and all, it kinda gives me the creeps. I'm one who thinks that what has to be hidden underground usually isn't very good.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Fascinating. I'm always interested in historic excavations and discoveries. It would be great if further excavations could be done. I'm not sure a valid reason for denying them was given--modern methods certainly have the means for shoring up the surface against collapse....So, the question to ask it, "What do they fear is hidden?"

      Voted up, interesting and shared.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      That was so fascinating! I had never even heard of Gilmerton Cove! I know about Roslin obviously, but Oh how I would like to go down there and explore that cavern system! what a shame that the tunnel pointing to Rosslyn is blocked in, but as you said it can't be excavated because of the road as it might cave in, I have visited a few of these type of secret caves, in fact I live just up the road from the Hellfire caves in high wycombe, I did write a hub about it, and there is the shell grotto cave in margate kent too, wonderful hub and so fascinating, voted up and sharing! nell

    • Silver Fish profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Fish 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

      Glad you liked it - it is certianly one one Edinburgh's best kept secrets, and althoug open to the public has few visitors.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 

      6 years ago

      Wow, Silverfish, what an utterly fantastic find this Hub is for me. I love Scotland, but I haven't explored its secrets even *nearly* enough - and such a mysterious place as this really appeals to the 'Indiana Jones' in me! You've piqued my interest, and I'll be hunting it down the next time I visit Edinburgh. Voted up and across and shared.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)