Cliff Castles and Cave Dwellings of Europe

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Castles and Cave Dwellings of Europe  (1911) 
by Sabine Baring-Gould
published 1911




"The house i' the rock
. . . no life to ours."



Chapter I: Prehistoric Cave-Dwellers

Formation of chalk—Of dolomitic limestone—Where did the first men live—Their Eden in the chalk lands—Migration elsewhere—Pit dwellings—Civilisation stationary—Troglodytes—Antiquity of man—Les Eyzies—Hôtel du Paradis—The first colonists of the Vézère Valley—Their artistic accomplishments—Painting and sculpture—Rock dwellings in Champagne—Of a later period—Civilisation does not progress uniformly—The earth—Book of the Revelation of the past—La Laugerie Basse—Blandas—Conduché—Grotte de Han—The race of Troglodytes not extinct

Chapter II: Modern Troglodytes

Troglodytes of the Etang de Berre—The underground town of Og, King of Bashan—Trôo—Sanitation—Ancient mode of disposing of refuse—The talking well—Les Roches—Chateau de Bandan—Chapel of S. Gervais—La Grotte des Vierges—Rochambeau—Le Roi des Halles—La Roche Corbon—Human refuse at Ezy—Saumur—Are there still pagans among them?—Bourré—Courtineau—The basket-makers of Villaines—Grioteaux—Sauliac—Cuzorn—Brantôme—La Roche Beaucourt—The Swabian Alb—Sibyllen loch—Vrena Beutlers Höhle—Schillingsloch—Schlössberg Höhle—Rock village in Sicily—In the Crimea—In Egypt—In volcanic breccia—Balmes de Montbrun—Grottoes de Boissière—Grottoes de Jonas—The rock Ceyssac—The sandstone cave-dwellings of Corrèze—Their internal arrangement—Cluseaux—Cave-dwellings in England—In Nottinghamshire—In Staffordshire—In Cornwall—In Scotland—The savage in man—Reversion to savagery—The Gubbins—A stone-cutter—Daniel Gumb—A gentleman of Sens—Toller of Clun Downs

Chapter III: Souterrains

Prussian invasion of Bohemia—Adersbach and Wickelsdorf labyrinths—Refuges of the Israelites—Gauls suffocated in caves by Cæsar—Armenians by Corbulo—Story of Julius Sabinus—Saracen invasion—The devastation of Aquitaine by Pepin—Rock refuges in Quercy—The Northmen—Persecution of the Albigenses—The cave of Lombrive—The English domination of Guyenne—Two kinds of refuges—Saint Macaire—Alban—Refuge of Château Robin—Exploration—Methods of defence—Souterrain of Fayrolle—Of Saint Gauderic—Of Fauroux—Of Olmie—Aubeterre—Refuges under castles—Enormous number of souterrains in France—Victor Hugo's account of those in Brittany—Refuges resorted to in the time of the European War—Those in Picardy—Gapennes—Some comparatively modern—Condition of the peasantry during the Hundred Years' War—Tyranny of the nobles—Their barbarities—Refuges in Ireland—In England—The Dene Holes—at Chislehurst—At Tilbury—Their origin—Fogous in Cornwall—Refuges in Haddingtonshire—In Egg—Slaughter of the Macdonalds—Refuges in the Isle of Rathlin—Massacre by John Norris—Refuges in Crete—Christians suffocated in one by the Turks—Lamorciere in Algeria

Chapter IV: Cliff Refuges

Distinction between souterrain and cliff refuges—How these latter were reached—Gazelles—Peuch Saint Sour—Story of S. Sour—The Roc d'Aucor—Exploration—How formerly reached—Boundoulaou—Riou Ferrand—Cliff refuge near Brengues—Les Mées—Fadarelles—Puy Labrousse—Soulier-de- Chasteaux—Refuges in Auvergne—Meschers—In Ariège—The Albigenses—Caves in Derbyshire—Reynard's cave—Cotton's cave—John Cann's cave—Elford's cave on Sheep's Tor

Chapter V: Cliff Castles. The Routiers

The seigneural castle—Protection sought against the foes without and against the peasant in revolt—Instance of the Château Les Eyzies—Independence of the petty nobles—Condition of the country in France—In Germany—Weakness of the Emperor—The Raubritter—Italy—The nobles brought into the towns—Their towers—Division of the subject—Difference between the English manor-house and the foreign feudal castle—The English in France—The Hundred Years' War—Hopeless condition of the people—The Free Companies—How recruited—Crusade against the Albigenses—Barons no better than Routiers—Death of chivalry—Routiers were rarely Englishmen—Had no scruples as to whom they served—Disregarded treaties—The captains were Gascons or French—The nobles of the south on the English side—Nests in the rock—Depopulation and devastation—Insolence of the Companies—Bigaroque—Roc de Tayac—Corn—Roquefort—Brengues—The Bishop of Cahors dies there—Château du Diable at Cabrerets—Défilé des Anglais—Peyrousse—Les Roches du Tailleur—Trosky—The scolding women—The English not forgotten in Guyenne

Chapter VI: Cliff Castles—Continued

The difference between feudal castles and those of the Routiers—Illustration of the character of the nobles—Two Counts of Perigord—The nobles in Auvergne—"Les grands Jours"—La Roche Saint Christophe—Surprised and destroyed—Reoccupied by the Huguenots—Final destruction—La Roche Gageac—Its history—Jean Tarde—Ravages of the Huguenots—Gluges—La Roche Lambert—Habichstein—Bürgstein—The spy—Kronmetz—Covolo—Puxerloch—The shadowless man—Nottingham Castle—Arrest of Mortimer—Outmost castles—La Grotte de Jioux—Clovis crosses the Vienne—Le Gué du Loir—Antoine de Bourbon—Calvin at Saint Saturnin—His cave—La Roche Corail—Cave in which the "Institute of the Christian Religion" was written—Effects produced by this work—Preparation of men's minds for reform—Havoc wrought to art by the Calvinists—La Rochebrune—A cave-colander—Necessity for outlook stations—Frontier fortifications

Chapter VII: Subterranean Churches

Basilicas and catacumbal churches—Preference of the people for the latter—The cult of martyrs encouraged this—Crypts—Elevation of relics—Church of SS. John and Paul on the Coelian Hill—Temples were originally sepulchres—Basilican churches converted into mausoleums—Dedications—Altars of wood changed for altars of stone—At first the bodies of martyrs were not dismembered—But dismemberment was made necessary by the transformation—The Martyrium of Poitiers—S. Emilion—Carvings—Crypt—Aubeterre—A Huguenot stronghold—Orders issued by Jeanne d'Albret—Her extended powers—The monolithic church—Menaced by ruin—Rocamadour—Lirac—Mimet—Caudon—Natural caves used as churches—Gurat—Lanmeur—Story of S. Melor—Dolmen Chapel of the Seven Sleepers—Another at Cangas-de-Ones—Confolens—Subterranean churches in Egypt—In Crete—The sacred caves in Palestine—Revival of cave sanctuaries by the Crusaders—Springs of water in crypts

Chapter VIII: Rock Hermitages

Tibetian recluses—Christian hermits in Syria and Egypt—The Essenes and Therapeutæ—Description by Philo of the latter—Buddhist and Manichæean influence—Difference in motive—Likeness superficial—Possible necessity for the adoption of asceticism—Instance of extravagant asceticism in Syria—Extravagances in Ireland—In England—Early European solitaries—The Beatus Höhle—Grotto of S. Cybard—Decadence—Hermits in Languedoc—In Germany—A grocer hermit—Hermitage at S. Maurice—The Wild Kirchlein—The cave of S. Verena at Soleure—That of Magdalen at Freiburg—Oberstein—Hermitage at Brive—La Sainte Beaume—Sougé—Villiers—Montserrat—Subiaco—La Vernia—Warkworth—Knaresborough—Robin Hood's stable—Roche—Anchor Church—Royston cave—Its carvings—Kindly remembrance of the hermit—The hermit a loss

Chapter IX: Rock Monasteries

The hermits self-excommunicate—Liability to create a schism—S. Paul—S. Mary of Egypt—S. Anthony—Enormous number of solitaries compels organisation into monasteries—Causes inducing flight to the desert—S. Athanasius at Trèves—Writes the "Life of S. Anthony"—Impulse given to flight from the world in the West—S. Martin—Desires to imitate the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert—At Poitiers—Founds Ligugé—Rock cells—Later history and ruin—Martin becomes Bishop of Tours—Founds Marmoutier—History and ruin—Martin and the masqueraders—Present state—Baptistry—The Seven Sleepers—Brice elected bishop—Obliged to fly the see—Return and penance—Cave of S. Leobard—Abbey of Brantôme—Underground church—Other caves—"Papists' Holes" at Nottingham—Rock monastery of Meteora—Der el Adra—Inkermann

Chapter X: Cave Oracles

Polignac—Greek oracles—Charonion—Cave of the Nymphs—Exhalations—Delos—Care of Trophonios—Experiences of Pausanius—Cave at Acharaca—Sibylline oracles—Destruction—Forged oracles—Oracles among the Jews—Story of Hallbjörn—Sounds issuing from caves—Echo—Æolian cave of Terni—Purgatory of S. Patrick—The Knight Owain—Visit by Sir William Lisle—By a monk of Eymstadt—Prohibited by Alexander VI.—Prohibition rescinded by Pius III.—Destroyed in 1622—Revival of pilgrimages—Description by Gough—Friar Conrad—Lazarus Aigner—Roderic, King of the Goths—Sortes Sacræ—Condemned by the Church—Nevertheless practised—Instances from Gregory of Tours—Incubation in pagan shrines—The cave of Cybele—Temples of Isis and Esculapius—Churches founded by Constantino dedicated to S. Michael—Incubation practiced in them—Instances—Churches of S. Cosmas and Damian—Practice at Caerleon—Superstition hard to kill—Grotto of Lourdes

Chapter XI: Robbers' Dens

Humphrey Kynaston—His adventurous life—Cave at Ness Cliff—Chinamen—David at Adullam—Bandit caves in Palestine—Lombrive—Surtshellir—Feruiden's cave—Gargas—La Crouzafce—The haunts of Grettir—Dunterton—Precautions against burglary—Story of K. F. Masch—His capture—The Leichtweishohle—Adersbach retreats—Babinsky—His capture

Chapter XII: Rock Sepulchres

Difference between the tombs of the Israelites and those of the Egyptians—The reason for this—Jewish catacombs at Rome—Christian catacombs—Puticoli—Numerous catacombs—Those of Syracuse—Those of Paris—Crypts became vaults for kings and nobles—Desecration—That of Louis XI.—The instinct of immortality—Cave burials—In the Petit Morin—Scandinavian burials—Death regarded as suspended animation—Hervor at the cairn of Angantyr—The cairn-breaking of Gest—The barrow of Gunnar—Sigrun visits her husband in his cairn—The story of Asmund and Asvid—The same ideas in Christian times—Mamertinus and Corcodemus—"De Miraculis Mortuorum"—Ancestor worship—Persistence of usages derived from a remote antiquity—Neglect of thought of the dead—Double nature of man—The spiritual world—A walking postman—Conclusion


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1924, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.