• James Peck

Going underground in search of Duke link

Rumours of a secret tunnel linking an Elkesley Vicarage to a church has led to the discovery of mysterious ovens built into a sandstorm cave. The find was made by the owner of The Old Vicarage on Park Lane, Sue Jubb who has always wanted to discover more about the legend of an eccentric 19th Century Duke travelling secretly below ground. and now she has her own pieces of history at her home, which is also a wedding venue. "It was really exciting finding the ovens - its uncovering history", said Sue. "There is not much known about the vicarage's history other than it was built in the 17th Century so we're really intrigued about what else we could find." Sue has since dug out bones, thought to be from animals, rags, fragments of metal and lots of soot from the ovens. The ovens were uncovered after being boarded up in one of the property’s sandstone caves, used as a freezer room. The discovery could help archaeologists researching the sandstone caves under Nottingham. Sue contacted expert Dr David Strange-Walker to see if her find would warrant a visit from his Trent and Peak Archaeology team. "I have only seen slightly blurry photos of it but it looks like a classic possibly Georgian, rather nice brick-built bread oven" Dr Strange-Walker said "But without visiting I cannot say for definite." "A college of mine says the bones found are those of sheep." It is interesting as we're raising the profile of sandstone caves in Nottingham and were not aware of people using these caves as far north as Retford "It is adding a lot to our understanding of the historic Notts area," he added. If there is a cave in your garden, or under your house or place of work, Dr Strange-Walker and his colleagues would like to add it to their database. The team is counting any man-made cut into the natural sandstone, as long as some sandstone is visible, as worthy of a visit. Two archaeologists will make notes on the condition, size, features of and access to the cave, take photographs of it, and then survey it with a laser scanner. To let the team, know about a cave, visit:

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