button to main menu  Gents Mag 1791 p.990

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Gentleman's Magazine 1791 p.990

  Giant's Caves
  Battle of Torquin and Sir Lancelot

Giant's Caves, Torquin and Lancelot

Bottesford, Sept. 27.
AS the trifling account of the Luck of Edenhall (inserted in your Miscellany, p.721), appeared not unworthy of your notice, I will venture to give at least an imperfect description of another curiosity in the same neighbourhood, called The Giant's Cave. From Edenhall, my fellow-traveller and I were conducted to the banks of the river Eamont, where we were gratified with a sight of this curious den. Difference of opinion, unavoidable in most cases, prevents me from calling it "a dismal or horrid mansion". A flight of steps, cut out of the rock (not so terrible as have been represented), led us nearly half way down a bold precipice; and, by advancing a few yards to the right, we came to the mouth of the cave, where a part of the roof (otherwise not altogether safe) is supported by a pillar in the centre. This pillar was evidently intended for the conveniency of hanging doors, or something of the sort, to prevent suprize; and the remains of iron gates, I am told, have not long been removed. Here visitors wish to perpetuate their names, but a soft mouldering stone is unfavourable to the purpose; none of more antient date appear than in the year 1660. This rock, a soft red sand-stone, appears of a vast depth, and the dipping of the strata about 23 degrees West. The cave at the entrance is about 9 feet high and 20 wide, and extends in length about 50, when it becomes more contracted in every point of view. Stagnant water, and dirt within, add to the natural gloominess of the place, and give an unfavourable impression. But the situation is in many respects beautiful - a fine winding river flowing at the bottom of a lofty precipice (not so bold indeed as to alarm) had to me at least a pleasing effect. This, with a very extensive prospect, engaged my attention so much, that I wondered I had overlooked, at a very little distance, on a flat on the opposite side of the river, the church commonly called Nine-Kirks, or Nine-Church, and the parish Nine-Church parish, from is being dedicated to St. Ninian, "a Scottish saint, to which kingdom," according to Dr. Burn, "this church did probably belong at the time of the dedication." A church situated at the extreme bounds of a parish, far from any inhabitants, is not so uncommon a circumstance as it is difficult to be accounted for. A narrow path led us a little further to a chasm in the rock: this is called The Maiden's Step, from the traditionary account of the escape of a beautiful virgin from the hands of Torquin the giant, who, after exercising upon all occasions every species of bru-
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