ⓘ Gilmerton Cove
Gilmerton Cove is a series of underground passageways and chambers hand-carved from sandstone located beneath the streets of Gilmerton, an ex-mining village, now a southeastern suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland.
A five-year collaborative project between Gilmerton Heritage Trust and The City of Edinburgh Council allowed the newly restored Cove to open in 2003 as an educational resource for the community as well as a place to visit.
There are many theories about the origins of the Cove and its purpose. It is known that it was the 18th century residence of local blacksmith, George Paterson. The parish records show that he was reprimanded for allowing alcohol to be consumed within the Cove on the sabbath. It is not known whether Paterson was responsible for carving the Cove.
In 1769 Thomas Pennant mentions the site in the context of Newbattle Abbey saying that In the woods adjacent to this seat are some subterraneous sic apartments and passages cut out of the live rock: they seem to have been excavated by the ancient inhabitants of the country either as receptacles for their provisions, or a retreat for themselves and families in time of war, in the same manner, as Tacitus relates, was customary with the old Germans.
Extensive archaeological and historical research has failed to resolve the mystery. In 2017, research by scientists from University of St Andrews and University of Edinburgh using ground-penetrating radar indicated that the network of passageways and chambers may be more extensive than that currently exposed.
Popular theories are that it was used as a drinking den for local gentry, a Covenanters refuge, and a smugglers lair. In 2007, the documentary television series Cities of the Underworld featured Gilmerton Cove in the episode Scotlands Sin City which postulates that the Cove was linked to a nearby Hellfire Club building via a secret passage.
- century. Gilmerton used to be a coal mining village. Below its centre is a series of shallow linked caves collectively called Gilmerton Cove Traditionally
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