Fringe Box



Letter: Another St Catherine’s Hill Cave

Published on: 2 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 2 Apr, 2020

From: Victor Howarth

Burpham Church Photo Group

After I saw the report in The Dragon, here is a photo that might interest your readers. I took it almost 40 years ago while doing youth work with Guildford Community Church.

The cave on the Portsmouth Road side of St Catherine’s Hill. © Victor Howarth

I used it with the strapline: “Nothing is left but an empty tomb, some folded grave clothes and a sign saying, ‘Danger, Falling Rocks’.”

It is a cave on the Portsmouth Road side of St Catherine’s Hill.

When I took the photograph I could see nothing inside it so I used a flash-gun. Only when I received the processed film back from Weycolour could I see what lay deeper into the cave, which fitted so well with what I wanted to illustrate.

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Responses to Letter: Another St Catherine’s Hill Cave

  1. Mary Alexander Reply

    April 6, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    The letters about the other cave on St. Catherine’s Hill and the possible oil seepage are very interesting. I have often wondered what was in the cave one sees while driving past.

    The chapel was dedicated to St Catherine because it was on a hilltop. The saint’s body was said to have been taken to Mount Sinai by angels after her death, and so she was associated with hilltop churches or chapels.

    In looking through my papers I have found a copy of a document of 1328 in the Loseley Manuscripts granting the chapel to the rector of St Nicholas. This is in the Surrey History Centre. (The previous rector who founded the chapel didn’t get the proper paperwork.)

    There is a later note on the document which gives the boundaries of the hill, including “watery lanes” to the north and south, going down to the river. The railway tunnel must have altered the south side, so it’s possible that the new cave was in the side of a track going downhill.

    If anyone else has memories of the hill they could all help build up a picture of the site.

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