The Hermitage Caves

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The Hermitage Caves

The Bridgnorth Hermitage Caves are located on the brow over looking Low Town south of the Hermitage (Wolverhampton Road) and were dwellings of the homeless poor.

The Caves were of Saxon origin. The caves first inhabitant was Ethelward or Aethelard (Grandson of King Alfred) who dwelled here in seclusion as a hermit. The Saxon name for the caves was Athelardetson.

hermitage bridgnorth 2Other hermits are listed as dwelling here in the reign of Edward III and the Magna Britannia of 1727 even records an old cave that was inhabited by a hermit.

There are many accounts of a tunnel from the cave that supposedly ran under the River Severn to the nearby Franciscan Friary as well as a second cave under the castle that connected with the hermitage caves. Nothing has ever been found to prove this existance.

The land was enclosed as the Forest Of Morfe in 1806. Hubert Smith, The Town Clerk, recorded on 4th June 1877 of two cottages in the Hermitage Caves and one  including a fireplace, chimney, window and doorway.

His records show the Hermitage consisted of 4 carved caves, one of the caves was 33 feet in length and used as a Chapel.

Other records tell of a witch who dwelled in a large cave beyond the Chapel who had the power to stop horses.

hermitage bridgnorth 3One of the caves was converted into a Custodian’s Cottage. Jinny and Bill Norton lived here until 1939 when they and their neighbours at the Hermitage Caves, Jack and Diora Jarrett, moved in their new houses in Stourbridge Road.

The caves were visited for many years and a play area for local children. After a tragic accident in 2009 the caves were fenced off in 2010.

Sources : Clive Gwilt, Shropshire Geology, Shropshire Star & Gill Beesty




  1. jenny October 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Are the photos of the cave cottages under copyright. I ask this because
    I would like to paint them in oils and bring them to life with colour if that’s allowed. jenny.

  2. john July 13, 2015 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    These are the president Saxon Land of Ogres. Named So after first Saxon Queen had learned he king had a secret second marriage to a woman he hid in the caves. There was a war in which the king was killed by his own sons army which is where Arthurian Legend gets the death of King Arthur. The river Severn is where the kings daughter from the other wife was drowned by the queen.

  3. Dawn Skelton September 30, 2015 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I have a written note to me from my Granny (born 1917) who lived in one of these cave houses when she was a small girl & her Mother & Father moved there to work on adjoining farm land. (Squashed in with her many siblings! I don’t think it was quite as charming & romantic as I like to think but it’s such a lovely part of my family history…

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