Cave House

I went to have a look for Cave House on Loxley Common today. The Ordnance Survey map of 1852 shows the dwelling sitting on the edge of a rectangular enclosure so it should not be too much of a problem in identifying it.

I found the remains quite quickly sitting just below the Loxley Edge right where the map said it would be. There isn’t much left of it. Because of copyright I have no image to show, but this is what it looked like here . It was demolished in the 1920’s using explosives, probably from the quarry workings and possibly because there is a quarry right behind it and the approach to the house up a nice ramp would have made easy access for the stone to be removed.

The house was built into the rock and consumed a cave as part of the dwelling. Its construction was known as a fire house, all of it being built of stone including floors, another was the old Robin Hood pub in Little Matlock across the valley, built by the same person. Mrs Revill who lived in the house with her husband was found murdered in the house at the turn of 1812, her husband went quietly mad and finally hung himself at the house before the next year was out.

A few decades before, one Frank Fearn, lured a watchmaker to the Old Horns Inn at High Bradfield and killed him on his way back to Sheffield. He was caught and tried and hung, then gibbeted on Loxley Common for seventeen years until his bones fell out of the iron girdle on Christmas Day. A few years later an accomplice of Spencer Broughton the highwayman escaped capture and hid out on Loxley Common. When found he committed suicide there instead of being captured and hung.

Who would have thought one small area could see so much crime and punishment.

Author: Paul Besley

Writer I have spent most of my life escaping into the Peak District National Park, I have grown to love the solitude it can bring. I also have an interest in the growing field of psychogeography particularly, in post-industrial landscapes. I am the author of Dark Peak Walks published by Cicerone Press. I am also studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University.

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