15 May

We recently visited The HellFire Caves in West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The boys really enjoyed going down into the caves through narrow chilly pathways. Luckily its quite well lit but it gets spooky as you go down. Theres a lot of history about the place and some good ghost stories too! The HellFire Caves are a network of man-made chalk and flint caverns which extend 400 metres underground. They are found on the outskirts of West Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire, England.

This Portrait painted circa 1750 hangs at his ...

They were excavated between 1748 and 1752 for Sir Francis Dashwood (2nd Baronet) founder of the Dilettanti Society and co-founder of the notorious Hellfire Club, whose meetings were held in the caves. There are lots of speculation about what really went on in the caves all those years ago but by the late eighteen century they stopped being used due to some trouble with the law etc.. and the caves fell into disrepair. In the 1940’s/1950’s the caves were renovated and turned into a local visitor attraction by Sir Francis Dashwood (11th Baronet).

Two popular ghost stories are that a close friend of Sir Francis Dashwood (Paul Whitehead) who had been the Secretary and Steward to the Hellfire Club requested that on his death, his heart was to be placed in a marble urn in the Mausoleum at West Wycombe. It was sometimes taken out to display to visitors, but was allegedly stolen in 1829 by an Australian soldier. Legend says that the ghost of Whitehead haunts West Wycombe Caves and Hill, searching for his heart. Numerous visitors and staff have reported seeing a man in old-fashioned clothing wandering the passageways, who mysteriously disappears into thin air. Another is the The White Lady, Sukie was a 16-year-old maid at the local George and Dragon Inn in the late 18th century. She was apparently by far the most appealing of the serving staff, and many local men vied for the girl’s affections. But Sukie had ambitions to marry into high society, and rejected the advances. She began dating a local aristocrat, and one day she got a message, apparently from her lover, asking her to meet him in the caves one night wearing her best white dress as a wedding gown. She arrived in candlelight and in her white dress, but it was a hoax by some village boys. She threw stones in fury at her laughing tormentors, but when one of the boys threw one back, she was knocked unconscious. Shocked at what they had done, the boys carried her back to her bed in the inn, but she died during the night. The caves and inn are reputed to be haunted by her ghost, and many staff and visitors have reported sighting a girl in a wedding dress wandering the passageways.

Sadly we did not see either of these ghostly figures but there is an eerie feeling when you’re down there and a relief on getting back to the surface :-{


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Posted by on 15/05/2012 in Uncategorized


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