Thursday 6 June 2013

Holy Austin

No, not my friends Mark and Julie, though they certainly are. Above Kinver sits an outcrop of sandstone which carries this name.

In this outcrop are several caves, natural and man-made.

In these caves, houses were made, in which people were living until the 1930s.

Some of the interiors seemed fairly basic.

The smoke feeds out through a roughly hewn chimney.

Other parts have been restored to how people remember them pre-war.

 Some have definitely been touched up and made extremely cosy.

The houses sit on three levels, and the views from the front door are stunning.

There are high quality wells near, and the interiors are warm in winter and cool in summer.

Although records are hard to come by, families appear to have lived in these stone houses for about 3 centuries. There are stories from the 18th century about hospitality offered to travellers, and from the 19th century about the residents capitalising on the popularity of Kinver as a destination for a railway outing or Sunday School picnic, offering tea and cakes and the use of "the facilities", for a suitable price.

So whence the "Holy Austin" name? No one really knows, but since the name dates back several hundred years, it is assumed that at some point an Augustinian hermit might have lived in the caves. Before they were upgraded, of course.


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