Nottingham City Council
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The caves which are found here as well as all over Nottingham are one of the most difficult and intricate problems of local archaeology. Some of them are natural; others are artificial, but date back to prehistoric times, others again are mediaeval or even modern cellars. They have always been famous, and Asser, the friend and biographer of King Alfred, writing about 900, tells us that the ancient name for Nottingham was Tiuogobauc, which he translates as meaning ' the cave dwellings.' Later etchings and pictures show the caves with windows fixed in place, used for habitation and storage. The caves here show the bottom entrance of 'Mortimers Hole' which was a secret tunnel through the castle rock up to the castle itself. The passage way is eerie enough but is made all the more so by the reputed presence of the ghost of Sir Roger Mortimer himself. Mortimer, the Earl of March and lover of Queen Isobel, was probably her accomplice in the murder of Edward II. On the night of October 19th 1330 the Queen and her lover Mortimer were staying at Nottingham castle. Seeking to bring his father's killer to justice and expose his feckless mother, the young King Edward III entered a network of secret tunnels that led ultimately into the castle itself. With a band of loyal supporters the King burst into his mother's bedroom and surprised the lovers. Edward himself is said to have seized Mortimer. The now doomed monarch killer was led away, so legend has it, to Isobel's mournful cries of 'Fair son, have pity on the gentle Mortimer.' Sir Roger was imprisoned in the castle, taken to London and executed as a traitor. He was hanged, drawn and quartered on the 29th of November 1330 and his wretched remains skewered on spikes and left to rot on traitors gate at Tyburn.