The People of Gibraltar
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 9

Judge's Cave – Glen Rocky - Cochrane’s Cave
It was discovered during the construction of a mansion built in the 1840s for Sir James Cochrane who was the Chief justice of Gibraltar from 1841 – 1877, which is of course where the name of the cave comes from. According to George Busk it was Sir James himself who first discovered the cave:
. . . Sir James Cochrane discovered in his own garden, under a considerable thickness of soil, the entrance into a vertical fissure, which, after descending to a depth of about forty feet, ended in a wide cavern, from which several narrow passages appeared to lead in various directions.  
One of these passages which opened into the wide chamber, at a height of about six feet from its floor, was entered and found to run to a length of about twenty feet, where it terminated in a second cavernous chamber. It was close to the termination of this passage in the second chamber that Sir James Cochrane came upon the remains I am about to describe, and which were brought to England in the year 1864 by Captain Sayers, the police magistrate and well- known historian of Gibraltar.


Sir James Cochrane’s mansion and Garden      (1866)

The story of this skull is confusing to say the list as it appears to have been thought of as that of a Neanderthal. In 1874 the following comments appeared in an article in the American Phrenological Journal:
Having seen the statement in one of the newspapers that this skull was not genuine, but a joke played on Professor Whitney, I wrote to Professor W. Denton of Wellesley,
Massachusetts, on 19th March 1875, inquiring about it. A few days later I received from him the statement that he had visited the place where the skull was found; that certain persons assured him that Professor Whitney had been the victim of a joke. 
Yet these persons had never seen the skull, and were prejudiced against Professor Whitney. The persons who were best informed had every reason to believe the statements made by Professor Whitney were true. The skull is a very remarkable one, and stands alone for the enormous size of the orbits, and I have good reasons to believe it to have been found as stated.
The skull was mentioned again two years later by the American Archaeologist and historian John Patterson Maclean.
The cranium found in bone breccia, in Cochrane's Cave (Gibraltar), "resembles, in all essential particulars, including its great thickness, the far-famed Neanderthal skull. Its discovery adds immensely to the scientific value of the Neanderthal specimen, if only as showing that the latter does not represent, as many have hitherto supposed, a mere individual peculiarity, but that it may have been characteristic of a race extending from the Rhine to the Pillars of Hercules.
Since then I have not been able to trace any further arguments concerning the Judge’s Cave skull but must presume that it was eventually found not to be of Neanderthal origins.

Captain Gorham visited the cave during his time in Gibraltar together with Lt. Anderson and Sergeant Mathews. Gorham left an inscription within the cave marking his visit on the 12th of December 1906.




Judge’s Cave

Duckworth does not refer to any specific Neanderthal findings when he describes the cave in 1912:
It is a “fissure-cave” and a descent is possible to a point about 180 feet below the surface . . .  human bones testify to the former presence of human occupants.


Diagram included in Duckworth’s 1912 article


Since the cave was visited and excavated by George Busk, L’Abbe Henri Breuil who was taken to the site by Colonel Willoughby Verner in 1919, and by Dr Duckworth. Neolithic human remains found in this site and are currently held by the British Museum in London rather than where they ought to be in Gibraltar. There is no mention of Neanderthal skulls which reinforces my suspicion that the one presented to Professor Whitney was indeed either a joke or a forgery.

In 1969 George Palao visited and excavated the cave. The pottery he recovered is kept in the Gibraltar Museum and includes some of Gibraltar's most beautiful pieces. More recently in the cave has been further explored and surveyed by a team of Spanish professional speleologists and by members of the Gibraltar Museum Caving Unit. The consensus is that the cave may have other undiscovered large chambers and that it There is also a possibility that it may link up with other nearby cave systems. It is listed in the 2018 - Heritage and Antiquities Act.

Levant Cave
According to the 2005 Nature reserve document, Levant Cave was discovered during tunnelling operations by the Royal Engineers. The cave runs north to south along the same fault as New St Michael’s Cave and George Palao was of the opinion that a very narrow passage connects these two caves. The tunnelling widened and destroyed most of the cave, but there are still several areas with the kind of formations found in New St. Michael’s Cave.




(1961 - Military Map – detail)

However, . . . According to Kenyon (1911):
A fissure was discovered in 1907 running from Levant Cave to below Spur Battery which is described by those who have explored it as having some of the finest stalactites on the Rock, bearing a strong resemblance in their beauty and variety to those of the famous cheddar caves.
The Levant Cave is one of a group of caves at the southern end of the Nature Reserve which includes George's Bottom Cave, Gibbon's Cave and Tina’s fissure. 
See also St Michael’s Cave Complex

Liddell's Union Fissure
Sir Clive Liddell was Governor of Gibraltar from 1939 to 1941 - in other words during the early stages of the Second World War. I never had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman – but he did encroach indirectly into my life at least once.




From the left – Admiral Sir Dudley North, Sir Clive Liddell and General MacFarlane
                           
After the end of the" phoney war" when I was about 2 years old, Liddle and others came to the conclusion that all women, children - and men below 17 and over 45 - would be evacuated to French Morocco. Liddle unpleasantly classified us all as “useless mouths” in the official documents and with little or no consultation with local leaders I was forced to leave the Rock together with my family.


As regards the fissure I can’t find anything other than sporadic appearances on general lists without any details. The words “Liddell Union”, however, do appear on a plan showing the layout of the tunnels of Gibraltar.




Plan of the Tunnels of Gibraltar - Liddell Union middle left  (Undated – detail)


My guess is that Liddell Union is a tunnel or shelter, that whatever it is it has been named after our “useless mouths” Governor, and that the fissure was probably discovered nearby during WWII tunnelling.

Mammoth Cave (Signal Station Cave)
Found just above the top of the Great Sand Dune on the eastern side of the Rock. The “Mammoth” name reflects the size of the cave – the alternative “Signal Station” refers to the fact that it was just below Signal Station’




The southern area of the Sandy Bay – Mammoth Cave is identified with a red circle

The cave is listed in the 2018 - Heritage and Antiquities Act.

Marble Arch Cave
A submerged cave within the World Heritage site earmarked as having any further potential for future research.
See also Vinny Quarry Cave.

Martin’s Cave
Just below what was once O’Hara’s Tower and part of the Mediterranean Steps series, it is now considered an “important” cave for a variety of reasons, Martin’s Cave is named after a Royal Artillery gunner who discovered it in 1821. 




Mediterranean Battery at the entrance to Martin’s Cave  (1846 – John Murray Carter)


According to George Palao the cave was first explored in 1840 by Captain Webber-Smith of the 48th Regiment.   However, there is considerable literary evidence to suggest that the cave – if not exactly explored to its fullest extent was well known before 1840.

Writing in 1830s Major Richard Hort goes to town on Martin’s Cave in his book on Gibraltar - “The Rock”. First of all, while he sketches the cave, his friend tells him about its legend:
Martin’s Cave! . . . the very head-quarters of spirits – the abode of one of the most powerful, and at the same time revengeful demons that ever influenced the acts of men.
Etc, etc, with more in a similar vein. It then takes him nearly two pages to describe the cave itself.
The entrance to St Martin’s Cave is not at all calculated to attract the attention of the casual observer . . . An immense quantity of rough and shattered particles of the Rock first meets the eye, which, when crossed, the interior of the cave, in all its fairy beauty, stands revealed. 
The roof, covered with a most beautiful frothy substance, reflecting from myriads of shining flakes, the lights exposed . . . beam forth stars innumerable. The splendid ceiling is supported by irregular stalactites . . . rising into dazzling pinnacles . . . may well persuade the looker-on that he then gazes on a magic scene . . . and although far from equalling St Michael’s Cave in grandeur and size, it greatly excels all others in the brilliant loveliness of it form . . . 
And finally, a drawing of the cave by his friend and fellow officer William Lacey.




Martin’s Cave – the broken stalactites tips suggest that souvenir hunters almost certainly among the officers of the Garrison were pretty common   (1830s – William Lacey)


Hort’s naming of the cave as St Martin’s Cave must be a slip of the pen. He names it correctly as Martin’s Cave several times elsewhere. Another visitor who mentions the cave is William Henry Bartlett. In 1851 he wrote the following story which appears apocryphal. Whether it is or not here it is: 
Turning our backs upon Europa Point, we pursued the path along the eastern face of the rock, which in a few moments crept along the very edge of the steep slope of loose stones . . . a truly perilous spot, where a single slip over the loose pebbles . . . must have sent us rolling several hundred feet into the Mediterranean! 


Martin’s Cave – a truly perilous spot (1851 - William Henry Bartlett)
The story goes, that a boy of Gibraltar, who had conceived a spite against some playfellow, proposed to visit the cave with him and two other boys, observing, as they ascended to the fatal spot, " We are four that go up, but only three will come down! " and, watching his opportunity, precipitated his victim into the abyss. 
 In 1867 Frederick Brome - perhaps better known for his discovery of the Genista Caves - excavated part of Martin’s cave. This is how he described his discovery of:
. . . a two-edged sword . . . The hilt was surmounted by a globular pommel, and the whole of this portion of the sword appeared to be of silver. The scabbard had been of leather, lined (apparently) with wood; it was mounted with silver. On the silver mounting at the mouth of the scabbard there was a stamped ornament . . . 
The day following that on which this sword was found, another was discovered, or rather the remains of one . . .The hilt is of the same form as the first, with a globular pommel; it is of iron, and the mountings of the scabbard of copper. It was found fractured in seven places.

A short time after the discovery of the swords, Brome also found in the same cave a copper plate about one and a half inches square with holes at each corner. After giving it a careful clean he wrote that:
. . . an enamelled surface was visible, having depicted on it something like a bird in the coils of a serpent, which has been identified . . . The plate is said to be of "Limoges" work, and of the same period as the swords. The colours on this plaque are still visible, and must have been very brilliant.

Enamelled copper plate digitally coloured with those suggested by the text


Subsequently, George Busk published Brome's findings in 1868 but - unbelievably – forgot to mention either the swords or the enamel copper plate – even though he was almost certainly was responsible for taking them back the UK where they were stored in the British Museum and forgotten about for the next one hundred and thirty odd years.


Finally – and perhaps more ignominiously - the cave was used to house military generators during WWII. However, we have made up for that slight as the cave is now listed in the 2018 - Heritage and Antiquities Act. No.2 cave – but no mention of No 1 – is listed in the 2018 Heritage and Antiquities Act.



2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Introduction
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 1 - All’s Well - Beefsteak
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 2 - Blackstrap - Buena Vista
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 3 - Cave S - Coptic
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 4 - Devil’s Fall - Devil’s Tower
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 5 - Europa Pass - Forbes’ Quarry
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 6 - Genista - George’s Bottom
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 7 - Gorham’s - Harley Street
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 8 - Holy Boys - Ibex
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 9 - Judge’s Cave - Martin’s Cave
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 10 - Monkey’s - O’Hara’s
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 11 - Poca Roca - Ragged Staff
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 12 - Spur Road - St Michael’s -
2019 - The 200 Caves of Gibraltar - Part 13 - Star Chamber - Viney Quarry