Royston Cave has been welcoming visitors to its doors since its discovery in 1742. With entry only available upon request
and via a rope, it wasn’t until the current visitor entrance was dug in 1790 that formal, paid visits were introduced. The 22 meter long tunnel was dug by local builder Thomas Watson, the then occupier of the Town House above. Mr Watson effectively took private ownership of the cave and charged visitors 6 pence for entry. Watson advertised Royston Cave as ‘the greatest curiosity of the kind in Europe’.
By the 1950s, the Town House above had become a shoe shop and its owners, The Pool family, were the last private keyholders of Royston Cave. The cave was Grade I listed by English Heritage in 1964 and leased from the then owners by Royston Urban District Council, who installed railings and electric lighting. In 1969 management was instructed to Royston and District Local History Society who oversaw the cave’s operation and provision of guides.
In 1974, Royston Town Council was formed as the successor to Royston Urban District Council and in 1998, Royston Town Council bought Royston Cave outright. Royston History Society continued to manage it on the Council’s behalf and modern, guided tours were introduced. In 2018, management of Royston Cave reverted back to Royston Town Council.
Cave Entrance Building
WHO WE ARE
Royston Cave is owned and managed by Royston Town Council. Responsibility for the cave's maintenance, conservation, visitor experience and daily operation is entrusted with the manager, who reports to a Council sub-committee.
ROYSTON CAVE TRUST FUND
The Royston Cave Trust Fund is a registered charity. The objects of the Royston Cave Trust Fund are (1) to maintain, repair, restore, preserve and conserve Royston Cave for the benefit of the public, (2) to advance education.
The Royston Cave Trust Fund provide Royston Cave with vital funding for facilities, research, and conservation. Its board is comprised of 9 trustees including Councillors, members of Royston and District Local History Society and the manager of Royston Cave.
Charity no. 1092953
We believe our heritage belongs to us all. That’s why we’re committed to improving accessibility, so more people than ever before can learn about and experience Royston Cave.
We also strive for greater transparency, so whilst Royston Cave’s origin and use may remain an enigma, our knowledge and research will not. By 2021, we are committed to archiving our full story, both past and present, online through the increased provision of information, news, imagery, research and resources, so Royston Cave's story becomes accessible for everyone, forever.