Kynaston's Cave

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Kynaston's Cave
Nesscliff, stairs to Kynaston's cave - - 689163.jpg
Stairs up to Kynaston's cave
Co-ordinates: 52°46’9"N, 2°54’50"W

Kynaston's Cave is a cave in a cliff by Nesscliffe in Shropshire. It is reputedly where Humphrey Kynaston lived during his life as a highwayman, and it is named after him.


Wild Humphrey Kynaston was a well-born lad, the son of the High Sheriff of Shropshire under Henry VII, but in 1491 he was convicted of the murder of John Hughes at Stretton,[1] After being declared an outlawed, Kynaston moved into a cave in the Nesscliff area and took up highway robbery. He lived a lifestyle compared to Robin Hood.[2]

From 1491 to 1518, Kynaston operated from his cave and gained a reputation for robbing from the rich, and giving to the poor, which ensured the local folk gave protection and fodder to him and his horse Beelzebub. It is said that he was a regular patron at the Old Three Pigeons tavern at Nesscliffe, and his original seat is still there. He was never hanged for his crimes: accounts vary as to whether Kynaston received a pardon form King Henry VII or from his son, Henry VIII.[2]

The cave

Today the cave is known as Kynaston's Cave. It has two rooms: Kynaston lived in one, and stabled Beelzebub in the other. The cave also featured an iron door for an entrance. This iron door is said to later have become the door for Shrewsbury gaol. There is also an engraving in the cave, which reads H.K. 1564. Although this engraving is concluded to be made by Humphrey, he was dead 30 years before the year 1564. However, he did have a grandson, Humfridus (b.1530) who may have left the inscription.


  1. The Flude Genealogy Website Roger Kynaston (c. 1450–1517)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Discovering Shropshire's History, From Castle to Cave: The Story of Wild Humphrey Kynaston, 2 October 2006