A Conversation for Castleton, Derbyshire, UK
Ebarchery Started conversation Feb 13, 2006
I recently went on a tour here and the enthusiastic guide banged on about a play/poem written by the playwright Ben Johnson referring to a thief called Cock Laurel entertaining the diabolical one in the Peak Cavern which allegedly culminates in the devil letting out an almighty display of flatulence after munching on righteous folk. He obviously links this to the adoptive name of the cavern, The Devil's Arse.
However, try as I might I cannot find any such text referred to on the net directly by Johnson, although have had a few inconclusive hits relating to Thomas Hobbes. I'm sure the tour guide has his literary history in a twist but I would love to get to the bottom of this, if you will pardon the pun, one way or another. Any information or links someone could give me would be fantastic...
Metal Chicken Posted Feb 16, 2006
An interesting question! Cave guides are a breed apart for embroidering stories to entertain the visitors.
This wasn't one I'd come across before but after a few minutes googling I found the text of a Ben Jonson play called "The Devil is an Ass", that does indeed have a mention of a cave called the Devil's Arse, in Derbyshire, in the Peak. (near the end of Act 1, Scene 3). It looks more like an aside than the culmination of any storyline though...
Ebarchery Posted Feb 16, 2006
Yes, I came across that one but as you say it seems only an aside. I am warming to the conclusion that you are pretty near the mark with your description of the nature of cave guides and this fella, "Paddy" by name I seem to recall, would be a fine exponent of his craft.
Still, made for an interesting tale nonetheless and if his intent was to catalyse enthusiastic interest it would appear to have worked with me at least!
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