Cornwall is a land full of tales, myths and folklore – many of which are somewhat economical with the truth, but Daniel Gumb was a real man who became a legend in his own lifetime.
Born to a humble family in nearby Linkinhorne in 1703, he worked as a stonecutter up on the moor around Stowe’s Hill. I’m not sure whether he was paid much for what he did, but he was obviously pretty good at it because he decided to build himself a cave out of the raw material that was readily available.
The 10×4 metres stone dwelling suited Daniel for several reasons, but whether his wife and nine children appreciated it as much as he did, I wouldn’t like to say.
Apart from saving himself money in the building and running costs, the Flintstone type existence enabled him to follow his love of astronomy. He also had a passion for mathematics, and if he wasn’t following the stars from the roof of his cave at night, he was solving mathematical problems during the day.
He became known as the ‘Mountain Philosopher’, and even Willam Cookworthy, who discovered China Clay in Cornwall, came here to see him.
Daniel Gumb finally went to that great big cave in the sky in 1776 aged seventy three, and his home could have gone to the bottom of the quarry floor if somebody hadn’t had the foresight to move it to a safe location when the quarry was expanded. Although it doesn’t look quite the same as it did back then, there are still some of the original slabs of stone on which he made some mathematical carvings.
The cave can be found on the way from Minions to the Cheesewring next to the quarry. The easiest way to find it is to walk around the edge of the quarry towards The Cheesewring and then just before heading uphill you’ll hopefully be able to see four grassy humps on your right hand side. The cave is tucked in between them.
OS Ref – Map 201 SX258724
Latitude – 50° 31′ 29.3″ N
Longtitude – 4° 27′ 28.51″ W