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Beacon mound on Beacon Hill

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Beacon mound on Beacon Hill

List entry Number: 1016280

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Morden

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 23-Dec-1997

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29067

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Beacons were fires deliberately lit to give a warning, by means of smoke by day and flame by night, of the approach of hostile forces. They were always sited in prominent positions, usually as part of a group, chain or line which together made up a comprehensive early warning system covering most of the country. Beacons were extensively used during the medieval period. Their use was formalised by 1325 and although some were used later, for example at the time of Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685 or during the Napoleonic wars, the system was in decay by the mid-17th century. Beacons were initially bonfires of wood or furze, but later barrels of pitch or iron fire baskets mounted on poles were used. The poles were occasionally set on earthen mounds. Access to the fire basket was by way of rungs set in the pole, or by a stone ladder set against the beacon. More unusual beacon types include stone enclosures and towers, mainly found in the north and south west of England. Some beacon sites utilised existing buildings such as church towers. Beacons were built throughout England, with the greatest density along the south coast and the border with Scotland. Although approximately 500 are recorded nationally, few survive in the form of visible remains. Many sites are only known from place-name evidence. Given the rarity of recorded examples, all positively identified beacons with significant surviving archaeological remains are considered to be of national importance.

The beacon mound on Beacon Hill survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument represents a rare example of its class and is one of few such sites known to have included an artificial mound.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a beacon mound on Beacon Hill, a prominent natural knoll of the Winterborne Valley, offering panoramic views. The beacon, which is recorded on Isaac Taylor's map of 1773, has a mound composed of clay, marl and turf, with maximum dimensions of 18m in diameter and approximately 1.5m in height. The mound has steep sides and a flat top which also supports a former military slit trench approximately 1m wide. The mound is surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. The ditch has become infilled over the years, but will survive as a buried feature approximately 1.5m wide.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 482
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 482

National Grid Reference: SY 90963 95311

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1016280 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2017 at 08:05:45.

End of official listing