Telegraph Woods beacon, 170m north of Fir Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017893

Date first listed: 10-Jun-1998


Ordnance survey map of Telegraph Woods beacon, 170m north of Fir Cottage
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Eastleigh (District Authority)

Parish: West End

National Grid Reference: SU 47086 13717


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 at Telegraph Woods survives well as a rarely preserved example of this type of monument and is likely to retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes an Armada beacon dating from at least 1595, situated on flat land at the highest point of a gravel plateau known as Moorhill or Telegraph Hill, overlooking lower lying land to the west, north and east. It comprises a low mound, approximately 0.1m high and 6m in diameter, lying at the centre of a flat area surrounded by a shallow circular ditch and low inner bank, approximately 31m in diameter. The bank rises about 0.6m above the base of the ditch and 0.3m above the interior of the beacon. The monument has been disturbed in places by tree roots and by erosion along the ditch edges. The beacon is mentioned in John Norden's map of 1595.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 31157

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
White, H T, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in The Beacon System in Hampshire, , Vol. Vol 10, (1930), 271

End of official listing