Inside Burrow Mump

Dave Godden

Maidstone, United Kingdom

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St Michaels Church Ruins, Burrow Mump, Somerset

National Trust maintained.

Burrow Mump is a prominent natural formation C.77 feet high which may have been scarped to some extent in the upper part. It is surmounted by a ruined church. The site was excavated in 1939, when a number of terraces encircling the hill were found to have no ditches, but showed evidence of artificial scarping, modified by hill-creep; they yielded Md. material. Md. pits were found on the summit, and west of the ruined church, part of a Norman building which may have been an adulterine castle. The present church was rebuilt in 1724 and 1793 (3) on the foundations of a church, mentioned temp. Edward VI of which the plan was recovered. It was St. Michael’s Borough. The excavations revealed no evidence to substantiate the identification of the Mump as a hill fort, or as the site of one of Alfred’s forts. The finds were presented to Taunton Museum. The upper part of Burrow Mount has been scarped and is similar to a motte. It has a flat top and the steeply scarped sides end on a slight berm after which the hill slopes away naturally. A terrace starting at the foot of the hill on the west winds around the southern side terminating on an old field bank 40 metres from the foot of the motte on the east. This is probably the track up the hill but the final route is uncertain. (PastScape)
Reassessment of the documentary evidence suggests that these provide no support for the castle theory as references to it can either be relocated or do not necessarily refer to a castle. (Dunning 1995)
This prominent natural feature controls route across Somerset levels. It has a long historical association as a fort of Alfred the Great and the earlier documented historic names are Burgh and Borough, Burrow being a later corruption (Susan Carter 2010) Not a good position for a long term centre but possible short term use as a Saxon fortification and/or Norman castle can not be excluded. The surrounding marsh would have made digging a ditch around the hill both very difficult and, for a military view, unnecessary. Certainly it would be a useful rally point for a call up of the fyrd and as such a site for a Norman lord to place a mainly symbolic fortification to demonstrate the change of government post Conquest.

Text from The Gatehouse Website

5 images each of 5 exposure HDR from single RAW file shot on a Canon EOS1000D and processed in PS8.

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Artwork Comments

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