The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Pilsdon Pen



(3) Pilsdon Pen Camp, hill-fort (Plate 71), occupies the S.E. end of Pilsdon Pen (909 ft. above O.D.), 1 m. N. of the church. The work consists of an irregularly shaped oval enclosure of 7¾ acres defended, along the contour, by two lines of ramparts and ditches usually with counterscarp-banks. Where the slope is less steep or absent there is an interval between the inner and the outer systems. The lines of the inner ditch on the N.E. side and of the outer ditch on the S.W. side are mutilated by hedge-banks. Except at the N.W. end of the enclosure where there is no appreciable natural fall, the inner rampart would never appear to have been of any great height above the level of the enclosure, in fact the inner scarp is now entirely absent in some portions.

There are now four entrances to the camp exclusive of one or two obviously modern paths over the ramparts. The entrance at the S.E. end, in which the outer defences are set back some distance on each side of the opening, would appear to have been an original entrance. The entrance on the S.W. side has a platform between the inner and outer systems on its S.E. flank. The other two entrances are both at the N. end. The more westerly is modern, but the more easterly is ancient and is masked by a convergence of the defences on both flanks.

At the N. end of the enclosure are two roughly rectangular sinkings with traces of a slight bank running S.E. from the S.E. side of each. It is possible that these sinkings represent an earlier main ditch at this end, the present system being perhaps a remodelling similar to that noted at Abbotsbury. In this connection it may be noted that the main rampart on the N.E. side changes direction sharply opposite these sinkings; on the other hand the outer system, by ignoring this change of direction, would seem to belong to the reconstruction.

Near the middle of the fort is a square enclosure surrounded by a slight bank approximately 25 ft. wide at its base and with traces of a slight external ditch. The bank on the S.W. is apparently formed by a preexisting pillow-mound. Near the middle of this enclosure earlier investigators of the O.S. plainly show a mound. There is now just a suggestion of a very slight circular rise of perhaps about 23 ft. in diam.

Immediately to the E. of this enclosure is a second pillow-mound 107 ft. by 24 ft. There are similar but smaller mounds towards the S.E. end of the enclosure, one 15 yards N.W. of O.S. point 909 ft. is 38 ft. by 21 ft. and 1½ ft. high; the second is 80 yards N.W. of the same point and is 42½ ft. by 22 ft. and 2 ft. high; the third, 80 yards N. of the O.S. point, is 48 ft. by 21 ft. and 2 ft. high. There are also two circular mounds, probably barrows, one 20 yards N.W. of the mound last described and about 49 ft. in diam. and 3 ft. high and the other 40 yards to the S. and 26 ft. in diam. and 1 ft. high. About 55 yards N.W. of O.S. point 909 ft. is a slight circular sinking about 12 ft. in diam.

'Pilsdon', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 1, West (London, 1952), pp. 179-180. British History Online [accessed 19 March 2016].
Chance Posted by Chance
29th March 2016ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment