[visited 23/4/5] This is a delightful little fort hidden away on the edge of the mendips. I imagine the views are immense, unfortunately it was very hazy / misty on this visit and so I could only make out shadows in the mist. I could however see the Pen Hill transmitter & hill in the near distance, though I suspect the barrow is hidden over the crest of the hill from this angle.
Condition wise this is ok, though the banks are somewhat denuded & I suspect this site has been ploughed in the past. There are also a couple of points where the bank could have been levelled. On the West side is what looks like the remains of a cobbled entrance, which if true, makes this somewhat strange. That said evidence of wheeled vehicles have been found not too far away at the glastonbury lake village.
Accesswise, I parked just off the road to the South of the fort and followed the footpath over it. Its about a 5-10 minute walk up a steep bumpy field. You could possibly get to it via the golf club next door, but that way lies madness.
Folk-lore Jottings from the Western Counties. -- While living as a child at Dinder, in Somersetshire, between the years 1866 and 1867, I remember hearing it said by a woman-servant, who came, I think, from no great distance, that (perhaps with the preface, "they say") if you go up Masboro' Castle (the highest point of the Mendips) on Easter morning, you will see a lamb in the sun..
Folk-Lore Jottings from the Western Counties
Grey Hubert Skipwith
Folklore, Vol. 5, No. 4. (Dec., 1894), pp. 339-340.
I think Beacon Batch is really the highest point of the Mendips. Indeed Masboro Castle is not noticeably high. But I guess there are other particularities here you could sooner take issue with.
This is an Iron Age, bivallate, contour hill fort enclosing about seven acres. The inner bank is mostly 5ft. high but increases to 10ft. at the east end of the camp. There are entrances on the S.E. and N.W. and the latter appears to be original. It formerly had an outturned bank on its S. side. Gray (3) believes the S.E. gap to be original, and here the bank shows traces of a stone core. Also on the S.E. is a much ploughed down bank, (H-I), [See Illustrations Card] about 1ft. high by 10ft. wide, with a shallow outer ditch; it appears to be an outwork. (2-4) Maesbury, a bi-vallate hillfort which presents some unusual features. Both the opposed entrances have been damaged: that to
the N.W. has ramparts abutting at right-angles and a slight ditch, extending N.W. fom the S. side of the entrance, suggests an embryonic out-turning. The "outwork" at the S.E. could possibly have been intended for another out-turned or covered entrance. On the W. side scarping of the main rampart has not been completed, thus leaving a berm at the original ground level between rampart and ditch. The outer rampart is also incomplete. It is simply an interspace on the S.W. side, a weak single bank on the S. & E. sides and a double bank on the N. Throughout, the impression gained is that Maesbury is an unfinished hillfort. Re-surveyed at 1/2500. ST 611472: Maesbury Castle, scheduled. (7)
Maesbury, originally called "Marksbury", mentioned in boundary charterof 702. (8)
..the members ascended the hill, crossed the vallum and ditch of the camp and from the top saw before them one of the finest views anywhere to be seen on the Mendips. On the south the whole plain of central Somerset, backed by the Quantock Hills; Glastonbury Tor in the foreground. Breandown and the Severn on the North, the Chalk Downs and Stourton Towers on the East. Crossing the centre of the camp to the opposite side an equally fine view of the country over which they had travelled in the morning, from the Lansdown hills to the Mendips before them; the late storm having cleared the atmosphere, rendered the distant hills well defined.
From an excursion in the Somersetshire Arch. Soc. Proc. (Bath Branch) 1907.