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Beacon Hill

Hillfort

<b>Beacon Hill</b>Posted by tomatomanImage © tomatoman
Nearest Town:Loughborough (5km NNE)
OS Ref (GB):   SK510148 / Sheet: 129
Latitude:52° 43' 40.87" N
Longitude:   1° 14' 40.98" W



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<b>Beacon Hill</b>Posted by tomatoman

Folklore

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Beacon Fire- Mr. Langham, of "Needless Inn," informs me that he well remembers that thirty-four years ago there stood, on the highest point of Beacon, an erection of rude and ancient masonry, about six feet high, of a round form, and having in its centre a cavity about a yard deep and a yard in diameter, the sides of which were very thickly covered with burnt pitch. This, he says, had all the appearance of having been used for holding the beacon fires. He remembers, too, that at that period, the entrenchments were much more visible than they are now [...]
History and Antiquities of Charnwood Forest, T.R. Potter, 1842, p48.

Beacon Hill. - Not satisfied with my single opinion of these extraordinary remains, I requested Mr. Lester, a highly intelligent farmer and surveyor, who lives at the foot of Beacon, to examine them. He was perfectly astonished. Though long resident, almost upon the spot, and aware of the remains described as lying on the south-west side of the hill, it had never occurred to him that there were others. "Often," says he," as I have crossed that wonderful hill, and always with the feeling that it was a charmed spot, I have been either so occupied with the distant prospects, or so circumscribed in my immediate view by the inequalities of the surface, that I have never before once noticed the most remarkable fortifications to which you have directed me."
Potter, p49.

Wake at Nanpantan. - The Annual Wake, now kept on Nanpantan, but formerly kept on Beacon, the origin of which is lost in obscurity, may be a remnant of [a Druidical] festival.
Potter, p45.
I'll take the Druidical festival with a pinch of salt, but the Beacon must have seen its fair share of revels. I totally understand the farmer not being able to look round for "inequalities of the surface" - that often affects me. And I like his italicisation of charmed... it hints at a fairyish spot.

Collected into 'County Folk-lore: Printed extracts no. 3, Leicestershire and Rutland' by C.J. Billson (1895).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th March 2017ce
Edited 6th March 2017ce

Beacon Hill is topped by a univallate hillfort – the only one of its type in Leicestershire. It probably dates from the late Bronze Age / early Iron Age. In 1858 a late Bronze Age founder's hoard was discovered, including two spearheads and a socketed axe. An axe mould and a bronze bracelet were also found on the hill, which hasn't been systematically excavated (info from the SMR on Magic).

Its name suggests it was once used for lighting signalling fires - or maybe, being the second highest hill in the county, it is a pretty conspicuous beacon in itself.

Janet and Colin Bord say in 'Mysterious Britain' that the fort is haunted by a monk accompanied by a dog. 'Surely a dogwalker in a big coat,' I hear you cynically mutter. However, the monk is said to have a 'skeletal face' – spooky.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th August 2004ce