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Old Rothbury


<b>Old Rothbury</b>Posted by HobImage © IH
Nearest Town:Alnwick (17km NE)
OS Ref (GB):   NU046020 / Sheet: 81
Latitude:55° 18' 42.86" N
Longitude:   1° 55' 39.07" W

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<b>Old Rothbury</b>Posted by Hob


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It always seems a bit odd to find a hillfort half-way up a hill. You'd think it would have been too easy for attackers to lob missiles down from above.

But, the inhabitants of Rothbury must have had their reasons I suppose. The fort is on a nicely situated plateau, and there are traces of hut circles. They went to a bit of effort to build the double ditch and rampart system, though in some places there's just a single bank and ditch, as the natural slope is pretty steep.

There's also a cairnfield with it's own enclosure running up to the top of the hill, where the burial cairns and rock art can be found. EH say the cairns are clearance, but as they've not been excavated, and also as there are a number of confirmed burial cairns, I'd like to know how they could tell by just looking. Like those who build forts halfway up hills, I suppose EH must also have their reasons. As must the people who chose to pile field clearance cairns next to rock art, and then enclose the carin field.
Hob Posted by Hob
16th May 2005ce


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[From] the lucid notes of Capt. Hedley [...]

"A fine entrance to this camp may be seen at the S.E. corner, where a ledge of rock forms an excellent passage to the hill face overhanging Rothbury. This gateway may have had some connection with a rampart and ditch, which, first seen near the County Hotel, run up the hill face towards the camp, and join in a portion of their course a deep gully known as Anton's Letch, which once used to harbour a ghost [..]"

"A large oblong rock, jutting out from the southern face of the hill on which the camp stands, is known as "Kate's Kist." It has a horizontal cleft near its top. Whether this curious name is a freak of modern local nomenclature, or whether it enjoyed a more extended use, going back to pre-Roman times, it is not for us to suggest [..]"

Below the camp also is Cartington Cove, a recess or cave which, local tradition says, is connected by a subterranean passage with Cartington Castle, three miles distant! The rock at Cartington Cove had at one time a series of incised concentric circles and central hollows, which were called in the locality "Cups and Saucers."
Captain Hedley's words were originally in Arch. Aeliana vol 13. Quote from 'Upper Coquetdale, Northumberland: its history, traditions, folk-lore and scenery', by D D Dixon, 1903.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st September 2010ce
Edited 21st September 2010ce