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

Caesar's Camp (Keston)



Caesar's Well, the chief source of the Ravensbourne, is situated near the entrance gates to Holwood Park. Mr Hone's interesting "Table Book," written in the year 1828, contains an account of a visit paid, in company with his friend W--, to the source of the Ravensbourne. At the time of that visit it would appear that the spring was known locally as the "Bath." In the time of Mr Pitt's residence at Holwood it was much used as a bath, and its waters were supposed to be possessed of valuable medicinal properties. Hasted's plan of the camp at Holwood (pub. in 1778) shows the well or bath, and twelve trees are represented as growing close round its margin, and there are appearances of steps leading down to the water.

[..] The name Ravensbourne is commonly supposed to take its origin from the following tradition. When the Roman soldiers were encamped at Holwood there was great need of water. A raven was seen to frequent a certain spot near the camp, and upon close examination a small spring was discovered among the bushes. Upon digging out the place a copious spring was found, and from the accident which led to that discovery it is supposed the stream took its name.
Definitely some confusion - a raven would definitely help the native Britons, not the Romans! And of course the camp is not Roman at all, though that's surely what I believed when I went paddling about in this spring as a kid. Only parts of the camp's ramparts remain. There is a gap on the western side near the spring: the record on Pastscape seems to imply this was the main entrance.

From Antiquarian Jottings relating to Bromley, Hayes, Keston and West Wickham, in Kent, by George Clinch (1889).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th December 2013ce

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