2 December 2011

Brandon Hill dig questions origin of fort

Sondage across English Civil War ditch showing steep sides and flat base
Photo: © Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery

A recent dig on Brandon Hill in Bristol, thought for a long time to be part of the English Civil War defences from one of the sieges there, has yielded unexpected results ...

Bristol & Regional Archaeological Service excavated two trenches near to the Cabot Tower, one going down the hill towards the waterfall and another in a trench at the top of the hill.

While the former (pictured above) is confirmed evidence of an English Civil War-era fortification, the wall in the ditch at the top of the hill was revealed to be from a later, 18th century, folly.

Andy King, who led the excavation, said that the wall may have been built by the owner of nearby Royal Fort House, now part of the University of Bristol, to improve the view from his mansion. Royal Fort House itself is also believed to have been built on the site of the city's Royalist headquarters during the 1645 siege, and takes its 'Royal' moniker from Prince Rupert, who marched out of the city on honorable terms after it was surrendered to Fairfax.

Brandon Hill is the only site in Bristol where remains of English Civil War fortifications survive, and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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