Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Brief Holiday - Burrow Mump

 A Brief Holiday - continued...

We went from Glastonbury to Exeter to stay with Daughter-who-takes-photos  and Friend-and-Son-in-Law-Who- Loves-Otters.  On the way we passed something I had never seen before – Burrow Mump.

Burrow Mump is a hill and historic site overlooking Southlake Moor in the village of Burrowbridge in Taunton Deane, Somerset. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.  Burrow Mump is also known as St Michael's Borough or Tutteyate.  Both words Burrow and Mump mean hill.  It is a natural 24 metres (79 ft) high hill of Triassic sandstone capped by Keuper marl.

Archeological surveys have shown some Roman material and three medieval pits. It is likely that it was a Norman motte with a terraced track which spirals around the hill to reach it. It probably served as a natural outwork to the defended royal island of Athelney at the end of the 9th century.  Excavations have shown evidence of a 12th-century masonry building on the top of the hill.
A medieval church dedicated to St Michael, belonging to the Athelney Abbey, dates from at least the mid 15th century. This formed a sanctuary for royalist troops in 1642 and 1645 during the English Civil War, and a detachment of the king's army occupied it in 1685 during the course of the Monmouth Rebellion.


In 1793, the church was rebuilt with a west tower, 3-bay nave and south porch, in squared and coursed lias with red brick and Ham stone dressings. The attempt at total rebuilding ended in failure to collect enough money, despite donations from Pitt the Younger and Admiral Hood, and a church for the community was built instead at the foot of the hill (Burrowbridge) in 1838. 

The ruined church is one of the churches dedicated to St. Michael that falls on a ley line proposed by John Michell. Other connected St. Michaels on the ley line include churches built at Othery and Glastonbury Tor.

 The keys sites on this alignment are:

St Michael's Mount Grid Ref: SW 52456 29857
Carwynnen or Giant's Quoit Grid ref: SW 65006 37187
Ladock Church Grid Ref: SW 9446 51062
Bofarnel Downs (Tumuli) Grid Ref: SX 11817 63367
The Hurler's Stone Circle Grid Ref: SX 25837 71298
The Cheeswring Grid Ref: SX 25762 72478
Great Links Tor (Dartmoor) Grid ref: SX 55073 86753
Cosdon Hill (Dartmoor) Grid Ref: SX 63598 91553
West Buckland Church Grid Ref: ST 17324 20518
Burrow Mump Grid Ref: ST 35920 30528
Glastonbury Tor Grid Ref: ST 51180 38603
Oliver's Castle (Hill Fort) Grid Ref: SU 00098 64687
Beckhampton Long Barrow Grid Ref: SU 08704 69107
The Avebury Henge Grid Ref: SU 10269 69957
Temple Farm Grid Ref: SU 14849 72362
Dorchester Big Ring Henge Grid Ref: SU 57305 95218
Drayton St. Leonard Church Grid Ref: SU 59660 96520
Pitstone Church Grid Ref: SP 94224 14929
Ivinghoe Hills Grid Ref: SP 96219 16209
Bury St Edmunds Abbey Grid Ref: TL 85905 64254


  1. John, much as the idea of Ley Lines is attractive I fail to see their significance unless they lie on the same Latitude. I wonder if the angle of this Ley Line is at twenty three and a bit degrees to the equator. It could explain why it is at an angle. Those Angles weren't daft. A bit daft maybe dragging rocks from Wales to Stonehenge.
    It was a good holiday you had.

  2. What an intriguing place! This is the first time I hear of a St. Michael's line, what's it all about?

    1. The answer can be found in the Goddess Wiki's memory -

      Ley lines /leɪ laɪns/ are supposed alignments of a number of places of geographical and historical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths, natural ridge-tops and water-fords. The phrase was coined in 1921 by the amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins, in his books Early British Trackways and The Old Straight Track. He sought to identify ancient trackways in the British landscape. Watkins later developed theories that these alignments were created for ease of overland trekking by line-of-sight navigation during neolithic times, and had persisted in the landscape over millennia.

      In 1969 the writer John Michell revived the term "ley lines", associating it with spiritual and mystical theories about alignments of land forms, drawing on the Chinese concept of feng shui. He believed that a mystical network of ley lines existed across Britain.

      Since the publication of Michell's book, the spiritualised version of the concept has been adopted by other authors and applied to landscapes in many places around the world. Both versions of the theory have been criticised on the grounds that a random distribution of a sufficient number of points will inevitably create "alignments".

  3. CJ, how fascinating. I've always been intrigued by Glastonbury and its many, many legends and stories. But I'd never heard about the Ley Lines, ending at Bury St. Edmonds. I do think there are far more things than are dreamt of in our philosophies, and it's fun to hear about some of them. Thank you.

  4. What always fascinates me are the names, and places got such names. Those, i think, have more meaning than ley lines, as so many things can be made to line up if you want them to.

  5. I don't think I've ever heard about ley lines before either. Interesting, even if I don't know exactly what to make of it ;) This post reminds me that I miss Time Team... Is that (British archaeology) series still on in Britain? I'll have to check if it's still broadcasted on any of the channels I get...

    1. Time Team has just finished its last series but effectively the one before was the last real series because the 'team' broke up after that. There are always repeats on some channel or another in the UK. I think More 4 is the main one if you get that at all?

  6. This is all so interesting.
    I actually watched a documentary on the History channel a while back highlighting these ley lines across the UK and most of Europe...I think it was the Ancient Aliens documentary and I found it very very interesting.


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