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Bevois Mount

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Bevois Hill; Sir Bevoys Hill; Padwell Hill

In the civil parish of Southampton.
In the historic county of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Modern Authority of Southampton; City of.
1974 county of Hampshire.
Medieval County of Hampshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU42531337
Latitude 50.91824° Longitude -1.39622°

Bevois Mount has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.

Description

There was an oral tradition that the tomb of Sir Bevis of Southampton was located on Bevois Hill/Bevois Mount. In the mid 18th century, during the building of a summer house on the site of a "barrow", part of a human skeleton was apparently found. In 1770, Speed reported a tradition that Roman coins had been found during ploughing on top of Bevois Hill; this tradition probably dates to the early 18th century, before the hill became part of the grounds of Bevois Mount House. Speed suggested that there may have been a Roman watch station there. There was also a tradition in the 18th century that the mound was a fortification, and an 18th century map indicates the hill with a castle symbol. In the 20th century the mound has been interpreted as an adulterine castle. By 1904 the hill had probably been largely destroyed by quarrying, so it is perhaps unlikely that these finds or interpretations can be confirmed. However there is the slight possibility that evidence survives at the northern end. (Southampton HER)

An anonymous description by a visitor, dated 1753, calls it ". . . A waste large pile of earth, which rises in the form of a cone, from a large wide foundation of great extent and circumference, which they call Bevois Mount. It is supposed to be an ancient fortification, thrown up by the Saxons, under the command of Bevis . . . .". The description goes on to say that the estate owner had converted the Mount into a "kind of wilderness" and cut various walks and labyrinths, and goes on ". . . The Mount terminates above . . . In a kind of fork; and between the two spires is a bowling green, or parterre . . .. On one side of this parterre, declining gradually from the top of one of the spires to the green, is planted a little vineyard, exposed to the south; on the other side, on the very summit of the spire, stands a very fine summer house . . . With a good cellar under it . . .". (Hearnshaw)
Comments

A lost mound. This was a large mound but the descriptions don't seem to mention a bailey. The location, visible from the River Itchen, is perhaps most like that of the large barrows of the early Saxon Kings (cf. Sutton Hoo) but any number of other possibilities exist including a Norman era motte (although a date in the Anarchy would be purely speculative)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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