Burrow Mump

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Burrow Mump and St Michael's Church

Burrow Mump is a hill and historic site overlooking Southlake Moor in the village of Burrowbridge within the English county of Somerset. It is a scheduled monument and the ruined church on top of the hill is a Grade II listed building.


Burrow Mump is also known as St Michael's Borough or Tutteyate.[1] Both words 'burrow' and 'mump' mean hill.[2]


The hill is 24 metres (79 ft) high,[3] and stands at a strategic point where the River Tone and the old course of the River Cary join the River Parrett, above the surrounding low lying land of the Somerset Levels.[4] It is made of Triassic sandstone capped by Keuper marl ascribed to the Mercia Mudstone Group.[4][5]

Early use[edit]

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.[6] The plateau at the top is 45 metres (148 ft) by 25 metres (82 ft) and along with the scarped top of the slope formed the motte which may have been formed during The Anarchy between 1135 and 1153.[7] The site has been called King Alfred's Fort, but there is no evidence of it being a fort[8] or any link with Alfred The Great,[9] apart from its ownership by Athelney Abbey which he established.[10] It may have served as a natural outwork to the defended royal island of Athelney at the end of the 9th century.[11]

Excavations have shown evidence of a 12th-century masonry building on the top of the hill. The side of the mound may have been terraced for agricultural use due to much of the surrounding land flooded on a regular basis during the medieval period.[12]

The first recorded writing mentioning this site is from William Worcester in about 1480 when he referred to it as Myghell-borough. A medieval church dedicated to St Michael, belonging to the Athelney Abbey,[13] 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.[9]

The ruins of St Michael's Church on top of Burrow Mump

18th century rebuilding[edit]

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 Hamstone dressings.[14] The attempt at total rebuilding ended in failure to collect enough money, despite donations from William Pitt the Younger and Admiral Hood,[6] and a church for the community was built instead at the foot of the hill (Burrowbridge) in 1838.[14] In the mid 20th century the ruin on Burrow Mump underwent some repairs to the north west corner.[14]

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.[15]


The hill and ruined roofless nave with the remains of the porch, some window openings without tracery were presented, in 1946, by Major Alexander Gould Barrett, to the National Trust and serve as a memorial to the 11,281[16] Somerset men who lost their lives during the first and second world wars.[17]

The ruin was classified as a Grade II listed building in 1963.[14] It has been a Scheduled monument since 1949.[7]


  1. ^ "Burrow Mump". The Gatehouse. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Philip Coppens. "Glastonbury: England’s oldest sacred landscape?". Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Burrow Mump". European Garden Heritage Network. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Hawkins 1982, p. 16.
  5. ^ http://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/geologyOfBritain/viewer.html British Geological Survey geological map viewer
  6. ^ a b "Burrow Mump, Burrowbridge". Somerset Historic Environment Record. Somerset County Council. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Burrow Mump: a motte castle, later chapel and associated earthworks". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Burrow Mump". Pastscape. English Heritage. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Adkins 1992, pp. 32-33.
  10. ^ "Report for Aerial Survey Component Block 2: Somerset Levels" (PDF). The Aggregate Landscape of Somerset: Predicting the Archaeological Resource. English Heritage. pp. 23–24. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  11. ^ National Trust, Levels and Moors Partnership. interpretive signs at the foot of Burrow Mump & brochure/map (Map).
  12. ^ "Report for Aerial Survey Component Block 2: Somerset Levels" (PDF). The Aggregate Landscape of Somerset: Predicting the Archaeological Resource. English Heritage. p. 10. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Hawkins 1982, pp. 121-122.
  14. ^ a b c d "Remains of Church on Burrow Mump". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "The St. Michael's Ley, England". Ancient-Wisdom. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  16. ^ Dunning 1983, p. 101.
  17. ^ Leete-Hodge 1985, p. 82.


  • Adkins, Lesley and Roy (1992). A field Guide to Somerset Archeology. Stanbridge: Dovecote press. ISBN 0-946159-94-7. 
  • Dunning, Robert (1983). A history of Somerset. ISBN 0-85033-461-6. 
  • Hawkins, Desmond (1982). Avalon and Sedgemoor. ISBN 0-86299-016-5. 
  • Leete-Hodge, Lornie (1985). Curiosities of Somerset. Bodmin: Bossiney Books. ISBN 0-906456-98-3. 

External links[edit]

  • "Burrow Mump" - a 360° panoramic view from the top of Burrow Mump

Coordinates: 51°04′06″N 2°55′14″W / 51.06840°N 2.92049°W / 51.06840; -2.92049