Author Topic: The Bredenstone  (Read 4846 times)

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Online John

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The Bredenstone
« on: January 13, 2013, 17:58:50 pm »
Dover Express - Friday 13 August 1948

THE BREDENSTONE.
The Bredenstone, on the Western Heights, to-day is a small show piece remaining from a huge mass of stone that was there for centuries before the construction of the Drop Redoubt in the Napoleonic War period, when it was broken up. The stone was the traditional site for the Installation of the Lord Wardens, and was named the Bredenstone, a word of which the origin is uncertain. The stone was also called The Devil's Drop, with a legend as to Satanic origin. What is left of the Bredenstone is on the ramparts of the Drop Redoubt. Immediately below it are foundations (which show in the wall of one of the rooms of the fort) believed to be those of a twin Pharos like that existing at Dover Castle and the Bredenstone was believed to be the remains above ground of such a building. Drop Redoubt is not open to visitors, possibly as a result of damage by hooligans, noticeable in the photograph where chestnut fencing replaces iron railing destroyed.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Online John

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 16:53:12 pm »
Dover Express - Friday 21 October 1892

THE BREDENSTONE OR ARA COESARIS.
In our account of the installation of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in June last, special reference was made to the Bredenstone Hill, where all Installations held since that of James Duke of York, appointed at the restoration of Charles II, have taken place. This hill derived its name from the Roman Pharos erected on the Western Heights, upon the site of the Drop Redoubt. It was known to ancient historians as the Braidenstone or Bredenstone, and there is reason to believe that the Pharos was similar to the one now existing at the Castle, but for several centuries all vestige of it had disappeared.

When Darrell, chaplain to Queen Elizabeth, wrote his History of Dover Castle, the Bredenstone was in ruins, and from an illustration which appeared in that work, very little of the masonry remained at that date. He described it as "Ara Coesaris" or "Devils Drop."

At the close of 1859 the Government decided to fortify the Heights, and the hills were quickly besieged by an army of navvys. The following year the Kent Archaeological Society met in Dover, and being aware of the very extensive excavations intended to be carried out, the Society made a representation to the Engineer in charge of the Works, (Clement Tate, Esq.), urging that every care should be taken to preserve any relic that might be discovered, more especially the foundations of the Old Bredenstone, which were believed to be buried in the hill. Fortunately for the Archaeologists, they found in Mr.Tate an engineer possessing a veneration for the antique, a quality not always to be met with in these days of vandalism, indeed this gentleman proved himself to be in entire sympathy with their object, and spared no effort to give effect to their wishes.

Ultimately, his care and attention were rewarded, for on Her Majesty's Birthday, 24th May, 1861, the base of the Pharos was discovered, and we are enabled to place before our readers a view of the ruins, re-produced from a photograph taken at the time. The following is an extract from Mr. Tate's interesting report:

"Whilst excavating in the Drop Redoubt a depth of about 15ft, my attention was directed to a piece of masonry, which upon inspection of its component parts, shewed it to have been built at a very remote age, and upon further examination it proves to be the foundation of a Roman Pharos, which is known to have stood on the site of the Drop Redoubt, and at a later period of its existence was termed the "Bredenstone or Devils Drop," on which spot in ancient times the Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports were sworn into Office, and with a view of preserving so famous a relic either by particulars or in substance, the excavations have been carefully taken from its surrounding parts, up to the extent required for the intended buildings.

REFERENCES
(A) Is a cavity about one foot deep in the centre, in which was found charcoal from both wood and bone.
(B), A stratum of mortar, flints, and what appears to be Kent rag-stone, making a compact solid concrete.
(C), A Lacing course of two thicknesses, partly of serriated Roman tiles, and partly plain.
(D), A stratum of flints and mortar, partly perished.

The old foundation may be preserved by building it in the wall, or cut into sections for removal."

Mr. Tate's suggestion was approved by the War Office Authorities, and in one of the rooms of the Drop Redoubt may be seen a portion of the Roman work, forming a course in the wall, and that part of the base which it became necessary to remove was deposited on the ramparts immediately over the spot, thus we have preserved to us a lasting memorial of this historical landmark, an event of more than passing interest, especially to the Cinque Ports, it being one that had important bearing in the revival of the ancient ceremony of Installation, which would not have been complete without its foundation.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline cliveh

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2016, 11:22:28 am »
How it looks now with its shiny 'new' plaque added in 2014

cliveh

Offline Man of Kent1

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2016, 12:47:26 pm »
That's something new I've learned about!  Thanks for posting this. ;D

Online John

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016, 08:16:54 am »
and that part of the base which it became necessary to remove was deposited on the ramparts immediately over the spot, thus we have preserved to us a lasting memorial

Now I'm confused. It seems the Bredenstone isn't, in fact, the Bredenstone, but a part of the foundations that was put 'up top' in the 1860's. What happened to the 'real' one?
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline cliveh

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2016, 08:41:32 am »
The stone was broken up. What you see in my photos is the piece alter used at the Installation of the Lord Wardens - or so I understand!  :-\

There is also some more of the Pharos stone remains built into the walls of the Officers' Quarters. It shows up quite clearly as a stratum in the wall. Unfortunately I don't have a photo with me on my USB stick I bring here to work but I'm sure I have one on my PC at home which I'll try and find and post up.

cliveh

Offline cliveh

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2016, 15:44:44 pm »
Here's the photo of the layer of Pharos stone in the wall of the Officers' Quarters, Sorry its not a great pic! :(

cliveh

Online John

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2016, 15:57:16 pm »
Thanks for posting that, Clive. I know I have a photo I took in 1986, but can't find it!

With regard to the lump on top of the Redoubt, I've been scouring the info in the Dover Express. The original Bredenstone, site of the Cinque Ports ceremonies, was buried and lost in 1806. The bit that's now claimed to be the Bredenstone is, as previously stated by the guy who carried out the work on the Redoubt, a chunk from the foundations that was put there in 1861. Although the installation of the Lord Warden did take place using this bit of masonry in later years, and it's all part of the original pharos, it's not the bit that had been referred to as the Bredenstone in antiquity.
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell

Offline cliveh

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2016, 15:59:21 pm »
Ah right - thanks for clarifying that John! :)

Online John

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Re: The Bredenstone
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2023, 16:07:59 pm »
Although the installation of the Lord Warden did take place using this bit of masonry in later years, and it's all part of the original pharos, it's not the bit that had been referred to as the Bredenstone in antiquity.

One such ceremony attached..
"You know, if you don’t read history, you’re a bloody idiot." - James Clavell