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Scutchamer Knob

Scutchamer Knob

Photo: Ian Gillingham, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Moots and Burials at Scutchamer Knob

10 May 2021 (Updated 7 September 2021)

Standing high on the Ridgeway, the hill known variously as Scutchamer Knob, Cuckhamsley Hill or Beacon Hill is a location with more than its fair share of myths and legends.

It is believed to be the site of an ancient 'shire moot' or market during the middle ages, and it is also rumoured to be the burial place of the Saxon king Cwichelm.

Buried treasure?

Rumours that the circular mound contains buried treasure also account for its current shape: it has been dug up on numerous occasions by both treasure hunters and over-enthusiastic archaeologists.

Despite all the digging, no major finds have ever been found here beyond a large wooden stake wrapped in willow twigs that is thought to have either been an ancient 'moot stake', or perhaps the foundations of the beacon that once stood here.

The Legend of Scutchamer Knob

The importance of this spot is emphasised by legends concerning an army of Danes who made camp here in 1006. According to the story they chose this spot because a prophecy had told them that if they managed to reach this high spot they would never leave the island again. They took this to mean that they would remain conquerors of Britain forever.

Of course, the prophecy came true, but not in the way they were expecting. The whole Danish army was slaughtered in battle by the men of Wessex! I wonder if any Danish ghosts still haunt this remote spot?