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Hodgson Hill

There is an ancient earthwork and small mound named 'Hodgson Hill' or 'Trostermount' on the northern end of the eastern shore of Ullswater (grid reference: NY 464233), near Pooley Bridge. Hodgson Hill is likely to be named after a local Hodgson landowner.

Thomas Hodgson was a rich sugar refiner. He owned various estates around the country and lived in Wanstead in Essex. He may have originally come from Cumberland. He died in 1841. In his will he wrote: "I devise all my freehold or customary freehold Estate commonly called or known by the name of Hodgson Hill situate at or near the city of Carlisle in the County of Cumberland….". He left the estate to his son. There was also a property in Holme Cultram near Skinburness. He may or may not be the original Hodgson, or member of the Hodgson family, after whom the Hodgson Hill was named. (Many thanks to Sandra Patchett for finding his will and for this useful information.)

The earthworks are built on and around a deposit of boulder clay, rising to 6 metres above the level of the lake. However, the origin of the earthworks at Hodgson Hill is obscure.

Hodgson Hill

(Ullswater, Cumbria)

A Typical Viking Shore Settlement

(Shillington, Bedfordshire)

Could Hodgson Hill be the remains of a classic Viking fortified shore settlement? Superficial inspection suggests a similarity between Hodgson Hill and other known Viking shore settlements in England (Julian D. Richards, Viking Age England, London: Batsford and English Heritage, 1991, pp. 22-3). It would have been in an ideal strategic position, guarding water and shoreline east-west routes at the eastern fringe of the Viking colony stretching from St Bees through Crosthwaite into the Cumberland dales. The earthworks would possibly have timber ramparts for additional defence. Around one or two hundred armed Vikings could be accommodated within. The Hodgson Hill site suggests a possible slipway at its western extremity for the beaching of boats. These boats would have been used to establish military dominance of the entire Ullswater area.

There is a case for archaeological investigation of Hodgson Hill. 

The photograph below shows Ullswater, viewing in a easterly direction. Hodgson Hill is in the far distance, near the extremity of the lake.