Brent Knoll is associated with local folklore and legends. One legend suggests that the hill was formed when the devil dropped a load of earth, intending to bury Glastonbury. Another legend connects the hill to the story of Saint Michael and the dragon.
An interpolation in William of Malmesbury’s Historia Rerum Anglicarum tells of an expedition by Arthur to destroy three giants on the hill. Yder, one of Arthur’s young warriors, went ahead of his companions and encountered the giants alone. When Arthur arrived, Yder had slain all the giants but had received a serious wound and was unconscious.
Brent Knoll | History
Prehistoric and Iron Age Periods
Archaeological evidence suggests that Brent Knoll was inhabited during the Bronze Age and Iron Age. The hill served as a location for human settlement, and artifacts from these periods have been discovered in the area.
The most prominent archaeological feature on Brent Knoll is the Iron Age hillfort located at its summit. Hillforts were often constructed for defensive purposes, and Brent Knoll’s strategic location made it suitable for such use. The earthworks and defensive structures of the hillfort are indicative of Iron Age fortification.
Roman and Saxon Periods
While the focus of acitivity may have shifted in later periods, Brent Knoll continued to be part of the historical landscape during the Roman and Saxon periods. However, specific historical records from these times may be limited.
At the base of Brent Knoll, there is St. Michael’s Church, which dates back to the Norman period. The church has historical significance and is associated with the hill. The nearby churchyard contains ancient tombstones.
Medieval and Later Periods
The hill and its surroundings likely continued to be used and occupied by various communities throughout the medieval and later periods. Historical records from these times may provide insights into local life and activities.
Gesta Regum Anglorum | William of Malmesbury, 1125
Physical topography in Britain and elsewhere.