S&SWM PR papers L286


Copy [in Pitt-Rivers' hand] the original sent to Creeche


West St | Bridport | March 22 87


I taken the liberty of writing to inform you that I believe the remains of an interesting Roman settlement or place of cremation are situated on your property near Burton Bradstock for many years a quarry has been worked at Green Hill near Cogden & I found there repeatedly urns, bronze ornaments had been found by the men at work there [sic] I have a collection of Roman & English coins & on enquiry at the Quarry I received a [2 words illegible] of Constantine & on another visit have received many pieces of pottery bulk [?] of various animals human bone & in the bottom of some of the urns remains of the cremations [word illegible] some of the large stones near have been subject to fire only one perfect urn has been got out I believe & I did not get it Most of them fale [sic] to [word illegible] or are already broken [3 words illegible] There is some two feet of dark [5 words illegible] then the natural rock nothing has been opened up but gradually uncovered as the stone is [rest of sentence illegible] Would you not deem it worth your notice would you kindly allow me to carefully uncover some of the turf etc that may be present being subject to [2 words illegible] at any time I have mentioned the matters to William Colford Esq JP & he has wished me to lay it before you I may say that Roman coin & all found in [word illegible] plains around here I have a silver f... [illegible] about BC 150 found on searching [word illegible] land near villas nr Burton cliffs I Should you wish it to [word illegible] as at present I shall be glad to state your wishes to the Tenant as as yet I have not mentioned it to him. Trusting you will not [word illegible] the liberty I have taken in writing

[Salutation illegible]
James Ralls

This copy is by Pitt-Rivers himself, the dreadful handwriting, even worse than normal, is presumably down to the fact that he copied it for his own benefit and not for others to read, though it does seem strange that he copied absolutely all of it, including salutations etc.



[Ralls Ans'd Oct 6/ 92]

Bridport | Sept 17th 1892


I have taken the liberty of sending you per reg'd post a little box containing a bronze Roman key with ring combined, which I dug up with other articles on a camp near Lewisdon Hill. With the kind consent of the owner I have employed my spare time for the last three years in opening up this spot & have found British & Roman coins in bronze & silver, but of the whole which I possess or know of (about forty in all) none are later than Claudius A.D. 41 to 54.

I have a number of other articles fibulae, and bronze & iron lance heads, horse shoes, tesserae of glass etc etc & various things which A.W. Franks Esq has most kindly reported on. I am connected with the Literary & Scientific Institute here & the whole of the finds (at least with very few exceptions) will be soon the property of that body as I understand that we are to receive a grant of £50 from the Dorset County Council for our Museum which will probably be used in buying my little collection of local antiquities. The Rev'd C.V. Goddard (now of Chideock Vicarage near here) had most kindly let me the two first vols of your Excavations in Cranborne Chase which have been of the greatest assistance to me as many of the things both in bronze & iron agree with those you have found. As these vols must be returned to the owner, I take the great liberty of asking if you will be good enough to grant to this Institution in which I am deeply interested, one or more vols of your invaluable records. The names of W. Colfox Esq his son J.A. Colfox Esq & W.A. Daimers Esq as well as the other gentlemen whose names I have mentioned will I have no doubt give satisfactory answers as to any enquiries to the straightforwardness of my intentions in this matter.

Mr Goddard also lent me your "Primitive Locks & Keys" so I knew you were especially interested in this subject, & shall be very proud & pleased if the key I now add to your collection may prove of use or value to you Trusting my petition may receive your favourable consideration

I remain
Yours respectfully
James Ralls

P.S. I much regret I was unable to clean the dirt from it without injury

Lieut General Pitt-Rivers F.R.S.

This is Add.9455vol3_p856 /4



Ralls | Ansd. by Gray May 27/95

Bridport | May 24th 1895


Hearing from the man at Broom Quarry, Hawkchurch, that they had recently found some implements I went there yesterday & received what they had & inspected the place. With several gangs of men there continually at work sending out two ballast trains a day the place will soon be a thing of the past & I  much regret that no record has ever been made of this prehistoric Sheffield The cliff at which they are working is about 45 feet high & I should judge it about 65 ft in all above the present Axe.

I herewith send you per parcel post a few of the best I received thinking they may be worthy of a place in your Museum. Should you prefer to buy them please send me what you think they are worth, but if I may be so bold I should far rather have a spare vol of your "Excavations" for my personal use & can assure you that its influence will not be wasted while I live. I have the rough unfinished specimens, flakes, & raw material quite at your service should you think them worth sending.

Yours respectfully

James Ralls

[Published records of sections]

General Pitt Rivers F.S.A. | Rushmore

These were accessioned in the catalogue of the second collection


L1304 28.5.1895 from Ralls is about the arrangements for Pitt-Rivers himself to visit the quarry with Ralls

L1305 8.6.1895 from Ralls enclosing sketches of implements from Broome Quarry and also photos [no longer with letter] of the the quarry taken by the assistant of Sir H. Peek.



Ansd | by Telegram | Sept 11/95

Bridport | Sept 10th 1895


I take the liberty of informing you I received a note from the men at Broom Quarry this morning saying that they have another lot of flint implements better than you [insert] I [end insert] have had before. I thought that this offers an opportunity of receiving them direct from the men, & seeing the exact depth they are found. I shall be very proud to meet you [insert] at Chard Junction [end insert] at any time you may appoint & if you cared to return via Bridport I could order a carriage to meet you there. In returnin we should pass Pilsdon, & Lewesdon, also the Roman site from whence I have gathered my best antiquities.

Yours respectfully
James Ralls

General Pitt Rivers | Rushmore

The nearest station is on the South Western line Chard Junction

Should you be unable to go, would you like me to send on another lot of these implements.


L1390 16 September 1895 from Ralls confirms that a box of implements has been sent to Pitt-Rivers, accompanied by a note from the quarryman (which is not enclosed).


L1909 is a letter dated 18.11.1897 [answered by Gray on 31.12.1897] regarding a box of teeth and bones from Kent's Cavern, Torquay sent by Ralls 'as I thoguht they may perhaps be of intereset or use in your Museum'. These are not listed in the catalogue of the second collection.

It seems that Pitt-Rivers did not go but Ralls sold them to him for 30/-, see Add.9455vol3_p1205 /1 and on

Transcribed by AP May/ June 2011 as part of the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project.

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