Ancient rock stack on Portland Bill destroyed by high seas

Dorset Echo: THERE: Pom Pom rock at Portland Bill before it was lost to the sea PICTURES: Stuart Morris THERE: Pom Pom rock at Portland Bill before it was lost to the sea PICTURES: Stuart Morris

A ROCK on Portland has crumbled after severe weather battered Dorset.

The rock, which used to be in a stack formation, is on the southern edge of Portland.

Portland historian Stuart Morris added: “Other local residents say they are surprised to see that Pom Pom rock has been destroyed by the weather.

“By incredible coincidence I took a photo of this stack rock just last week. I am not surprised to see it fall as a huge chunk was broken off a few years ago and the rock was looking a bit top heavy.

“However I am amazed that the whole feature, including its base, has been broken by the immense force of the storm waves.

“It weighed hundreds of tonnes and I took a video of people climbing it last year.

“It just goes to show the power of the sea and the recent severe weather in Dorset.

"The good news is that Pulpit Rock is still standing."

Comments (12)

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3:58pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Bob Goulding says...

Pom Pom Rock?

When I was a child this little bay was one of our family's favourite swimming locations and was know at the time as Pom Pom Bay or Pom Pom Cove: I believe in reference to the adjacent WW2 anti-aircraft gun site (the gun's base is still in situ) but as far as I can remember the rock itself did not have a name.

What I also remember is that until about 20-30 years ago the rock was 'supported' by a stack of quarry 'rejects' (large stone cubes) which also retained a coarse limestone gravel beach/terrace which made access to the cove easier and also provided grit to help stabilise the often muddy pathways around the huts.

I don't know for certain what happened to the stone cubes (some say they were washed away) but I believe that the were 'appropriated' to mark out and 'reinforce' the boundaries of the beach hut area (there are certainly many more stone blocks on and around the site than when I was a kid). I have to wonder whether the stone stack would have succumbed had the stone cubes remained.

Perhaps Stuart Morris can shed some light?
Pom Pom Rock? When I was a child this little bay was one of our family's favourite swimming locations and was know at the time as Pom Pom Bay or Pom Pom Cove: I believe in reference to the adjacent WW2 anti-aircraft gun site (the gun's base is still in situ) but as far as I can remember the rock itself did not have a name. What I also remember is that until about 20-30 years ago the rock was 'supported' by a stack of quarry 'rejects' (large stone cubes) which also retained a coarse limestone gravel beach/terrace which made access to the cove easier and also provided grit to help stabilise the often muddy pathways around the huts. I don't know for certain what happened to the stone cubes (some say they were washed away) but I believe that the were 'appropriated' to mark out and 'reinforce' the boundaries of the beach hut area (there are certainly many more stone blocks on and around the site than when I was a kid). I have to wonder whether the stone stack would have succumbed had the stone cubes remained. Perhaps Stuart Morris can shed some light? Bob Goulding
  • Score: 2

7:00pm Wed 8 Jan 14

westbaywonder says...

Forget Stuart Morris,you need the Mayor!
Forget Stuart Morris,you need the Mayor! westbaywonder
  • Score: 0

8:37pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Bob Goulding says...

westbaywonder wrote:
Forget Stuart Morris,you need the Mayor!
Interesting. Do you have any background information that would help to fill in the gaps in my recollections?
[quote][p][bold]westbaywonder[/bold] wrote: Forget Stuart Morris,you need the Mayor![/p][/quote]Interesting. Do you have any background information that would help to fill in the gaps in my recollections? Bob Goulding
  • Score: 3

8:56pm Wed 8 Jan 14

westbaywonder says...

Yes,
It is written that should the current Mayor touch the rock it would be granted Holy status direct from Rome.
Three Bishops will visit the island to give it Holy status should the Mayor ever touch it with his bare hands.

Local folklore around Wyke Regis and Portland since the1400s but i believe there is reference to this kept in the church at Wyke,
Yes, It is written that should the current Mayor touch the rock it would be granted Holy status direct from Rome. Three Bishops will visit the island to give it Holy status should the Mayor ever touch it with his bare hands. Local folklore around Wyke Regis and Portland since the1400s but i believe there is reference to this kept in the church at Wyke, westbaywonder
  • Score: 2

11:03pm Wed 8 Jan 14

JamesYoung says...

westbaywonder wrote:
Yes,
It is written that should the current Mayor touch the rock it would be granted Holy status direct from Rome.
Three Bishops will visit the island to give it Holy status should the Mayor ever touch it with his bare hands.

Local folklore around Wyke Regis and Portland since the1400s but i believe there is reference to this kept in the church at Wyke,
So here's a question. Pulpit Rock. Who put the large slab up next to it? Or is it natural? It looks like it's been put there deliberately but surely that would need one hell of a crane?
[quote][p][bold]westbaywonder[/bold] wrote: Yes, It is written that should the current Mayor touch the rock it would be granted Holy status direct from Rome. Three Bishops will visit the island to give it Holy status should the Mayor ever touch it with his bare hands. Local folklore around Wyke Regis and Portland since the1400s but i believe there is reference to this kept in the church at Wyke,[/p][/quote]So here's a question. Pulpit Rock. Who put the large slab up next to it? Or is it natural? It looks like it's been put there deliberately but surely that would need one hell of a crane? JamesYoung
  • Score: 1

10:25am Thu 9 Jan 14

Bob Goulding says...

JamesYoung wrote:
westbaywonder wrote:
Yes,
It is written that should the current Mayor touch the rock it would be granted Holy status direct from Rome.
Three Bishops will visit the island to give it Holy status should the Mayor ever touch it with his bare hands.

Local folklore around Wyke Regis and Portland since the1400s but i believe there is reference to this kept in the church at Wyke,
So here's a question. Pulpit Rock. Who put the large slab up next to it? Or is it natural? It looks like it's been put there deliberately but surely that would need one hell of a crane?
Pulpit Rock is a relic of adjacent coastal quarrying. It was left there deliberately to act as a navigation marker for the barges that were used to carry stone away from the site. However, as the weather and sea conditions were not always suitable for loading barges from this point, there was also a short railway line (horse drawn) linking the quarry to a cliff-top crane (a timber derrick known as Red Crane) just to the northeast of Portland Bill lighthouse and protected from the prevailing south-westerly winds. The stone slab was indeed placed there deliberately using a similar timber derrick crane, which were commonplace in the quarries at that time.

There is another example of these ‘markers’ further along east cliff, north of the Grove near the high angle battery. This one is called Nicodemus Knob.
[quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]westbaywonder[/bold] wrote: Yes, It is written that should the current Mayor touch the rock it would be granted Holy status direct from Rome. Three Bishops will visit the island to give it Holy status should the Mayor ever touch it with his bare hands. Local folklore around Wyke Regis and Portland since the1400s but i believe there is reference to this kept in the church at Wyke,[/p][/quote]So here's a question. Pulpit Rock. Who put the large slab up next to it? Or is it natural? It looks like it's been put there deliberately but surely that would need one hell of a crane?[/p][/quote]Pulpit Rock is a relic of adjacent coastal quarrying. It was left there deliberately to act as a navigation marker for the barges that were used to carry stone away from the site. However, as the weather and sea conditions were not always suitable for loading barges from this point, there was also a short railway line (horse drawn) linking the quarry to a cliff-top crane (a timber derrick known as Red Crane) just to the northeast of Portland Bill lighthouse and protected from the prevailing south-westerly winds. The stone slab was indeed placed there deliberately using a similar timber derrick crane, which were commonplace in the quarries at that time. There is another example of these ‘markers’ further along east cliff, north of the Grove near the high angle battery. This one is called Nicodemus Knob. Bob Goulding
  • Score: 3

1:33pm Thu 9 Jan 14

IslandJim1 says...

Bob Goulding wrote:
JamesYoung wrote:
westbaywonder wrote:
Yes,
It is written that should the current Mayor touch the rock it would be granted Holy status direct from Rome.
Three Bishops will visit the island to give it Holy status should the Mayor ever touch it with his bare hands.

Local folklore around Wyke Regis and Portland since the1400s but i believe there is reference to this kept in the church at Wyke,
So here's a question. Pulpit Rock. Who put the large slab up next to it? Or is it natural? It looks like it's been put there deliberately but surely that would need one hell of a crane?
Pulpit Rock is a relic of adjacent coastal quarrying. It was left there deliberately to act as a navigation marker for the barges that were used to carry stone away from the site. However, as the weather and sea conditions were not always suitable for loading barges from this point, there was also a short railway line (horse drawn) linking the quarry to a cliff-top crane (a timber derrick known as Red Crane) just to the northeast of Portland Bill lighthouse and protected from the prevailing south-westerly winds. The stone slab was indeed placed there deliberately using a similar timber derrick crane, which were commonplace in the quarries at that time.

There is another example of these ‘markers’ further along east cliff, north of the Grove near the high angle battery. This one is called Nicodemus Knob.
Are you sure Bob, there was large amounts of quarrying at the Bill, but pretty sure Pulpit Rock is a natural sea stack, the rock leaning against it was however put there by quarry men as you rightly mentioned, why and for what reason, not a clue.
[quote][p][bold]Bob Goulding[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]westbaywonder[/bold] wrote: Yes, It is written that should the current Mayor touch the rock it would be granted Holy status direct from Rome. Three Bishops will visit the island to give it Holy status should the Mayor ever touch it with his bare hands. Local folklore around Wyke Regis and Portland since the1400s but i believe there is reference to this kept in the church at Wyke,[/p][/quote]So here's a question. Pulpit Rock. Who put the large slab up next to it? Or is it natural? It looks like it's been put there deliberately but surely that would need one hell of a crane?[/p][/quote]Pulpit Rock is a relic of adjacent coastal quarrying. It was left there deliberately to act as a navigation marker for the barges that were used to carry stone away from the site. However, as the weather and sea conditions were not always suitable for loading barges from this point, there was also a short railway line (horse drawn) linking the quarry to a cliff-top crane (a timber derrick known as Red Crane) just to the northeast of Portland Bill lighthouse and protected from the prevailing south-westerly winds. The stone slab was indeed placed there deliberately using a similar timber derrick crane, which were commonplace in the quarries at that time. There is another example of these ‘markers’ further along east cliff, north of the Grove near the high angle battery. This one is called Nicodemus Knob.[/p][/quote]Are you sure Bob, there was large amounts of quarrying at the Bill, but pretty sure Pulpit Rock is a natural sea stack, the rock leaning against it was however put there by quarry men as you rightly mentioned, why and for what reason, not a clue. IslandJim1
  • Score: 1

1:57pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Bob Goulding says...

Yes, Pulpit Rock is a natural sea stack but it was originally joined to the shore by a natural 'arch' which was removed by quarrying. The rock was deliberately left there by the quarrymen as a marker and I believe the rock leaning against it was placed there simply to restore access to the rock that their quarrying had removed.
Yes, Pulpit Rock is a natural sea stack but it was originally joined to the shore by a natural 'arch' which was removed by quarrying. The rock was deliberately left there by the quarrymen as a marker and I believe the rock leaning against it was placed there simply to restore access to the rock that their quarrying had removed. Bob Goulding
  • Score: 1

2:04pm Thu 9 Jan 14

IslandJim1 says...

Bob Goulding wrote:
Yes, Pulpit Rock is a natural sea stack but it was originally joined to the shore by a natural 'arch' which was removed by quarrying. The rock was deliberately left there by the quarrymen as a marker and I believe the rock leaning against it was placed there simply to restore access to the rock that their quarrying had removed.
Well there you go, always something new to discover about this little Island of our's. The natural progression from Sea Arch to Sea stack sped up a little by the Quarry men. Lets hope its got a good few stormy sea's left it it yet!
[quote][p][bold]Bob Goulding[/bold] wrote: Yes, Pulpit Rock is a natural sea stack but it was originally joined to the shore by a natural 'arch' which was removed by quarrying. The rock was deliberately left there by the quarrymen as a marker and I believe the rock leaning against it was placed there simply to restore access to the rock that their quarrying had removed.[/p][/quote]Well there you go, always something new to discover about this little Island of our's. The natural progression from Sea Arch to Sea stack sped up a little by the Quarry men. Lets hope its got a good few stormy sea's left it it yet! IslandJim1
  • Score: 2

2:20pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Bob Goulding says...

IslandJim1 wrote:
Bob Goulding wrote:
Yes, Pulpit Rock is a natural sea stack but it was originally joined to the shore by a natural 'arch' which was removed by quarrying. The rock was deliberately left there by the quarrymen as a marker and I believe the rock leaning against it was placed there simply to restore access to the rock that their quarrying had removed.
Well there you go, always something new to discover about this little Island of our's. The natural progression from Sea Arch to Sea stack sped up a little by the Quarry men. Lets hope its got a good few stormy sea's left it it yet!
Yes, I agree. I sometimes think that there is more history per cubic foot on Portland than just about anywhere in the world. I say cubic foot because much of the history is below the surface. Aren't we lucky!
[quote][p][bold]IslandJim1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bob Goulding[/bold] wrote: Yes, Pulpit Rock is a natural sea stack but it was originally joined to the shore by a natural 'arch' which was removed by quarrying. The rock was deliberately left there by the quarrymen as a marker and I believe the rock leaning against it was placed there simply to restore access to the rock that their quarrying had removed.[/p][/quote]Well there you go, always something new to discover about this little Island of our's. The natural progression from Sea Arch to Sea stack sped up a little by the Quarry men. Lets hope its got a good few stormy sea's left it it yet![/p][/quote]Yes, I agree. I sometimes think that there is more history per cubic foot on Portland than just about anywhere in the world. I say cubic foot because much of the history is below the surface. Aren't we lucky! Bob Goulding
  • Score: 1

7:49pm Thu 9 Jan 14

grover7 says...

Just wondering if there are any truth in the rumours of Durdle Door being smashed by all the bad weather and about the shingle beaches at Lulworth Cove. Anyone have any info. I`m from Wolverhampton and we love travelling down every year, beautiful area.
Just wondering if there are any truth in the rumours of Durdle Door being smashed by all the bad weather and about the shingle beaches at Lulworth Cove. Anyone have any info. I`m from Wolverhampton and we love travelling down every year, beautiful area. grover7
  • Score: 1

8:03am Fri 10 Jan 14

IslandJim1 says...

grover7 wrote:
Just wondering if there are any truth in the rumours of Durdle Door being smashed by all the bad weather and about the shingle beaches at Lulworth Cove. Anyone have any info. I`m from Wolverhampton and we love travelling down every year, beautiful area.
No truth at all...I think that would have made national news. Did just hear on the radio that the One Show are taking a pre & post storm look at the affected coastlines, should be interresting.
[quote][p][bold]grover7[/bold] wrote: Just wondering if there are any truth in the rumours of Durdle Door being smashed by all the bad weather and about the shingle beaches at Lulworth Cove. Anyone have any info. I`m from Wolverhampton and we love travelling down every year, beautiful area.[/p][/quote]No truth at all...I think that would have made national news. Did just hear on the radio that the One Show are taking a pre & post storm look at the affected coastlines, should be interresting. IslandJim1
  • Score: 1

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