[If the text below uses any of the terms ‘hill-letter’, ‘river-letter’, ‘old-style name’, ‘transitional name’ and ‘inversion-type name’ a reader who is not familiar with those terms may wish to refer briefly to ‘The Celtic names of hillforts’, where an explanation of those terms is given].



The Celtic names of hillforts


Weatherby Castle


Location: south of Milborne St. Andrew, Dorset

OS map reference:  SY 807 962                                        

Celtic name: Bindogladia

Source:  Ravenna Cosmography (38) - Bindogladia

             Antonine Itinerary (Iter XII) - Vindogladia 

                                       (Iter XV) - Vindocladia 


This multivallate hillfort surrounds the summit of a hill, the slope being fairly steep to the east, south and west.

The Celtic name Bindogladia is a compound in the hill-letters n and l, where the old-style element Bind means ‘high hill summit’ and the old-style element glad means ‘steep hill summit’. In this name the n is n1 and the l is l1. In other words the hillfort was at one time occupied by people who used the hill-letter n1 and they called the fort Bindo. Later the fort was taken over by people who used the hill-letter l1 and they added their element glad, the full name now being Bindogladia. The name seems entirely appropriate for the site of the hillfort. Note that the people who added the element in the hill-letter l were the Durotriges (see  'Ptolemy's Celtic tribes in Britain').

The Ravenna name may refer to the hillfort itself, to a Roman post set up inside the hillfort after the inhabitants had been evicted, or to a fort which the Romans may have built nearby and to which the name of the hillfort was simply transferred. The Antonine Itinerary forms show the common change of bv. This Vindogladia/Vindocladia was presumably a posting station built at the foot of the hill crowned by the old hillfort. The posting station will have been on the road from Badbury Rings to Dorchester.