Antique Engraving Print, “Pulpit Rock, (White Mountains)” engraved by R. Sands after a picture by W.H.Bartlett, published in American Scenery, about 1838. Steel engraving antique print. 8,5 x 5,5 inch. (22 x 14 cm.)
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Pulpit Rock is a coastal feature at the tip of the promontory Portland Bill, and the very southern tip of the Isle of Portland. It is similar to the quarrying relic landmark stack Nicodemus Knob, located close to Portland’s East Weares area, at East Cliff. Pulpit Rock is one of Portland’s most popular attractions.
The artificial stack of rock was left in the 1870s after a natural arch was cut away by quarrymen at the Bill Quarry on the famous promontory Portland Bill. It was intentionally left in place as a quarrying relic. The landmark was designed with religious connections; the large slab of rock leaning again the main stack depicted an open bible leaning on a pulpit. During the time of its creation, the island had many religious groups, and a variety of active churches and chapels. This variety was particularly down to the increasing population on Portland at the time, which due to the labour-demanding government works of constructing the breakwaters of Portland Harbour, and its defensive fortifications such as the Verne Citadel.
The rock has remained a popular tourist attraction on the island, and is often photographed and climbed. Despite the danger, for many decades Pulpit Rock has been a popular place for tombstoning. Pulpit Rock is also a local popular point for Wrasse anglers, and in 1998 the British record Ballan Wrasse was caught here by local expert Pete Hegg.