The Friends of Sheffield Castle are a voluntary group who aim to protect and promote the archaeological site of Sheffield Castle for the benefit of the people of Sheffield and surrounding areas, and for future generations.

We will acquire and disseminate information about Sheffield Castle, at both local and national levels and work with local, regional and national organisations to protect and promote the remains as a source of enjoyment, education and inspiration for All.

The Battle of Sheffield Great Park – Ron Clayton writes

An unforeseen work commitment means that I can’t be up at the Manor Lodge on 1st August for the Battle of Sheffield Great Park so, because I can’t tell you in person about the fascinating world of Civil War Artillery, with its sakers, demi-cannons, culverins, etc, I have provided here a few online thoughts for you to ponder:

The Queens Pocket Pistol has been featured on this website before and it’s worth a look back at this truly iconic piece of Sheffield’s history which (unlike the Town Guns of the 18th Century, now in Kelham Island Industrial Museum) was fired in anger by both Royalist and Parliamentarian. Some of the myths about the QPP are easily dismissed, one being that it was powerful enough to be fired from its now permanent home (Dover Castle) to project a missile onto the French shore.

In a local context, the story that it was sited on Wincobank Hill to batter a breach in the wall of Sheffield Castle is a myth. Nor was it sited on Spital Hill (hence the demolished locality of Cromwell View). In fact, the story that the QPP and its companion demi-cannon were individually sited in the vicinities of the “Big Gun” in the Wicker and the “Cannon” in Castle Street has slightly more credibility (more especially in the case of the former). But what is undeniably true is that the arrival of these two large siege/artillery pieces spelled the death knell for the Royalist occupation of Sheffield Castle in the August of 1644.

However, many mysteries remain. When you folk explore the Turret House at Manor Lodge you will note two cannonballs of vastly different sizes in the room occupied by Manor Lodge’s excellent Sheffield Castle Display Boards. The smaller one was found in a wall of the ruins and the other in a cellar: but why, and what were they doing here? We have no record of any fighting on the site.

The Civil War was in many ways a rather amateurish affair except for the experience brought to the conflict by those officers who had fought in the Thirty Years’ War, such as David Leslie or those who displayed a flair for the military art such as Cromwell himself (the nearest the eventual Lord Protector came to Sheffield being Doncaster). We know that cannonballs were in short supply and were cast at Wortley and Wadsley Forges – and stone ones have also been found in Sheffield – so such ammunition was precious as well as being heavy! Don’t try to lift the big one. It’s capable of breaking masonry, let alone your foot!

One wouldn’t discard such valuable assets, so did they just “fall off a cart” as things tend to do in Sheffield?

Either way, this “roundshot” has left a mark on Sheffield’s history and its Castle, as will be evident when the ruins emerge and we see the actual cannon-shot damage that was first noted in the 1920s.

Ron Clayton

The Battle of Sheffield Great Park

Saturday 1st August 2015 from 11am — 4pm

battle2015aAn English Civil War re-enactment with “The Sealed Knot Society”
at Sheffield Manor Lodge

Visit the camps of the Cavaliers and Parliamentarians, decide who you want to support (King or Parliament?) and then watch them fight an epic battle, which commences at 12.30.

Also come and visit the Friends of Sheffield Castle and Friends of Manor Lodge tables to see our display presentations, promotional goods and general information. We also look forward to welcoming new members and anyone who would like to assist our “friends” groups in any way.

Tickets from Green Estate (not the Friends):
in advance:    adult: £3    child: £1.50
on the day:    adult: £4    child: £2.00

book via email: info@greenestate.org or call 0114 276 2828 (Green Estate)

Enter through Sheffield Manor Lodge Discovery Centre, 197 Manor Lane, Sheffield S2 1UJ

(NB: this is a “Manor Lodge Green Estate” event with the Friends of Sheffield Castle and the Friends of Sheffield Manor Lodge in attendance):

Lady Arbella Stuart – The Queen that Never Was

Friday 25 September at 7.15pm Sheffield Cathedral

arbella stewartThe Friends of Manor Lodge and Sheffield Cathedral are pleased to present a commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of Lady Arbella Stuart, 1615 – 2015.

Join us for an evening of history, drama and music in the magnificent surroundings of Sheffield Cathedral as we enjoy a talk by David Templeman on the Life of Lady Arbella Stuart, followed after the interval by a dramatic interpretation of her life, featuring the characters of Lady Arbella, Bess of Hardwick and Mary, Queen of Scots. The evening will conclude with a grand procession of the principal characters and their ladies-in-waiting to lay a wreath at the Tudor Shrewsbury Chapel within the Cathedral.

Sheffield Cathedral (then Sheffield Parish Church), would have been very familiar to Arbella Stuart, who visited regularly as a child and later as an adult. Her uncle, Gilbert (7th Earl of Shrewsbury) and her aunt, the Countess Mary, lived at Sheffield Manor Lodge and are buried in the Shrewsbury Chapel vault, together with Arbella’s mother, Elizabeth, Countess of Lennox.

In recognition of this close association we are proud to present this event to honour Arbella’s memory on the anniversary of the date of her death. Please book early as tickets are limited.

Tickets prices £12 / £10 concessions (60+)

Available online from www.sheffieldcathedral.org or in person from Sheffield Cathedral shop.
For further information phone 0114 275 3434

Castlegate Festival 2015

Well over 1000 people attended the Castlegate Festival, and kept us very busy!  As ever, there was keen interest from people and much support for seeing the Castle remains unearthed and properly displayed.

The demolition

Some great photos taken by James Wilkinson.

Castlegate: A Guide in Words

Saturday 23rd May

A creative writing workshop with award winning poet A.B. Jackson
Time: Meet 10.30am for 11am start, finish at 3.30pm
Venue: Exchange Place Studios, Exchange Street, Sheffield S2 5SZ

Award winning poet AB Jackson and COCOA lead artist Paul Evans will lead this exciting creative writing workshop based at Exchange Place studios within the Castlegate Quarter of Sheffield. The workshop will include a short guided walk through the area, allowing us to take in some of Castlegate’s historical locations for inspiration. This workshop is ideal for any creative person, irrespective of their experience of creative writing. It will be particularly suitable for artists and writers with a personal connection with Castlegate, or with knowledge of the area. During the workshop we will use a variety of techniques for exploring space and time through the medium of text.

FREE OF CHARGE but BOOKING ESSENTIAL Please e-mail abjackson1@gmail.com to reserve a place.

nb. this event is not organised by FOSC.

Archaeological Excavations at the Manor Lodge – illustrated talk by Peter Machan

diggingWednesday 23rd September 2015

Peter Machan – Local Author and Historian provides an illustrated talk on the Archaeological Excavations at the Manor Lodge 1969 – 2012. A unique look at work carried out at the site of Sheffield’s other major site of interest and partner dwelling to Sheffield Castle and a rarely provided talk on the research carried out on what may have originated as a medieval hunting lodge. Please don’t talk about secret tunnels!

7-30 at the Central United Reformed Church – Corner of Norfolk Street/Chapel Walk-finish 9pm – Refreshments available.

Admission £2 for members of FOSC, £3 if not – you can join on the night. Click to enquire

Please note that our new FOSC T-Shirts are now available to purchase at the bargain price of £10.