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.

Templeman Talk

A healthy attendance of 40 plus attended FOSC’s event at the United Reform Church, Norfolk St last night to hear popular Tudor historian David Templeman on Mary, Scotland’s Captive Queen and her sojourn in Elizabethan England.

The venue proved popular with members of the audience who were particularly appreciate of the light refreshments served up by our chair Martin Gorman and in-house professional archaeologist Anna Badcock, who led from the front, rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in.

David, chair of the Friends of Manor Lodge, several of whom were in the audience,  showed commendable spirit and cooperation with the pre-event dynamic publicity which these events require. Part two of his talk charting Mary’s tragic but inevitable progress to a block at Fotheringay is on our programme for next year. Don’t miss it

Ron Clayton FOSC



Castle Surrender – more pics

Some more images sent in by Marie Gilman from our reenactment of the surrender of Sheffield Castle.

Castle Inventory

An inventory entitled “A brief inventory of the Lord’s Household…Castell  the charge of Johne Deckenson and Wm. Kettelicke the wardroppe men & others, sene & vewed 18th of June 1582. The list is quite detailed, and there are occasional additions which bring it more to life.

The first part is a list of wall hangings, one of which consists of five pieces and was brought from London. Another, similar, one  is noted as having been sent to Wingfield, (another of the Earl of Shrewsbury’s manors), ‘to Peter Tampeter for to be mendyd’. And yet another is listed as ‘one old hanging of leaves, past service’.

There are long detailed lists of soft furnishings, including two long cushions of black velvet bottomed with black Bruges satin, ‘whereof one is unfilled’. There is also a cushion of blue velvet and blue Bruges satin with a lion, embroidered with studs, and one square cushion of needlework, silk, with a pelican, bottomed with green Bruges satin, with a fringe of blue and yellow silk.

Then comes a long list of furniture, among which is ‘a great chair of wood for my Lord to sytt in on St.George’s Day’, (the Lord, George Earl of Shrewsbury’s Saint’s day).

There’s also ‘a fair square chest inlaid with white bone, made by my Lord Fraunces, with a talbott and SS, standing in the nursery at the Lodge.’ Then there’s the disapproving sounding comment, ‘It is almost spoyled through evyll usinge’! (The talbott was a large hunting dog, and the family symbol of the Earls of Shrewsbury, Talbot being their family name)

Although the spellings are often strange to modern eyes, they are easily deciphered. However,  having covered the Lord’s apartments, we come to the ‘support services’, and things become rather more obscure. Some I’ve been able to identify, for example I now know that a brandreth was a tripod for placing over a fire to hold a cooking pot, and a broyche was probably a skewer for roasting on a spit, but if anyone knows what utensils a bynge, a brecke or a kytte were I’d love to hear!

And what were cobyrons? All I know is that the two mentioned in the will of one Peter Knaresbroughe in 1564 came with dripping pans! And at the Lodge there was a mattock and a pair of garden shears ‘which Leaver hath had’. Presumably Leaver was the gardener? Although the list finishes with the statement,

“All ye kytchen stuff in the Quenes (Mary Queen of Scots) kytchen and my Lords is yett to wryte. And all the husbandrye geare, as waynes and other necessaries for the draughts, at ye Castle  is yet to wryte. .. or the towles that the sadler hath, is to wryte. And also the gardyeners toules yet to wryte.”  So perhaps Leaver up at the Lodge had just borrowed the shears and not returned them? Plus ça change…!

Peter Machin

Castle surrender event

A professional group of English Civil War Renactors is a rare sight in a quiet area of down-town Sheffield at just afternoon on a Sunday. But these folk – from the renowned Sealed Knot, are just that; professional. Their skill at arms as they trail ‘the puissant pike’ (as Shakespeare terms it) is, well, skilful! The close order in which they marched, in the teeming rain, would have graced Whitehall or the Horseguards. Precision, discipline and an education to watch.

Reading out the Terms of Surrender was Col John Bright. Receiving them was Mayor Thomas Beaumont and the widowed, but great with child, Lady Savile. All ceremonies were discharged with grace then a march back into the C20th then back to the Old Queens Head, where the carved heads hewn from the wood of Sheffield Park looked on…….

Missing bodies in the Shrewsbury Chapel vault

Ron has recently made reference again to the ‘mystery’ of the missing bodies in the Shrewsbury Chapel vault, recently opened. I think the following reference, from Pawson and Brailsford’s Illustrated Guide, 1862, throws considerable light on the matter- ‘The vaults under the Shrewsbury chapel have considerable interest attached to them. Hunter makes out a list of eighteen persons buried there. He gives the following account of a visit he paid these vaults in 1809;- “By eight or nine steps from the chancel we descended to an upright door which we found so decayed that it fell from its bolt and hinges on a very slight force being applied to it. We were then admitted to a room about 10 feet square and 6 in height, its stone roof supported by a rough hewn pillar rising in the centre.

We found only two coffins lying on tressels.” The vaults were again entered in May 1858 for the purpose of making a search in connection with the celebrated Shrewsbury peerage case then pending in the House of Lords. The following particulars were given in a local paper at the time;- A list had been made of 17 members of the noble family buried in the vaults, beginning with Anne, Countess of Shrewsbury, daughter of Lord Hastings, and ending with Henry Howard Esq., 1787. In the open part of the vault were two coffins, one of Gilbert, Earl of Shrewsbury, who died in 1616, and the other Henry Howard.

The wooden coffin of the Earl had several times been renewed, and in 1774 a brass plate was put upon it, containing the inscription found upon the lead in which the body was enveloped. On opening the coffin it was found that the lead covering of the body was not in the form of a coffin but was wrapped around it in the manner of an Egyptian mummy. The lead bore an inscription of the full titles of the Earl. Mr Hunter had supposed that the other coffins were walled up on the north side of the vault directly under the tomb of the 4th Earl, and in order to find them an excavation was made in that direction.

After this had been prosecuted for about four feet it was found that the original foundations of the church had been reached. No trace of a vault of any human remains was found. Search was then made under the floor of the vault. Here was found a body encased in lead. The lead tore like course paper, and having been removed from the face it disclosed the skull, evidently of a male person, on whom there still remained some reddish grey hair. There was, however, no inscription. Under this were found two coffins, one containing the body of John Sherburne, gentleman, and the other Ruth, his Widow.

There were also the remains of an empty coffin without date or name. A great number of loose bones were found, with no traces of coffins. The conclusion was that at some period the vault had been ransacked, the lead stolen, and the contents buried here. After excavating the floor for about 6 feet the labourers found themselves stopped by the solid rock.’

Peter Machan

(With thanks to Mike Gleaser)

Beating of the Bounds of Sheffield Castle

1736 mapSaturday 13th September  12 – 1-30pm
Sunday 14th September 12 – 2pm

Meet at the Exchange Brewery

The profile of the Friends of Sheffield Castle continues to expand together with the proposals for Castlegate on not only a Yorkshire but now a national basis. Sunday 14th September sees the ‘Beating of the Bounds of Sheffield Castle’ in which the environs of Sheffield’s hitherto lost medieval stronghold with such related sites as Lady’s Bridge and the Old Queens Head public house can be explored by Sheffielders young and Old (although this walk is not recommended for children under 10).

Meet up with Friends of Sheffield Castle’s Ron Clayton at 12 noon outside the Exchange Brewery, Nursery Street and finish at the Old Queens Head, Pond Hill at 1400 hours. You will require a strong sense of imagination and be prepared to cross busy roads in a safe and orderly manner as well as possessing a sense of humour!

Any enquiries to bigronclayton@hotmail.co.uk.