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 Bastion

Senior Structural Engineer Steve Mettam sent us some  photographs taken of the bastion tower ruins during their pre-demolition surveys in early 2014.

The subterranean ‘low chamber’ is not currently accessible, except via use of harness and winch, by experienced confined spaces trained personnel only. The castle ruins cannot be seen from the new raised ‘lockable’ double triangular surface cover. The square chamber approximately 4m x 4m x 4m deep is experiencing  some groundwater infiltration. We pumped it out once and used infrared heaters to dry it out,  but since the demolition finished at the end of February, it has filled up again now to a depth of 0.5m.

We are trying to determine where the water is coming into the chamber, there is a redundant 300mm dia. service pipe running through it, which we have now CCTV surveyed. I suspect the construction joint between the floor slab and the chamber walls has no waterbar incorporated within it, but the water could also be entering via the surround to the pipe or castle ruins. A survey crew is going to enter the chamber shortly, once we have de-watered it again, to record the chamber’s condition and to try to identify where the groundwater is entering it and we shall make an attempt to ‘stem’ this flow.

A private guided tour of Hardwick Hall

Friday June 17  2016

hardwickFriends Of Sheffield Manor Lodge invite you to a coach outing for a private guided tour of Hardwick Hall (commences 30 mins before the House Opens) plus a vist to Stainsby Mill (edge of the Estate).

9.15 am pickup Pond Hill – just above Old Queens Head
9.35 am pick up Reney Road  Greenhill
10.00 am arrive 5-10 mins walk to the hall-buggies available for disabled.

Cost £19 to include coach fare, private guided tour and tour around Stainsby Mill, Cost for N.T. members is £14 (You must bring your NT membership cards).

Please note the cost of meals and entry to the Old Hall are not included. Hardwick were unable to offer Buffet meals for a coach party

Itinerary 10.30am Tour commences
12 noon finish of tour
12 noon – 2.45pm.  Lunch and optional tour of the Old Hall
3.45 pm leave for Stainsby Mill
4.00pm – 5.00pm Stainsby Mill tour
5.00pm Depart
5.35pm Reney Road Drop off point
6.00pm Pond Hill drop off point

Notes on Lunch Break
Lunch can be taken at the restaurant in the new extensions to Hardwick or just outside there is very large picnic area with tables. NT Members are allowed back into the House and Gardens. For Non Members may I suggest that when the tour finishes in the gardens, you stay inside until you have seen what you want to see before exiting the gardens.

During the extended lunch break, may I suggest that you pop across and tour the Old Hall supervised by English Heritage (Audio Tours available). Both NT/EH members will be free and to Non Members it is £6 or £5.30 for Concessions.

More information/booking – templeman3@tiscali.co.uk

History of the river Don

We’re sure many of you share our interest in the ongoing revival of the river system around the castle site. There’s a fascinating history  available here.

“The Don was once one of the country’s finest salmon rivers. They have been absent from Salmon Pastures in Sheffield for more than two centuries. In fact for much of that time the river has been virtually fishless.Chris Firth’s fascinating history of the river is timely. We now have a thriving coarse fishery again and the first salmon was found in Doncaster on 31 December 1995. Chris’s study shows how man’s exploitation of the Don devastated its ecology long before the pollution of the industrial revolution. Much has been achieved in recent years but much more remains to be done to protect and sustain the river.”

Lady's Bridge

Lady’s Bridge

Castle Sizes

I’ve been giving some thought to how to show people the size of the castle. I think many are like me and 4.2 acres doesn’t mean much, I’m better with football pitches or the size of Wales when comparing. I’ve had a look at Google Earth and measured  the areas of some castles people may have visited, and then downloaded images of them, and this is what I’ve come up with.

Sheffield Castle          4.2 acres
Bodiam Castle            0.48 acres, or if you include the extensive moat, 3.7 acres
Beaumaris Castle       2.5 acres (3.5acres including the moat)
Caernarfon Castle      3 acres
Warwick Castle           2.6 acres (4.2 acres including the motte)

To try to give an impression I’ve attached aerial photos of the castles from Britain from above (Warwick, Beaumaris, Bodiam, Caernarfon)

Peter Bayliss



A celebration of the anniversary of the Norman Conquest
Friday 20 May, 2016

Followers of history will surely find something of interest here.

Conquest 950 is a day of informal talks by academics researching the Norman Conquest and its impact on the north of England. Everyone is welcome. The talks include:

  • 6th Day Of 1066: A Date with the Devil – Blame King Harold for the Norman Conquest. Ian McGill (Grapevine Magazine)
  • Vampires and the Norman Conquest: a Derbyshire perspective. Charles West (Sheffield)
  • Playing Detective: Discovering Scribes in Eleventh-Century England. Christine Wallis (Sheffield)
  • Sheffield Castle – still at the heart of the city. John Moreland (Sheffield)
  • Tasting the past: Unearthing the Chemistry of Medieval Beer. Lee Eales (Sheffield)
  • The Bayeux Tapestry: myths and messages. Michael Lewis (British Museum)
  • Resistance: England after 1066. James Aitcheson (Historical Novelist)
  • What did the Normans ever do for us? Norman-northerner relationships in the post-Conquest period. Aleksandra McClain (York)

For details, please email Alyx Mattison a.mattison@sheffield.ac.uk or James Chetwood jachetwood1@sheffield.ac.uk.

FOSC Annual General Meeting

21 April 2016 – 18.30
Central United Reformed Church, Norfolk Street, Sheffield

Attendees totalled 52 (comprising 40 members, 2 guests, 9 committee members and the speaker). The chair gave a warm welcome to all and fully summarised the past year of group activities, events, negotiations and discussions with the Council, etc.

The treasurer reported that:

  1. we received a grant from the University of Sheffield to buy equipment for use at our events;
  2. at the 2015 AGM members approved changes to our constitution (the first step in our plan to apply for Registered Charity status)
  3. as we have now achieved an annual income of over £5000 (the second step in the process), we will be applying for Registered Charity status in 2016.

The chair reported that:

  1. Chair reported FOSC activities to date and listed activities and events planned for the remainder of 2016.
  2. Vanessa Toulmin (Sheffield University) made a financial contribution to the FOSC which paid for presentation equipment and was received with
  3. FOSC are working with Sheffield City Council on their de-culverting project which may lead to opportunities to learn more about the river and castle.
  4. Hoarding is now up around castle site and art work has been commissioned depicting the history of Sheffield. Launch event to be held   and details to be provided on the website for people to come along to   support.
  5. Castle Market demolition complete with underspend of the budget identified by Sheffield City Council which could be available for funding trail trenches on the site. A decision due this month.
  6. Potential to use the site on an interim basis for events subject to health and safety considerations.
  7. Creation of a park at the castle site with remains visible and is the current likely plan for the site in the next 12 months.
  8. The plans for HS2 could have a big impact on the value of the castle site and development of the site is a possibility. FOSC will work closely with Sheffield City Council to protect the site and its archaeology should this occur.

Chair asked the attendees what they would like to see FOSC doing or to ask any questions:

  1. Are we inputting into Heritage Strategy? – FOSC attended the Heritage Conference in April 2016 and we can learn a lot from the approach taken by Nottingham. An update on the outcomes of the   conference will be placed on the website.
  2. Sheffield’s history goes back much further than steel – agreed
  3. Will there be any archaeology done at the site? – Ultimate aim to undertake trenching with community involvement and trail trenches are   likely with the park proposals at the site.

The Secretary conducted the vote with members re-electing the existing committee of 13 with one change: Marie Gilman retired as secretary, handing over to Holly Smith but remaining on the committee with a commitment to increasing membership and awareness via public shows/events/etc.

The current officers are now:

Chair: Martin Gorman
Secretary: Holly Smith
Treasurer: Glynis Jones
Membership: John Baker

The remainder of the committee are: John Moreland, Adrian Millward, Anna Badcock, Ron Clayton, Clive Waddington, Marie Gilman, Nick Robinson, Lloyd Powell, Hermann Beck.

Members then enjoyed a fascinating talk by Dr Glyn Davis (who was the last archaeologist to undertake an excavation on the Castle site), and Glyn answered many questions from the “audience”.

The evening ended at 20.15 after the Raffle Draw, with Martin thanking everyone for the good turnout and reminding them to keep checking the website for latest information.

The next FOSC AGM will be held on Thursday 20th April 2017 (to be notified to members nearer the time).

Marie Stuart Society – walk around the site of Sheffield Castle

The Marie Stuart Society walk and a visit to the Old Queens Head took place on Sunday 10th April 2016.

Ron Clayton writes:

“A rare sunny Sunday morning in April and here we are gathered at the site of Sheffield’s lost castle at the bottom of Exchange Street. This time we had the pleasure of the company of the Marie Stuart Society, David Templeman (Friends of Sheffield Manor Lodge), Micky Mayhew, author of “A Little Book of Mary Queen of Scots” and our very own Martin Gorman, Chair of the Friends of Sheffield Castle, along with Marie Gilman.

A walk round the castle site and the Sheaf Valley took place culminating in a visit to the Old Queens Head Pub and a rather crowded visit into the cellars of the pub courtesy of mine hosts Zuzana Barincova and Michal Latal (I recommend their ‘Bomber Bitter’ and Czech Cuisine). We couldn’t locate the legendary tunnel from the Manor Lodge but the MS Society did confirm that the cellars were the strangest place they had ever visited in their travels in search of the ‘Captive Queen’.

A good day out and a privilege to have them as our guests. Thanks for the photo Marie.”


Treasures from the City Archives

Friday 15th April 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Sheffield City Archives

An open afternoon at Sheffield City Archives revealing some of the city’s treasures.  View some of Sheffield’s rare historical manuscripts dating from the 13th Century, including the Market Charter from 1296, letters written by Mary Queen of Scots during her captivity in Sheffield in 1571, and other fascinating documents that tell of the history of our City.

Admittance is free, just drop in