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.

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.

‘Scotia’s Beauteous Queen’ – talk by David Templeman

Mary Queen of ScotsWednesday the 24th June 2015

Apologies, but due to unforeseen circumstances this has been postponed.

David Templeman – Friends Of Manor Lodge – provides his ultimate illustrated talk on ‘Scotia’s Beauteous Queen’ – ‘Mary Queen of Scots and the Road to Fotheringhay’. Concentrating on her last years in Sheffield Castle and Sheffield Manor – A Tale of Intrigue and Tragedy – largely played out in Sheffield. A must for Members of FOSC.

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.


agm2015The second AGM of the Friends of Sheffield Castle took place on 16th April and a healthy attendance of over 40 people, was much appreciated.

Over the past 12 months, the Friends have organised a number of talks including topics such as Mary Queen of Scots, The Lords of Hallamshire, The Cathedral and also we staged a re-enactment of the siege of Sheffield Castle on what was probably the wettest day of last summer!! We have also supported our other local Friends, at Bishops House and the recently formed Friends of the Old Town Hall.

I’m sure you will have seen the rapid demolition of the old Markets site and you can already get an impression of the huge size of the old Castle footprint. As we reported in September last year, the Council were unsuccessful with their Heritage Lottery Fund bid however, a revised bid for new funding has now been submitted to compliment the Councils ‘Grey to Green’ corridor project, which stretches from Snig Hill through to the Quays.

The plan still remains to reveal what remains of the Castle, in an open space area alongside a de-culverted River Sheaf and as part of an overall improvement in the wider Castlegate area. If successful, trial archaeological trenches will start to be dug this time next year to determine the extent of the remains.

agm2015Over 240 members have joined us since we launched back in October 2013 and we look forward to increasing our membership over the coming months. We are grateful for your ongoing support, as funds raised through membership goes towards putting on talks, hiring venues etc. We were also grateful for suggestions from the members on the night and would also welcome any ideas or offers of help for the Group, moving forward.

Our guest speaker at the AGM was Vanessa Toulmin, Head of Public Engagement for Sheffield University and we learnt of the significant plans to re-vitalise the whole Castlegate area. One part of this will be the Castlegate Vibrancy Festival on 20/21 June, so watch this space for more details.

We have 2 new talks planned for the coming months, please follow the events link above. I hope you find them of interest and look forward to seeing you there.

Martin Gorman
April 2015

Friends of Old Town Hall meeting

Nicole Ruskill took these photos of the FOSC display at the Friends of Old Town Hall meeting on 17th March 2015. Please support this valuable group.

Captain Bess

A historic tradition, and shrouded in legend, is the story of “Captain Bess”. She was Elizabeth Birley of Middlewood House, who married William Longsdon, a member of an old Derbyshire family. The story is told that during a skirmish in the neighbourhood of Sheffield during the Civil War, Longsdon was seriously wounded. His wife, who had been a spectator of the incident, gallantly rode into the fray and rescued him, despite the fact she was big with child. Even now her courage was not abated, for she returned to the field of battle and resumed command of her husband’s horse. Her exploits earned for her the titleof “Captain Bess”. She carried her husband to Middlewood , where, despite her devoted attentions, he died and was buried under the east window of the Parish Church of Sheffield. A son was born within a few days of his death.

(From ” A history of the Manor and Parish of Wadsley “by the Revd. H Kirk-Smith)

Sent in by Peter Bayliss