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.

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:

(a)    we received a grant from the University of Sheffield to buy equipment for use at our events;
(b)    at the 2015 AGM members approved changes to our constitution (the first step in our plan to apply for Registered Charity status);
(c)    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 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

Manor Lodge – History Through The Ages Re-Enactment

Saturday 4th June 2016:  11:00-16:00 hrs

“From Roman Times to World War Two”

Experience on site the living camps, displays, drills, sights and sounds of different historical eras – all within the backdrop of the 16th-Century Manor Lodge Turret House and Ruins, with The Friends of Sheffield Castle (visit our stand); Celtic Brigantes; Mediaeval Knights; Civil War Society; Napoleonic Wars; WW2 Home Guard; Children’s Crafts; Bouncy Castle; Face painting.

Tickets on the day:      adult £4.00; child £2.00
Tickets in advance:     adult £3.50; child £1.50

Buy tickets at: www.billetto.co.uk/en/events/history-through-the-ages-reenactment

Email:  visit@greenestate.org
Call:     0114 276 2828 ext 647


Our AGM is fast approaching on the 21st April 2016 at 6.30.

As last year it will be held in the Central United Reformed Church, Norfolk Street, S1 2JB (at the end of Chapel Walk) at 6.30pm. Please do come along! The formal part only lasts 10 minutes and you can enjoy a fascinating talk by the last person to undertake an archaeological excavation on the site, Dr Glyn Davies.

We also need members’ input into our next strategic plans for investigating options for the future of the castle site. Papers, including voting forms, will be circulated to all members towards the end of March. We are very keen to hear from anyone who might wish to bring skills to the Group so please contact our Membership Secretary if you are interested in helping us.

An exciting scene from last year's AGM.

An exciting scene from last year’s AGM.

The site – March 2016

The demolition is completed and we can now plan for the next stage. Here are some shots of the site. Not pretty, or exciting, but wait until we see what lies beneath!

“The Little Book of Mary, Queen of Scots” by Mickey Mayhew

mary_mayhewI have a confession to make. It could be considered so heinous a crime in some quarters, such a heresy that a stake and faggots could quite likely be prepared for me in the most convenient public place and someone get in a stock of Bryant and Mays. The nature of the confession? Mary Queen of Scots does nothing for me. Her links with the ancient masonry of Manor Lodge and Sheffield Castle rivet me not.

Afraid not – despite her being here in Sheffield for the best part of fourteen long years – her only surviving artefacts being two letters written at Sheffield Castle to a Scottish sympathiser – the Laird of Barnbarroch – in Spring 1571.No the stones and mystery of the two former medieval buildings have their own allure. Would that my enthusiasm be shared by others concerned with the archaeology of Sheffield and South Yorkshire. However a recent publication on the ‘Captive Queen’ has aroused my interest and widened my knowledge.

“The Little Book of Mary, Queen of Scots” by Mickey Mayhew – Published 2015 by the History Press – ISBN 978 07509 6151 6 – is anything but little.

It’s a handsome hard back decorated in blue and gold like a page from a medieval Psalter. It’s a veritable A-Z of every aspect of Mary’s life – her men, her maids and her manors and much else including some interesting and informative topic boxes.

A snip at £9.99 extensively illustrated with line drawings – its well worth picking up – even if you a just a Sheffielder for its reflections on the Sheffield connection and its acknowledgements to the work of the Friends of Sheffield Castle and the Friends of Sheffield Manor Lodge.

Ron Clayton

Local events

Two local events organised by other groups but which may be of interest to FOSC members are:

A talk by Dr Jonathan Foyle BA MA DiplArch PhD for Friends of Sheffield Manor Lodge – The fascinating story of the discovery of the bed of Henry VII-the first Tudor

Saturday 12th March at 2.30 pm
Central United Reformed Church, 60 Norfolk Street Sheffield S1 2JB

Ticket prices are £10 for Non Members and £8 for Members – cheques payable to “Friends of Sheffield Manor Lodge.” You can check availability on Tel: 01246 415497 Tickets by post with a SAE please: FOSML, 6 Hawkshead Avenue, Dronfield Woodhouse, Dronfield S18 8NB.

The Marie Stuart Society have their annual general meeting in Sheffield this April for the first time in six years. The Society was  set up in 1992 to promote research into the life and times of the ‘Captive Queen’ and they will visiting the Manor Lodge as per usual. Please note, the AGM is MSS members only.

Ron Clayton will be taking them round the outside of the castle site and the Old Queens Head on Sunday the 10th April – meeting at 11am by the hoardings at the bottom of Exchange Street. If you would like to join this visit please book with Ron on 2346669 or bigronclayton@hotmail.co.uk

Author Micky Mayhew will be on the 10th April walk with copies of his lauded ‘The Little Book Of Mary Queen Of Scots’.Described as ‘A Bright And Breezy Account Of The Complex Life Of Mary Stuart’ [Phillipa Gregory]its an A to Z of everything you wanted to know about Sheffield’s most regal resident,the men, women and locations [including Sheffield Castle, the work of FOSC,Manor Lodge] etc. Its a hardback, beautifully illustrated and an absolute snip at £9.99. Its going to be a great event so come on down!

Friends of Sheffield Castle Chair Martin Gorman and Friends of Manor Lodge Chair David Templeman will be in attendance.A combined event and a great photo opportunity! .

Friends Of The Old Town Hall AGM 2016

The Friends Of The Old Town Hall AGM will take place, as already announced, at 7.15 pm on Wednesday 16 March, at the Friends’ Meeting House, St James’s Street, Sheffield (close to the Cathedral).

The formal agenda will be circulated soon. But we wanted to let you know that following the formal AGM business, we have a speaker. We are delighted that Andy Jackson of Heeley Development Trust will talk about ‘The Story of Sum Studios’. Andy has led one of the most successful regeneration projects in the city in recent years, which has seen the restoration of the first of 3 buildings making up a wonderful Grade 2-listed former board school in Heeley to become work space for small businesses. It’s a great example of how a heritage asset can be brought back into use, even after a period of neglect. He’s going to tell us how it happened.

There will be much for us to learn from this and we hope you will come long to hear Andy, as well as to get an update on the progress the Friends have made in our first year of operation.

We look forward to seeing you on 16 March.

Best wishes

FOTH Committee