Friends of Sheffield Castle – Academic in Residence

john morelandWe are delighted to announce that Professor John Moreland, former chair and long-time committee member of the group, has been appointed Academic in Residence with FoSC. Funded by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Sheffield, this position will run from 6th February – 9th June 2017,

This will allow John to work with us on a number of important initiatives, including a project to publish 20th-century excavations on the Castle, consultations on the Castlegate section of the city-centre masterplan, and the involvement of the University’s students and staff in projects to generate ideas from the imaginative regeneration of the former ‘heart of the city’.

Congratulations John!

Mary, Queen of Scots – From Sheffield to Fotheringhay 1584-7

Mary Queen of ScotsThursday 16th February 2017 7:30
Central United Reformed Church
60 Norfolk Street. Sheffield. S1 2JB

An Illustrated Talk by David Templeman,

We follow Mary into further seclusion under her new zealous custodian, Sir Amyas Paulet. She is involved in the Babington plot at Chartley Manor and the charge is High Treason.

This talk relates the compelling tale of the events leading up to and including Mary’s trial and execution. Mary’s courage and conduct come to the fore as she takes her tragic story through Wingfield Manor, Tixall and culminating in the climax at Fotheringhay Castle where she is tried and executed for High Treason.

Was she guilty? This is the question this talk addresses.

This is the final installment in the story of one of the great historical figures and all Mary’s qualities come to the fore in this exciting last chapter of her life. Do not miss it!!

Local castles…

Peter Bayliss sent in this interesting text:

Each of these castles (Tickhill, Conisborough, Peak Castle, Bolsover Castle) contained a self-sufficing industrial settlement; for every country house in ancient times not only did its own cooking, baking and washing, … but did its own brewing, meat-salting, spinning, weaving, tailoring, leather-dressing, upholstering; it had its carpenter’s workshop and its smithy, besides all the apparatus of a farm and stables.

The accommodation for these various arts and crafts was probably provided, at the period when the type of castle we are now describing prevailed, in wooden buildings within the bailey court.

The castle was not only the military and economic centre of a district, it was also its most distinguished school; a school not indeed of letters, but of manners and refinement. Well-born youths, throughout the middle ages, were sent to the household of some noble or great ecclesiastic to learn the manners of a gentleman and the exercises of a knight. In the castle they had the refining influence of ladies’ society, and the stimulating company of a number of young people of their own age. They passed a seven-years’ apprenticeage as pages, and even after they had become squires they still performed most of the duties which at the present day devolve upon servants.

They made beds, laid the table, served the dishes, carved the meat, brought water for the guests to wash their hands, dressed and undressed their lord, and looked after his horses. No personal service for a man of noble birth was deemed degrading. Girls also were received into feudal households, and their services in spinning, weaving, and sewing, which were superintended by the lady of the castle, were very valuable.

[from A Key to English Antiquities: with special reference to the Sheffield and Rotherham District, by Ella S. Armitage, 1897}

A dream job for local archivists!

The Department of Archaeology at Sheffield University have advertised a part-time, fixed-term, Research Associate position to oversee the research into, and the publication of, the material archives from the 20th century excavations on the site of Sheffield Castle. The post is advertised on the University website, job reference UOS014989. Applications should be made via the website.

This post (and the work on the archives) is funded through a generous donation to the Department of Archaeology by a former student passionate about the archaeology and history of Sheffield and its region.

Review of Mary Queen of Scots by David Templeman

mary_coverDavid’s book is surely the last word on Mary in Sheffield. It is of particular interest to a “Sheffielder” and no doubt elsewhere. Its title refers to a former Sheffield public house and fifteen of its twenty one chapters refer to Sheffield.

It will be of great interest to Sheffield Castle ‘fans’ (for want of a better word) because it quantifies the extent and periods where she was held in the Castle as well as the Manor Lodge. It puts flesh on Earl George and Bess and provides insights and anecdotes about the long and eventually stifling captivity of this ultimately tragic Queen.

Well illustrated, it has taken almost as long to research and write as Mary’s sojourn in Sheffield. Available from Sheffield Scene and David himself (

Ron Clayton

Sheffield Castle and Sheffield Manor Lodge – Myths, Misconceptions and Mysteries

ronWednesday 16th November 2016 7:30

At Bishops’ House

‘Sheffield Castle and Sheffield Manor Lodge – Myths, Misconceptions and Mysteries. An Inside View’ by Ron Clayton. “Much Stuff and Nonsense is going the rounds regarding our yet to be unearthed castle – like Sheffield’s lost structure – it’s time the myths and misconceptions shared the same fate – demolition.”

Entry free, but please arrive early to be sure of a place.

We have a Patron!

The Friends of Sheffield Castle are happy to announce that Sir Tony Robinson has put his support behind the Friends’ group and he is enrolled as the first Patron of our charity. We look forward to realising our ambitions for the castle site with the help of one of his ‘cunning plans!’ Sir Tony agreed to be a patron of the charity after delivering his talk at the Crucible as part of the ‘Off the Shelf’ festival.


Dr Clive Waddington, Claire Campbell, Sir Tony Robinson, Dave Keyworth and Martin Gorman (Chairman of FOSC)


Here’s a link to the interview that Martin and Ron did on Sheffield Live TV last week. Sheffield’s own Laurel and Hardy!! It’s in 2 parts, when you load the first part, the second part is available via the back arrow.  It lasts about 45 minutes in total, we would welcome any feedback…