A healthy attendance of 25 plus, with a sprinkling of archaeological types, enjoyed a fascinating talk by Peter Machan on the diggings that took place at Manor Lodge over a period spanning twenty years. Peter’s tale opened with some beautiful watercolours of the buildings in their rustic decay in the late 18th century and then illustrated them by photography in their grim and grimy condition in the late nineteenth and a rather careless ‘restoration’ by the Norfolk family.

He then moved on to the endearing nineteen sixties ‘follies’ of the resident stone mason and the rather laid back excavations by bare chested (male) archaeology students lugging massive stone lintels across the site in the fashion of a seventeenth century siege gun. Peter made coherent the often off-putting maps of trenches with his photographs and illustrated his talk with an array of finds from flint scrapers to medieval coins, modern pottery, pipe bowls – most intriguing of all Civil War cannon balls. One felt justice has been done to this long neglected site not only in terms of archaeology but also by the speaker.

The night also saw the launch of our ‘I Love Sheffield Castle Mugs’ available at the princely sum of five pounds produced under the auspices of Clive Waddington of Archaeological Research Services Ltd. Just the thing for a cuppa and a hobnob about the eagerly awaited eventuality of similar digs on the site of Sheffield Castle.

Ron Clayton


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