Shrewsbury Castle set for first ever excavation
The inner-bailey at Shrewsbury Castle is set for its first ever excavation as part of a partnership archaeology project funded by the Castle Studies Trust.
The excavation will take place from Monday 22 July to Friday 2 August 2019 and will be led by local archaeologist Dr Nigel Baker and one of the most experienced archaeologists in the region, David Williams.
The excavation is part of a wider archaeology project funded by the Castle Studies Trust to help us better understand the history of Shrewsbury Castle and the stories it holds within its undiscovered archaeology.
Shrewsbury Castle will be open for the majority of the excavation (closed Thursday 1 August) for you to visit and learn more about the excavation and the Castle from the archaeologists themselves.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:
“Shrewsbury Castle is one of the best preserved urban castles in the UK, yet it is one of the least well known and we hope that this archaeological project will help us to raise awareness of this remarkable monument.
“It’s great to see Shropshire Council working with University Centre Shrewsbury and its students as well as volunteers from Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and Shropshire Archives in what has become a real community effort.
“This excavation could unearth some of Shrewsbury’s undiscovered history and I can’t wait to see what is found.”
Jeremy Cunnington from Castle Studies Trust, said:
“The Castle Studies Trust is delighted to be funding the project to learn more about this important but little understood castle. Not only will we learn more about Shrewsbury Castle, thanks to falling out of use so early we will also get a rare opportunity to boost our understanding of how early castles and their baileys functioned and advance our understanding of castles in the UK.”
Dr Morn Capper, Lecturer in history and heritage at University Centre Shrewsbury, said:
“We are thrilled that staff and students at University Centre Shrewsbury are taking part in new research at Shrewsbury Castle, and that these investigations will help plan for its preservation.
“Working alongside Nigel Baker and the team at Shropshire Council allows students to learn how the past is understood, but also how heritage is preserved using ‘real world’ skills. By volunteering with the excavation and public events, Shrewsbury Students will learn the importance of communicating research and how sharing ideas can help build public support to preserve the castle into the future.”
The excavation follows a geophysical survey of the inner bailey which took play in May 2019.
Excavation Open Days
If you’re looking for things to do on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 July 2019, visit Shrewsbury Castle for the excavation open days.
As well as witnessing the first ever excavation of the Castle’s inner-bailey being excavated, you will have the chance speak with the archaeologists and volunteers on the dig, enjoy the stunning gardens.
The dig team will also be running free guided tours of the Castle so you can learn more about its’ history and why the excavation is so important.
Dr Nigel Baker, lead archaeologist for the excavation, said:
“Excavating within Shrewsbury Castle really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as well as a big responsibility as it’s never been done before. Whatever we find (and a substantial stone building is looking likely from the geophysics) the dig team is about to permanently re-write the history of the castle.”
Shrewsbury Castle is owned and managed by Shropshire Council.
Castle Studies Trust
The Castle Studies Trust, founded in 2012, is a registered charity (Reg No: 1148165). The Trust awards individual grants of up to £10,000 to promote the understanding of castles in the UK and abroad. So far it has awarded £100,000 of grants to further the understanding of castles. It is funded entirely by donations from the general public. People can donate in a number of ways: either by credit/debit card at https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/castlestudiestrust; by cheque; standing order or payroll giving.
To learn more about these and previous projects the trust has funded people can visit the Trust’s website: www.castlestudiestrust.org
Shrewsbury Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) and is one of the oldest SAMs in the country. It is also a Grade 1 listed building and was first listed by Historic England in 1953.
The Castle is one of the best-preserved, Conquest-period earthwork castles in England, but is also one of the least well-know. No excavation work has taken place within its current perimeter. It is unusually well preserved because it escaped rebuilding.