January 2019: Shropshire Seals and Seal matrices from the 12th to the 18th centuries
In January 2019 John Cherry gave us a talk on Shropshire Seals and Seal matrices from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Shropshire Museums have recently acquired a silver seal found by a metal detectorist at Wrockwardine, which may have belonged to the 13th century prior of a local abbey. Shropshire Museums were very generously aided by the Art Fund towards purchasing the seal. In his talk, John Cherry looked at a number of seals and seal matrices associated with or originating in Shropshire from the 12th century onwards.
More information and images of the seal (picture used with permission of British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme) can be found here: https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/757251
December 2018 Social Event at Adcote School
This year’s winter social event was held at Adcote School on Friday 7th December. The medieval settlement of Addecote has a written history going back to the Norman Conquest. The present house dates to 1876 and was designed by Norman Shaw RA to a Tudor design and stands in 27 acres of landscaped gardens. The house was owned by the Darby family until being converted to a school in the early 20th century.
November 2018: Shrewsbury’s Town Walls
Our November 2018 talk was on Shrewsbury’s Town Walls, by Hugh Hannaford. Shrewsbury’s town walls date back to the 1220s. They were maintained and repaired for the next 500 years, but since the middle of the 18th century they have been overwhelmed in places by neglect and development. This talk took the form of a virtual tour of the town walls, looking at what survives, and at some recent work to enhance and conserve the town’s medieval defences.
2018 AGM and Annual Lecture: The Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings Project
The Society’s Annual General Meeting, was held on Saturday 22nd September 2018 at The Shirehall, Shrewsbury and was well attended. It was followed by the Annual Lecture which this year was on “The Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings Project” and was given by Nick Hill of Historic England.
Built in 1797, Shrewsbury’s Flax Mill is renowned as the earliest iron-framed building in the world. Abandoned since 1987 when the Maltings closed, and derelict for many years, the site is now undergoing a major transformation. The Main Mill and the Kiln are the focus of a £25m programme of repair and regeneration, one of the largest HLF-funded projects in the country. Nick Hill, Historic England’s project manager, outlined the latest developments on the project, including the intricate repairs to the Main Mill and recent archaeological discoveries.
More Castle visit, July 2018
More Castle is one of many motte and bailey castles built in this area by the Normans following the Conquest in 1066. The Normans quickly formed a network of timber castles across this landscape, to assert their authority on the locals and to keep a watchful eye for Welsh raids from the west. On our short walk from Lydham to More and back we visited the earthwork remains of the castle. We looked at St Peter’s Church, with it’s Roman mosaics and More family chapel, and made a quick tour around the village.
February 2018: “Samuel More – Hero or Villain?”
This talk by Nick Marshall looked at one of the characters of the Civil War in Shropshire. Samuel More was a member of Shropshire’s landed gentry whose father, Richard, was Master of the Linley estate and MP for Bishop’s Castle from 1640. Samuel is best known for his staunch defence of Hopton Castle for the Parliamentary cause in 1644, a siege which came to an horrific end… but there is another story attached to him, one which remained a mystery until 1959 when a chance discovery in the archives of Linley Hall brought it to light.
January 2018: “William Hazledine and John Simpson – Telford’s right hand men”
This talk by Andrew Pattison explored the contribution of ironmaster William Hazledine and builder and architect John Simpson who were so instrumental in realising Telford’s, and others’ plans and designs.
The view from above: recent survey work at Caus Castle and Castle Pulverbatch
Over the past couple of years, a series of non-intrusive surveys have been undertaken at Caus Castle, Westbury, and at Castle Pulverbatch in Shropshire, funded generously by the Castle Studies Trust. The surveys at both sites have employed a nested methodology – large scale topographic survey (using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV], or drone), focused conventional analytical earthwork survey and detailed geophysical survey. The underlying principle has been that, by comparing and contrasting the results of different survey techniques, maximum information can be gained about these sites.
Work at Caus Castle (sited on private land) was largely concentrated on the relationship between the motte and bailey castle and the associated 12th and 13th century borough. Earthwork evidence of the borough itself was quite slight, although some possible house platforms were seen. Earthwork survey allowed the analysis of the hitherto under-examined inner bailey of the castle – mapping the inner courtyard in detail, as well as pointing to some possible early 17th century garden earthworks.
UAV image of Castle Pulverbatch, in context of the village which has been suggested as a planned settlement. © Aerial-Cam, 2017.
Castle Pulverbatch is recognised as one of the finest examples of a motte and bailey castle in the county. In 2017 a programme of geophysical survey and UAV survey at Castle Pulverbatch took advantage of recent scrub clearance by the Friends of Castle Pulverbatch. Detailed resistivity and magnetometry survey was undertaken of all available areas in both the inner bailey on the northeast side of the motte, and the large outer bailey that lies to the northwest. Analysis of the results suggest in situ building material, particularly within the inner bailey, coinciding with earthwork features seen on the drone survey.
Giles Carey, Historic Environment Records Officer, Shropshire Council.
For a fuller account of these surveys please follow this link: Recent survey work at Caus Castle and Castle Pulverbatch
To see 3D models of the surveys, please follow these links:
Caus overall model:
Caus, detailed model of W end of outer enclosure:
Castle Pulverbatch (textured):