Sulgrave Castle Project


Formerly known as “Castle Hill” this prominent earthwork is situated next to the church, as shown on the map below.

Based on O.S. Map. Crown Copyright Reserved.

Extensive excavations were carried out on this site between 1960 and 1976 by archaeologist Brian Davison, revealing the remains of substantial Saxon buildings dating from over 1000 years ago, later extended into a Norman castle.

The Sulgrave Castle Site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument of significant national importance because it is the only one of its type that has been excavated, although no results of the findings have been published.

Sulgrave History Society conceived the idea of obtaining access to the records of the archaeological excavation and, with appropriate professional assistance, analysing these with a view to making the history of the site and the artefacts found thereon available to the wider public.

Coin of King Ethelred II (968-1016), found on the site.

The Sulgrave Castle Archaeological Group  was formed to undertake this work and in July 2004 was awarded a grant of £6,590 from the Local Heritage Initiative to carry out an assessment of the finds and catalogue the documents.

This fund was used to finance Stage 1 of the project, with the following objectives:

1. To carry out an assessment of the finds and documents from the excavations to enable experts to know how much work would be required to complete a full analysis of the material.

2. To produce a catalogue and archive of the records, and start to prepare the finds for permanent archive.

3. To raise awareness and increase appreciation of the Scheduled Ancient Monument, and learn more about the techniques and process involved in post-excavation work.

This work was completed and reported to the Local Heritage Initiative in June 2006 and full details can be seen here……


As a result of the successful outcome of Stage 1 of the project, The Local Heritage Initiative awarded the Archaeology Group a further £18,727 for Stage 2 of the project. The programme for this is as follows:

First year:

1. Analysis of Excavation Records to arrive at the true story of the site, by understanding the sequence of occupation and structures, and obtaining dating evidence from pottery, coins and other relevant finds. This is the first priority, because everything else depends on the results.

2. Complete work of washing and marking pottery and search for shards that join together, in order to reconstruct the vessels for dating, illustration and display purposes.

Second & third years:

1. Use the results of the Analysis to prepare a ‘Story of the Site’ for presentation to the Public in the following ways:

a) Design & Erect Interpretation Board on site: Create reconstruction drawings of the Castle as it would have appeared 1000 years ago, make line drawings from site photographs and then design, produce & erect the Sign Board

b) Produce Leaflets & information on Sulgrave website, using the information and drawings in a) above.

c) Children’s Day Event and Exhibition, September 2007

d) Produce Educational Pack for schools, tied in with National Curriculum requirements, and offering day visits to the site with a planned structure and programme of worksheets, activities and ‘hands on’ sessions. One-day ‘prototype’ schools event, summer 2008. (Possibly in association with Sulgrave Manor)

2. Finish preparation of all finds and documents for archiving

3. Academic Report presented in the Archaeological Journal or other journal of similar status. The report will be arranged by Queens University Belfast and the Archaeological Advisers.

Progress in this work will be reported from time to time on this website and in the village newsletter.

Information Leaflet 2014


One Response to “Sulgrave Castle Project”

  1. It is hoped that a Final Report, written by Dr Richard Ivens, will be published in “The Archaeological Journal” and perhaps other academic publications later this year (2016).

    An illustrated article written by Martin Sirot-Smith, Chairman of Sulgrave History Society and Treasurer of the Archaeological Group, will appear in the next edition of “Hindsight”, the Journal of the Northamptonshire Association of Local History. This is available from Enid Jarvis, Walnut House, Church Road, Spratton, Northants NN6 8HR. Tel: 01604 821260

Leave a Reply