BLOG 6 July 2019




Welcome to another blog (or blarrg if you’re one of my U.S. in-laws), this one marking Season 2 for the National Trust in Attingham Park on the lost Georgian summer-house. This season was dominated by training and raining, sometimes simultaneously, but we completed the excavation of the east wing and satisfied our curiosity as to what happened in the back (south-east) corner where it almost joined the wall of the enclosure around it. It wasn’t attached to it, instead some kind of wing-wall or screen joined diagonally onto the corner, matching a similar one on the opposite (south-west) corner. Exactly what was intended isn’t clear, though it was probably something to do with gardening and was probably never completed anyway. Meanwhile, documentary researchers continue to delve into estate papers in Shropshire Archives but without, so far, producing a smoking gun in the form of a contract for a summerhouse between (say) Lord Berwick 2 and John Nash. There’s still a big gap in the archaeology too: just what was in the rest of the enclosure around the summerhouse? Where were the servants? Were there any loos? What happened if LB2 wanted a bottle of wine opening? What happened if Sophia, Lady Berwick, wanted a cup of tea? Surely they didn’t have to undertake such onerous tasks themselves poor things? That doesn’t sound like the English way…


Maybe we haven’t quite got our heads round the nineteenth century yet as a nation. Factory Acts, Public Health reforms, that 19th-century legacy – what we need surely is David Cameron’s bonfire of red tape? And, if only someone could think of a way of undoing the so-called Great Reform Bill of 1832 (political correctness gone mad!). Like, having just a couple of hundred thousand well-off people choose the direction of the next government. Surely it’ll never happen. Happy Peterloo Bicentenary everyone.




Meanwhile, Shrewsbury Castle begins to yield its secrets


Thanks to Herefordshire-based geophysical survey specialists Tiger Geo for getting the report on their survey of the inner bailey out in good time to help plan the dig starting tomorrow, July 22nd (open to the public most days [not Aug 1] over the following two weeks). What have we got? What might be a very big stone building 16cms under the grass right opposite the Great Hall/Regimental Museum – that’s the excavation target for this year. But this is archaeology (and geophysics). So – Henry II’s Great Hall…or Thomas Telford’s builder’s yard? Check out also the Castle Studies Trust and Shropshire Council websites for more information too. Or watch the dig, later in the year, on Digging for Britain, with Professor Alice Roberts. The team of nineteen volunteers and students and staff from University Centre Shrewsbury are poised, ready to finally lift the lid off Shrewsbury Castle’s inner bailey….



Summerhouse seq v.3.2 7-19Castle resistivity with trench loc 001

One thought on “”

  1. Fabulous excavation Nigel. Well done to you and the team – the trench looks immaculate! What a thrill to find out so much that was unexpected about Shrewsbury Castle. Hope you get the chance to do more work there


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