Castleton Historical SocietyCastleton, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, UK
Welcome to Castleton Historical Society's website.
CHS was founded in 1973 and became a registered charity in 1984. It is a membership society with around 50 members, providing a programme of events and undertaking research into the history of the Parish of Castleton.
CHS is also responsible for “The Castleton Museum”, an accredited museum housed at Castleton Visitor Centre, Buxton Rd. The Centre is a joint partnership between The Peak District National Park Authority and CHS. The Museum is currently closed for refurbishment and will reopen in Summer 2017. The Centre's opening hours will also be subject to change during this time and it is advisable to check with the Centre after November 2016 if you plan to visit http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/ic/ic-castleton
Eleanor Houlston, Public Health Speciality Registrar (NHS)
CHS members researched the stories of the men of Castleton who fought in the First World War.The results of their work formed a memorable exhibition of photographs and historical details which was displayed in the Visitor Centre in August 2014. Anyone who was not able to see the exhibition or would like to see it again can browse through the posters by clicking on the link above.
The following photos show some of the artefacts held by the Museum which portray life around Castleton in the past.
Castleton Garland Ceremony
Nursing & War Time displays
CASTLETON'S MEDIEVAL HOSPITAL
Archaeology Update 2011
Between 27th June & 8th July, 82 individual volunteers spent more than 260 days working on the site and came up with a number of interesting and tantalising finds. The short section of wall was extended and another very substantial wall that butts up against it, probably of an earlier date, was uncovered. Another structure, resembling a modern dry-stone wall, was also found on the site. The finds still have to be completely assessed, but amongst them are a number of large pieces of pottery identified as “Midlands Purple” late medieval ware (15th – 16th century). Other finds included two skulls and some teeth which, after analysis, were found to be human. Apart from the walls themselves, a stone from a window mullion, possibly 15th century, was found.
Interesting small finds this year were a lot of rusty nails and lead, and some human finger bones found close to a “cut” in the natural clay that might indicate foundations that have been completely robbed out of stone. In addition, burnt areas were found, one of which was then sectioned and found to have lead spill around its perimeter, as well as a piece of worked lead emerging from the section. This might represent melting down of lead from hospital-related buildings nearby.
Medieval Hospital Archaeological Dig 2013
The dig of 2013 ended up with some very interesting findings. On the scheduled monument in Spital Field a well preserved human skull was found (unfortunately the top of the cranium was damaged by a spade) - see the photo – and then at least two “burial cuts”. These were aligned east – west and on one of them finger bones could be seen in the position of the pelvis, indicating that they were Christian burials. Combined with the finding of hearths containing molten lead and twisted pieces of medieval lead came (from stained glass windows) in 2012, evidence is accumulating that suggests our hospital was somewhere close by. Hopefully we will soon have the bones dated.
The HLF funding has now come to an end, but two of our final actions have been to (1) produce an illustrated free booklet about the hospital project which is now at the printing stage and (2) purchase a metal detector that we can use on future digs for e.g. sifting spoil heaps and to investigate new sites.
Removing skull embedded in soil to be sent for analysis. Dig 2011
CASTLETON’S SUMMER DIG 2014 – RESULTS ON THE SPITAL FIELD!
LIVES OF THE COMMON PEOPLE
The project got off to an exciting start with visits to three record offices and a training day in landscape archaeology.
Archivists at Matlock, Litchfield and Sheffield record offices gave training in researching documents; searches of the Litchfield records were particularly fruitful, uncovering a range of documents for both villages.
Following a training session on archaeological surveying, volunteers headed up the valley side north of Hope to practice some of the skills demonstrated. The aim is to record the archaeological features associated with the old routes between the two villages, which may date to the Middle Ages.
Using 2 gazebos as protection from the rain, it was possible to dig 22 test pits in Castleton as planned. The finds have not been analysed yet but possible medieval pottery was found at three sites in Castleton. Part of a human jaw with teeth was found near Joules Yard as well as a few other human bones. A number of gardens had sherds of 18th century slipware and glazed blackware. We found quite a few clay pipe stems, including a possibly relatively early, thick, wide-bored section from a house on Peveril Close.
The project took a stand at this years Hope Show held on the 27th August 2012. We had a small display of photographs showing the progress on the test pits in Hope and Castleton, together with a panel for the landscape survey and documentation. The documentation panel had the will and inventory of Thomas Stephenson from 1648 with a transcription which proved very interesting.
The landscape survey panel illustrated the two routes between Hope and Castleton which are being explored as part of the project. There was also a panel featuring the children from Hope primary schools getting a feel for life in medieval times. John Hudson, a potter provided a working display which kept children and adults enthralled throughout the day. The stand was considered a success.
Finds Day 2 held in Loxley Hall Hope on the 03 March 2013 presented the expert reports on the pottery finds and on the bones. Dr Chris Cumberpatch and the project team were on hand to answer visitors’ questions. The event was very well attended. There was a photographic display which included an update on the landscape survey work for the north and south routes between the villages and a continuous slide loop showing the test pit work and the landscape survey shots. The detailed reports are now being written up. More photos of the event below.
Medieval People's Lives Project: Reports & Booklet
Landscape Survey Report This document reports on a landscape survey carried out in Castleton and Hope villages, as part of the lives of the Common People Project. March 2012-July 2013.
Historical Landscape Audio Trail
The archaeological survey work of 2012 has laid the foundation for a self-guided trail to enable visitors to discover the history behind the landscape and its route-ways, fields, lead mines, defences and buildings. The trail leaflet and audio clips for each point along the trail can be downloaded from this site. Each audio trail file can be accessed for immediate listening by clicking on the download button or, by right clicking, saved to a computer for copying to a mobile device. More information is available in the file 'Instructions for Audio Trail'. The zip file is not available at present.
Please note that the stepping stones mentioned at the end of section 4 on the trail
leaflet and the audio trail have been removed and the stream culverted.
HISTORY OF CASTLETON
The Winnats Pass Murders“In 1758 and young gentleman and lady came out of Scotland on an expedition and were robbed and murdered at a place called the Winnats, near Castleton. Their bones were found in 1768 by some miners sinking an engine pit. ..." From the Derby News” 28 April 1788. An early photo of Winnats Pass (right).
In 1923, miners digging for fluorspar on Treak Cliff discovered a small chamber containing human bones. Expert examination later established that this was a late Neolithic family burial about 5500 years old. Three years later, 5 miners blasted through into an unknown cavern. This document is a transcript of a taped conversation with Jack Beverley of Castleton describing the day Treak Cliff Cavern was found.
The Bagshawe family of “The Oakes” at Norton, Sheffield were the pioneers of schooling in Castleton.
It was Bert’s desire that land should be free for all to enjoy lawfully. Making one of his annual pilgrimages to a cairn on Kinder Scout, where a fellow rambler had perished, Bert was served with a writ of tresspass and forbidden to enter the moor without permission.
Castleton and Its Old Inhabitantsby Kay Harrison
"…there are also memories in the Churchyard on many Headstones, and nameless mounds, which also have their story.” W.H. Shawcross 1903.
This history is dedicated to Ann Broadbent who died in 1836 aged 2; without the search for her story, this wealth of Castleton’s history may not have been uncovered quite so soon.
Please note; this is an ongoing project. More stories and articles will be added over time as they are completed. Thank you.