The true location of the medieval hospital on the outskirts of Castleton has been under investigation by CHS members and archaeologists from Sheffield University and elsewhere since 2007 when the Society was awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Documentary evidence supported the existence of the hospital (see the details in Documentary Evidence for the Medieval Hospital) and an area of land had been scheduled as the site but the archaeological evidence was initially hard to find.
A breakthrough in 2012 – 2013 provided exciting finds and since then, over successive years a clearer view of the Hospital of Blessed May in the Peak has emerged.
The background to the Castleton Medieval Hospital Project
2007 – 2010
In order to locate the hospital, to begin with non-intrusive methods were used to gather evidence. Resistivity across the Spital Field showed no really significant features; a few high resistance areas were followed up with trenches and test pits but these were devoid of artefacts or features. Magnetometry simply showed a pipeline crossing the field and a few man hole covers. A topographical survey was also undertaken to examine surface features. This confirmed earlier surveys of the visible features.
November – December 2007: Local volunteers perform resistivity on the Spital Field and explain to interested onlookers….
However, geophysics and test pitting around the area of the scheduled monument provided no evidence whatsoever of any human habitation, let alone medieval – up until the final day of the dig in 2010 when a short section of wall was uncovered on the scheduled monument itself.
2011 to the present
Click on the links at the top right of this page to follow the progress of subsequent archaeological digs as more of Spital Fields history has been gradually revealed.
Castleton Historical Society is very grateful to Mrs Sidebottom and family for continued access to Spital Field, and to the YHA for access to Losehill Hall grounds and for allowing parking at the main entrance during the dig and, of course, to the Heritage Lottery Fund without whom this work would not have been possible.