Friday, 11 July 2014

Nottinghamshire biggest FREE Community Acrhaeology Dig, The Robin Hood's Village Volunteer Dig, Edwinstowe July 14th-25th

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC are delighted to announce that the Robin Hood's Village Volunteer Dig is starting on Monday 14th July in Edwinstowe.

http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/robinhood.html

The project is shaping up to be the largest FREE Community Excavation ever to have taken place in Nottinghamshire in terms of public involvement; with over 100 individual volunteers and villagers signed up to take part over 13 days of archaeological excavation to celebrate the Festival of British Archaeology. We have people from all over the country coming to dig- and even people from as far afield as Australia are attending.

Alongside this we have two groups of Adults with Learning disabilities joining us during the fortnight, the local Beavers group will be coming to dig, and also the Newark and District Young Archaeology Club will be with us during the middle weekend. There are also plans to involve the local schools, care homes and adult education groups.

We are also fortunate to have the Member of Parliament for Newark and Sherwood, Mark Spencer MP, and Robin Hood (aka Ezekial Bone http://www.ezekialbone.com/robinhood ) joining us to open the dig on Monday morning!

We are very grateful to Edwinstowe Local History Society, particularly Margaret Woodhead, and Colin and DI Roker.

Also Robert Woodhead Ltd  http://www.negroup.co.uk/component/content/article/9-offers/95-welcome-robert-woodhead  for kindly welcoming us to their site and letting us use their facilities at Edwinstowe House,

Also we would like to say a big thank you to Patrick Candler and Ian Major of the Sherwood Forest Trust for letting us borrow parts of their offices... we might see Ian digging, and Patrick has agreed to come along to the opening on Monday morning. http://sherwoodforest.org.uk/

Throughout the dig we will be publishing photographs and updates so you can stay up to date with what is happening via our facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/sherwoodforesthistory  to 5,132 followers and via our Mercian faceboook page  https://www.facebook.com/Mercianarch  to 1,155 followers.

We can also be found on twitter   https://twitter.com/ArcHistSherwood and   https://twitter.com/MercianArch

and via the project page at   http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/robinhood.html and  the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project Page at www.sherwoodforestarchaeology.com

The project is being funded through the generous support of the community including online at  http://www.gofundme.com/sherwoodforest
all money raised goes to support the project so that people can continue to benefit from FREE access to Community Archaeology in the Heart of Sherwood Forest!

This is a new way of funding Community Archaeology in Nottinghamshire- with no expense to the tax payer!

This is part of Mercian's attempt to create a sustainable future for Community Archaeology in Nottinghamshire and Sherwood Forest.

Community support for Community Projects... The Future of Sherwood's Past!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Sherwood Forest Artchaeology Project 5000 Facebook likes!

We now have over 5,000 Facbeook LIKES for the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project!!! Archaeology and History of Medieval Sherwood Forest

Thank you to everyone for supporting the project and following us on Facebook!





This is one of our best mediums we have for sharing the work of the project, promoting the heritage of Sherwood Forest, and the work we and many others do in the Forest.

Please see the project website: http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/sherwoodforest.html for information on projects and how you can get involved...

Please see our crowdfunding page:http://www.gofundme.com/sherwoodforest for how you c an support the project and enable others to become involved.

We are proud to announce our upcoming volunteer test pitting dig in Edwinstowe village: Robin Hood's Village Dig 2014!

Http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/robinhood.html

We also have guided tours coming up in Sherwood Forest this summer:

http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/tours.html

Again we would like to say a big thank you and a warm welcome to 

"The Future of Sherwood's Past!!"

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

#lovenotts #archaeology #sherwoodforest #robinhood#communityarchaeology

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Crowdfunding the Sherwood Forest Archaeology project

The Future of Sherwood's Past! 

Promoting the heritage of Sherwood Forest through community involvement.


This is the first time Community Archaeology has been supported by crowdfunding in Sherwood Forest!


www.gofundme.com/sherwoodforest




Sherwood Forest is a place of myths and legends known throughout the world as the home of Robin Hood...

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project enables people from all walks of life to become involved in an amazing community archaeology project...

Mercian Archaeological Services as a Community Interest Company provides opportunities for different groups and individuals to experience their Local Heritage together... the Project will engage volunteers from all walks of life and ages...  including young people,those currently out of work desiring transferable skills, students needing experience, adults with learning difficulties, through to people wanting to have a go and people wishing to fulfill a lifes abmition...  in this landscape of legends and folklore... all overseen by professional community archaeologists.

Community Archaeology can be a great source of social good as well as education.

The project combines community archaeology, research and outreach work- that promotes the archaeology, history and heritage of the wider Sherwood Forest, its landscape and people.

This research is intrinsically linked to raising the profile and value of the wider Sherwood Forest area.

Like our fabled Robin Hood this project seeks to help the community- but unlike our popular hero we seek funding from willing donators!

All donations will go to fund archaeological research and investigations, allowing the public to gain FREE opportunities to be involved and learn; within the very heart of Sherwood Forest!

Please see our websites for more information about Mercian Archaeological Services CIC, the history of Sherwood Forest, and our work:

Website:  www.mercian-as.co.uk/sherwoodforest.html
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/Sherwoodforesthistory 
Blog:  www.sherwoodforesthistory.com
Mercian Website:  www.mercian-as.co.uk
Mercian Facebook:  www.facebook.com/mercianarch


As a reward for donating- all funders will have their name in the archaeological reports that their donations directly fund- unless they request anonymity.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Robin Hood's Village Volunteer Dig- Dates confirmed

As part of the "Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project" Mercian Archaeological Services CIC will be running the Robin Hood's Village Dig in July 2014.

This is part of the Festival of British Archaeology and the dig will run from the 14th - 26th of July with an open day on Saturday the 26th.





The dig is being run in conjunction with the Edwinstowe Historical Society and will investigate the development of the village through test- pitting. 

The project is designed to tie in with key regional research objectives and could be of vital importance to understanding the landscape of Sherwood Forest over time.

This research forms part of Mercian's long term research in the Forest.

This is a free volunteer dig and has been funded by the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project:


  • The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project has the tag-line The Future of Sherwood's Past and aims to be a new community driven way of undertaking and supporting archaeological and historical research in the forest. 
  • The Sherwood Forest Archaeology project is a Community Archaeology project- this means involving volunteers and the community in all aspects (where possible) of archaeological research and investigations. 
  • The project is designed to bring sustainability to archaeological projects and investigations in Sherwood Forest by combining a number of funding streams including private, corporate, public and crowd-funding. 
  • The project aims to undertake long-term research across the whole area of Sherwood Forest and beyond. 
  • The project also seeks to be a free resource, where all research and fieldwork are available to the community at large, to foster a greater understanding of the heritage of Sherwood Forest.
  • The project aims to promote the notion of a wider Sherwood Forest that stretches across the multitude of sites that link together to make up this unique and exciting landscape.
  • The Project engages people from all walks of life and ages; including adults with learning difficulties, young people, as well as those currently out of work desiring transferable skills, students needing experience, and volunteers... in this landscape of legends and folklore... all overseen by professional community archaeologists.


If you would like to sign up to volunteer on the Robin Hood's Village Dig please email us to book a place.

Numbers are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Email: info@mercian-a.co.uk

or visit http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/robinhood.html to book your place!

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology and History (guided) Walking Tour

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC offer a series of guided archaeology and history tours.



These include guided walking tours of Sherwood Forest, and Clipstone park where people can come along for a heritage ramble through woodland or around ancient heritage landscapes.

We also offer site tours of king John’s Palace, the royal Heart of Medieval Sherwood Forest.

To find out more, and to book a place on the tour of your choice please have a look at the options below.

Tours can also be arranged for local heritage, history or community groups, or for private group bookings. 

Mercian’s Andy Gaunt will be giving guided tours around the archaeology of Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve over the course of this summer.



Join him to learn about the history and archaeology of Sherwood Forest, Forest Law, outlaws, villains, Kings, Keepers of the Forest, Robin Hood, daily life in the time of Robin Hood, and some of the sites around the wider Sherwood Forest...



Come and walk in this landscape of legends, meet some of the majestic veteran Oak trees, and see some of the archaeology on the ground (including ridge and furrow, holloways, and World War II remains) and learn from the experts who run the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project.



The tour will start near the visitors centre before heading out through Birklands wood to see the wonderful nature of this ancient landscape, we will eventually make our way up towards the ancient Lings at Budby heath. We will then visit the magnificent Major Oak, before returning to where we started… passing archaeology and hearing about the history of the medieval hunting forest and its landscape along the way…

Tours cost 


Price: £7


Duration : Approx. 2 - 2 ½ hours

(A shorter tour can be arranged for private group bookings)

Distance: Approx. 3 kilometres or 2 miles

Meeting at: Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve outer car park (see map)- Postcode for sat nav: NG21 9HN

Time: 18:00 (6pm) Wednesday evenings (see dates below).



Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.


To book please visit http://www.mercian-as.co.uk/tours.html

And chose a date from the list provided and then purchase a place by clicking ‘Buy Now’ for that tour.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Medieval Pottery training and analysis days by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC - The Skegby Archive

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC' s David Budge has been using his expertise to train volunteers in Medieval pottery and pottery analysis techniques based around a University of Nottingham Museum archive from excavations in Skegby in the 1960's.



The project has ran for 3 days so far - with a fantastic turnout amounting to over 42 volunteer days or 8.5 weeks of outreach so far- with days still to go!

The project so far has been fantastic with volunteers being educated and trained to the highest level (beyond the usual sorting and washing available at other units) with a range of activities have been taught including:

Sorting the finds into context groups, 
Washing and re-marking finds where necessary, 
Re-packaging and labelling the material to comply with modern museum standards to allow more effective curation of the assemblage, 
Sorting the pottery into ware and fabric types,
Weighing and recording the pottery, 
Using microscopes and electronic microscopes and computers to analyse minerals in the pottery fabric,
Illustrating important rims / bases / profiles.
Training sessions on ceramic fabrics and medieval pottery identification .
Training in the standards and guidance of the Medieval Pottery Research Group.

There will be other opportunities for more learning and training soon!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project at the Mercian Archaeological Services Spring Conference 2014

East Midlands Community Archaeology Conference 2014

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC held their first Spring Conference on the 5th April 2014 at the University of Nottingham Archaeology Museum.

Andy Gaunt of Mercian Archaeological Services CIC presenting The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project at the East Midlands Community Archaeology Conference 2014



This one day conference featured some of the best work undertaken by local Community Archaeology companies, groups and individuals from around the region.

Community Archaeology has come of age in recent times and heritage groups and volunteers are now setting incredible standards in archaeological research.

Community Archaeology is now a fully fledged branch of archaeology and there are also now a whole range of dedicated professionals who are full time Community Archaeology Providers.

There has been a sea-change in provision of services to Community groups in recent years with a move away from large commercial companies providing work on the side, and when funding was available - to full-time community archaeology providers and companies like Mercian Archaeological Services CIC who are dedicated to providing support to volunteers and groups.

Mercian’s first “East Midlands Community Archaeology Conference” reflected this change, with volunteers, groups and professional community archaeologists presenting their results and theories in a lively and informal way.

Many of the old barriers felt broken down as people talked, networked and enthused with other like-minded people.

It was a great day for idea sharing and project discussions, and much was learned through the course of the day about the excellent work being undertaken across the region.

There was also lively debate and networking during the refreshment breaks and in the museum.



Here is what some of the delegates had to say about the day:



“Thanks for one of the best conferences I have ever been to, and I have been to a few I can tell you…” - Richard Smith


“Fantastic, enjoyable and informative - real archaeology from the people who love it! Well done to you all” - Chris Rawson


 “Thank you ALL so much. I met so many super-interesting new people today! Great to see so many old faces as well. Thanks for having me on the bill, hope to keep up to date with everyone else's projects for a long time to come as well”. - James Wright


 “Absolutely brilliant day thanks Mercians for bringing together such a totally amazing group of speakers. Loved every bit” - Lorraine Dowen



“Excellent day and thanks to all the Mercian crowd for giving us the opportunity to talk about our projects” - Richard Tyndall


This one day conference featured some of the best work undertaken by local Community Archaeology companies, groups and individuals from around the region.

Community Archaeology has come of age in recent times and heritage groups and volunteers are now setting incredible standards in archaeological research.

Community Archaeology is now a fully fledged branch of archaeology and there are also now a whole range of dedicated professionals who are full time Community Archaeology Providers.





Community Archaeology in the East Midlands Conference 2014

Mercian Archaeological Services Community Archaeology
Visitors since 7th November 2013

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

Community Archaeology in the East Midlands,

 Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Excavation, Research, Volunteering, Community

    Archaeology Derbyshire, Training, Social, Learning, Community Archaeology Leicestershire,

    Heritage, Involvement, Belonging, Knowledge sharing, Community Archaeology Lincolnshire,

    Topographic Survey, Talks and Presentations, Outreach, Archaeology Projects , Open

    Days, Schools, Finds Processing, Day Schools, Field Schools, Young People, Archaeology

    and History of Sherwood Forest, Pottery Research, Medieval, Roman, Prehistoric, Community

    Interest Company, Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire.

© Mercian Archaeological Services CIC 2013.                           Registered Business No. 08347842.                                All Rights Reserved.

Community Archaeology in Nottinghamshire

Community Archaeology in Derbyshire

Community Archaeology in Leicestershire

Community Archaeology East Midlands

Community Archaeology in Lincolnshire

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 Archaeology Field School
Mercian Archaeological Services CIC held our first Spring Conference on the 5th April 2014 at the University of Nottingham Archaeology Museum.

The conference was very well attended, showing the great enthusiasm and appetite for community outreach and knowledge sharing in archaeology, and showcased work by the following speakers:

Tim Yarnell, The Forestry Commissions Archaeologist for England - Introductions

Stuart Reddish - the Friends of Thynghowe, Nottinghamshire

Sue Brown and Janet Spavold of the Ticknall Archaeological research Group, Derbyshire

John Lock -the Burgage Earthworks project in Southwell, Nottinghamshire

James Wright - the Archaeology and History of kings Clipstone Project, Nottinghamshire

Jim Priest, Volunteer Archaeologist, Sherwood Archaeology Society, Nottinghamshire

Richard Tyndall - Archaeology in Ancaster, Lincolnshire

Christine Rawson and Alex Sotheran of Elmet Archaeological Services Ltd. South Yorkshire

Daryl Garton - the Ice Age Journeys, Farndon, Nottinghamshire

Andy Gaunt of Mercian Archaeological Services CIC- the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project, Nottinghamshire.

















There has been a sea-change in provision of services to Community groups in recent years with a move away from large commercial companies providing work on the side, and when funding was available - to full-time community archaeology providers and companies like Mercian Archaeological Services CIC who are dedicated to providing support to volunteers and groups.

Mercian’s first “East Midlands Community Archaeology Conference” reflected this change, with volunteers, groups and professional community archaeologists presenting their results and theories in a lively and informal way.

Many of the old barriers felt broken down as people talked, networked and enthused with other like-minded people.

It was a great day for idea sharing and project discussions, and much was learned through the course of the day about the excellent work being undertaken across the region.

There was also lively debate and networking during the refreshment breaks and in the museum.


Here is what some of the delegates had to say about the day:



“Thanks for one of the best conferences I have ever been to, and I have been to a few I can tell you…” - Richard Smith


“Fantastic, enjoyable and informative - real archaeology from the people who love it! Well done to you all” - Chris Rawson


 “Thank you ALL so much. I met so many super-interesting new people today! Great to see so many old faces as well. Thanks for having me on the bill, hope to keep up to date with everyone else's projects for a long time to come as well”. - James Wright


 “Absolutely brilliant day thanks Mercians for bringing together such a totally amazing group of speakers. Loved every bit” - Lorraine Dowen


“Excellent day and thanks to all the Mercian crowd for giving us the opportunity to talk about our projects” - Richard Tyndall



The conference was very well attended, showing the great enthusiasm and appetite for community outreach and knowledge sharing in archaeology, and showcased work by the following speakers:

Tim Yarnell, The Forestry Commissions Archaeologist for England - Introductions

Stuart Reddish - the Friends of Thynghowe, Nottinghamshire

Sue Brown and Janet Spavold of the Ticknall Archaeological research Group, Derbyshire

John Lock -the Burgage Earthworks project in Southwell, Nottinghamshire

James Wright - the Archaeology and History of kings Clipstone Project, Nottinghamshire

Jim Priest, Volunteer Archaeologist, Sherwood Archaeology Society, Nottinghamshire

Richard Tyndall - Archaeology in Ancaster, Lincolnshire

Christine Rawson and Alex Sotheran of Elmet Archaeological Services Ltd. South Yorkshire

Daryl Garton - the Ice Age Journeys, Farndon, Nottinghamshire


Andy Gaunt of Mercian Archaeological Services CIC- the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project, Nottinghamshire.


Please also have a look at this excellent review of the day by Lynda Mallett via the Sherwood Heritage blog:


http://sherwoodheritage.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/east-midlands-community-archaeology.html

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Robin Hood's Village Project

The Robin Hood’s village Project is set to start in July 2014!

The village of Edwinstowe in Nottinghamshire is known as Robin Hood’s Village

Legends has it that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were married at St Mary’s Church in the village, and the name Edwinstowe is believed to mean the ‘Holy place of Edwin’ after King Edwin of Northumbria who died at the Battle of Hatfield in 633.

The village is also home to the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve and the world famous veteran Oak tree the Major Oak. At around 1,000 years old the Major Oak is the greatest of all the veteran oaks of Sherwood Forest . It is the legendary hiding place of Robin Hood, and is the most famous tree in all of England.






Funds are currently being raised through crowdfunding to support an archaeological project in Edwinstowe village.

The first £3000 raised through the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project crowdfunding page in 2014 will be used to fund the project.

The project will look what life was like in Sherwood Forest at the time of Robin Hood.

It will also examine the development of the village over time, and is being run by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC in conjunction with the Edwinstowe Local History Society.

The project will involve local people and archaeological volunteers digging test-pits in gardens and at properties throughout the village.


Robin Hood and Maid Marian Statue in Edwinstowe Village



Please consider supporting the project via the online crowdfunding page-

and become part of the Future of Sherwood’s Past…

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project

Robin Hood shows his support for "The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project" by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC



the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project will be launching a brand new website in the next few days, and launching a number of exciting new funding campaigns and announcing a number of fantastic Community Archaeology projects in the heart of Sherwood Forest- so thank you to Robin Hood for rubber stamping things!

We were joined by Robin Hood aka Ezekial Bone 
of the National Award nominated @Nottingham Town Tour:

vote for Robin at http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/british-breaks/vote-visitenglands-tourism-superstar-2014-3191570


These photographs were taken yesterday as part of Mercian's promotion for the project and the upcoming news, and include many prominent members of groups undertaking work in the forest who support the project and its work... a fantastic community day in the forest with members of The Friends of Thynghowe, Warsop Path Group, Sherwood Forest TrustThe Jolly Bodgers of Sherwood Forest
The Public Information Research OrganisationViking Sherwood, some archaeological volunteers from the project, and the site owners of King John's Palace- the royal heart of Medieval Sherwood Forest

More info will be available through the project facebook page Archaeology and History of Medieval Sherwood Forest very very soon!

Exciting times in Sherwood Forest! thanks to all for your amazing support!



 


  



#TourismSuperstar #lovenotts #archaeology #communityarchaeology #mercianarch #sherwoodforest


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Wolf Hunters of Sherwood Forest

If you have an area of land designated for the protection of Deer for the Kings pleasure to hunt and to eat, then the last thing you want is to share it with other hungry predators.

Perhaps the most feared predator in the forest was the wolf.


There were wolves living wild and hunting in Medieval Sherwood Forest, and we know this because the records tell us of ‘wolf hunters’ employed to chase them.

The inquististiones post mortem (inquests after death) for Nottinghamshire for the year 1339 list amongst their number a Walter le Wolfhunte:

‘Walter le Wulfhunte held in his demesne as of fee on the day that he died a messuage* and a bovate* of land with appurtenances in Mammesfeldwodehouse in the county of Nottingham of the king in chief, by service of chasing wolves outside of the King’s forest of Shirewood, if any they found.’
(Blagg 1939)

This is a wonderful insight into the lesser known positions within forest administration - a man in the king’s manor of Mansfield Woodhouse being directly employed by the king to chase wolves.

It also tells us something of the landscape of the forest- one still wild enough to harbour wolves.

But most wonderful is the insight it gives us into the people of the forest. What kind of man was Walter the Woolfhunter? A grizzled ‘Davy Crockett’ style man of the woods, hardened and fearless running off into the night, whilst others run the other way?



Grizzled and fearless as he may have been… wolves were probably not a daily occurrence. On his days off from wolf hunting Walter was also liable to be called to the kings service as a forest official:

The same 'Walter de Wulfuntte de Mammesfeldewodehouse' appears in an earlier record. Here he is serving as a regarder (a forest official dealing in the boundaries of land) at the 1287 forest Eyre to testify in cases of assarts (clearing of woodland for arable) against people living in the forest of Sherwood.

The medieval text is in Latin, Walter appears alongside a group of selected men to testify as to what they know, and they include:

Regardum de Brokestowe factum et presentatum per regadatores subscriptos videlicet per- ( the regard for Broxtowe presented and signed by the regarders…)


Jordanum de Sutton (Jordan of Sutton), galfridum de strelli (Geoffrey of Strelley), Henfricum de Mammesfeld clericum (Henry of Mansfield a cleric), adam le palmer de nottynghammia (Adam Palmer* of Nottingham), thomas de ridewalle (Thomas of Ridewall), robertum de lyndeby (Robert of Lyndby), radulphum clericum de Mammesfeld (Ralph a Cleric of Mansfield) , Willelmum de bredon de eadem (William of Breedon of the same place- (from Mansfield)), Hugonem de sneynton de Sutton(Hugh of Sneinton from Sutton), hugonem filium walteri (Hugh the son of Walter), walterum le wlfuntte de Mammesfelewodehouse, (Walter the Wolfhunter of Mansfield Woodhouse) et matthew Attewlee de eadem (Matthew Attewell from the same place (Mansfield Woodhouse)), regaratores iuratos. Qui dicunt super sacramentum suum:-

(From the Sherwood Forest Book (Boulton 1964)).

The post of Wolfhunter lived far beyond Walter its most famous occupant:

A 'Sir Robert Plumpton held one bovate of land in Mansfield Woodhouse, called "Wolf-hunt land," by service of winding a horn, and chasing or frightening the wolves in the forest of Sherwood' in 1432 in the reign of Henry VI. (Robert White, Worksop, The Dukery, and Sherwood Forest, (1875)).

These wolfhunters must have been formidable characters, fearless and strong who carried out their roles within he forest administration- mostly annonymous to us due to their usual absence from the records. 

These few chance survivals in the documentary record offer us a rare and wonderful opportunity to see into the lives and livings of some of the characters of Medieval Sherwood Forest.


*messuage: house or dwelling.  
*bovate: amount of land tillable by one ox in a ploughing season
*palmer: interestinlgy the surname palmer is believed to be from pilgrimage. A person would bring a palm back home as proof of having visited the holy land.

the Saxons of Sherwood Forest


The oldest documented mention of 'Sherwood Forest' comes from a charter dating from 958AD granting Scrooby and Sutton cum Lound in north Nottinghamshire from the Crown to the Archbishop of York.

This charter lists a 'Scirwuda' (Shire Wood) as a boundary mark of the land granted to the Archbishop.

This reference is often used to suggest that there was a common wood of the shire in the 10th century in Nottinghamshire that belonged to the people and was shared by them.

The story then goes that the evil Normans came along and took the shared forest away, for the exclusive use of the king.

As nice as this idea is, there is no clear reference to a forest, or any such shared wood of the shire in Nottinghamshire before the conquest of 1066.

Plus it is not possible to tie the 10th century Scirwuda in the north of the county, with the Royal Hunting Forest that bore the name Sherwood from the late 12th century onwards.

The northern boundaries of Sherwood Forest lay 10 miles south of the location of the wood called Scirwuda.

So although we cannot directly date Sherwood Forest back to pre-conquest times it is possible to learn something of the people of the Sherwood Forest area at the time of the Norman Conquest and before.

One possibility is that the Forest boundary recorded in the 13th century was a reflection of the original forest boundary (see Castles and Sherwood Forest entry for more details).


It is likely that the forest was created in the years following the Norman conquest, around 1066.

So who were the people who lived in the area that was- or was to become Sherwood Forest, in the years around the Norman conquest?

Sadly we cannot know the names of the simple farmers and workers of the land- but the names of some of the landowners from the time of the conquest are recorded in the Domesday book for Nottinghamshire.



They are the names of the local ruling elite who would suffer by losing their lands in the change of power that came with the Norman Conquest.

Most of the landowners listed lost their posessions to the incoming Normans by the time that Domesday Book was written in 1086.

The following is a list of the towns and villages of the Forest, and the names of the original 'Saxon' landowners where they get a mention:

Nottingham: Earl Tosti (brother of Harold Godwinson who was King of England until the Battle of Hastings) owned land and buildings in the town. 

Hugh son of Baldric was its sheriff.

In 1066 King Edward the Confessor held Manors and jurisdiction over land including: Mansfield, Arnold, Sneinton, Warsop, Budby and Edwinstowe,

The other listed landlords are as follows:

Annesley: Leofnoth,

Basford: Alwin, Aswulf, Alfeah, Aelfric and Algot,

Blidworth: the Archbishop of York (Ealdred),

Bulcote: Young Swein,


Bulwell: Aelmer and Godric,

Burton Joyce: Swein,

Calverton: Aelfric,

Caythorpe (Alwoldestorp): Athelstan,

Clipstone: Osbern and Wulfsi,

Clumber: Aethwold and Ulfkell,

Colwick: Godric, Aelfric and Bugg,

Gedling: Toki and Dunstan,

Gunthorpe: Morcar, 

Lambley: Ulfketel,

Lenton: Wulfnoth,

Ollerton: Alfwold and Wada,

Pappplewick: Aelfric, Alfsi and Alric,

Perlethorpe: Thurstan and Wulfmer,

Radford: Aelfric, 

Rufford: Ulf,

Stoke Bardolph: Toki,

Warsop: Godric, Leofgeat and Ulfkell,


Woodborough: Ulfkell, Aelfric, Wulfgeat, Wulfric and Alfsi,

(Ref: all names compiled from Morris 1977)


These names sound ancient and archaic (but also poetic and beautiful) to us now.

That is compounded by the fact that the names that replaced them at the Norman Conquest are so much more familliar to us.

Henry, John, Richard, William, Stephen, were all names of the Norman and Angevin kings who ruled between them from 1066 to 1272. 

All these names were French.

Edward I, crowned in 1272 was the first English King since 1066 to carry an English name.

In Nottinghamshire these name would be replaced powerful Norman landowners including a Roger or two, an Alan, a William, a Walter, three Ralphs, and a handful of Gilberts, to name a but a few...

Although we can't know the characters or the actions of these English rulers- dispossed by the conquest, their names and the names that replaced them do indicate the dramatic cultural shift that took place with the Norman Conquest- at the level of the local ruling class as well as at the top of society.

This change of authority and culture had a great impact on English Society as a whole.

Locally it would bring with it the Laws of the Forest that would have a huge impact on the landscape and the people of this area. 

The area that would become Medieval Sherwood Forest.

(More on the Normans of Sherwood Forest, and more on the earlier Saxons of Sherwood Forest (the names behind the place names), coming soon).

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sherwood Forest in the 'Current Archaeology' Magazine

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC are very proud to be in the February edition of Current Archaeology Magazine- the UK's best selling Archaeology magazine... Page 11 Issue 287... 'Hunting King John's Palace in Sherwood Forest'... covering some of our work for the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project.

Not bad eh?



Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Sherwood Forest in the in the Castle Studies Journal- a national academic journal

Andy Gaunt of Mercian Archaeological Services and James Wright of https://www.facebook.com/ArchaeologyHistoryKingsClipstone's Paper on Kings Clipstone in Sherwood Forest:

‘A palace for our kings’ - A decade of research into a royal residence in the heart of Sherwood Forest at Kings Clipstone, Nottinghamshire - James Wright Archaeology & History of King's Clipstone, Nottinghamshire & Andy Gaunt Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
In the national journal of the Castle Studies Group:

http://www.castlestudiesgroup.org.uk/page71.html




Castle Studies Group - Journal 27 2013-14

The paper discusses all the most recent archaeological research undertaken at the site with details of the most recent findings from Mercian Archaeological Services CIC and James Wright.