John Craven Opens Visitor Centre: 9 August 2017

A crowd of invited guests & visitors heard John Craven talk about his love of the Peak District when he was the special guest at the opening of the newly refurbished Visitor Centre.

Castleton Museum, which is housed in the Visitor Centre, has also been given a new layout with redesigned display cases and a wall size screen for digital interpretations of the Museum’s collection.


P1010379 croppedThere were plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained throughout the day, both inside ….




… and outside, with well-dressing, face painting, river dipping & other rural crafts to try.



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A New Era for the Museum

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After the months of



& brainstorming  ….




….  the museum re-opens with a brand new look.27-P1010325 weblg

Redesigned display cases, a wall size screen for digital presentations and a new layout for special exhibitions of topical subjects offer new opportunities to showcase the best of the CHS collection.

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Beauchief Abbey tour July 2017

About 20 members met up at Beauchief Abbey on Thursday 27th July for a historic and archaeological tour by Colin Merrony from Sheffield University. What had been a wet and gloomy day turned into a splendid evening with lovely light so we were really lucky! Colin steered us safely through the golfers (he’s obviously done this before) and explained the origins of the Abbey, founded for the Premonstratensians (White Canons) c. 1175. He showed us where by studying the landscape and old maps, and by digging a few targeted trenches, parts of the abbey precincts and gatehouse may have been. We followed what was probably a very ancient route towards Beauchief Hall then back to the church of Beauchief Abbey where we finished the tour. Colin gave us all some really helpful notes and diagrams to aid interpretation, but for those who would like more history about the abbey, the British History online account is very detailed (

And now for some photos…..


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Annual General Meeting 2017

On the evening of Thursday 19th January we met in Castleton Village Hall for our 44th AGM, to be followed by a pie and pea supper.

Maria presented her Chairman’s Report and spoke about some highlights of the past year including some great talks, our archaeology projects and the recent changes at the Visitor’s Centre (where due to building works being undertaken by the Peak District National Park the Museum is temporarily closed). We all remembered Peter Harrison, our much missed late Chairman, who died suddenly last summer.

Alan’s Treasurer’s Report showed that the Society’s finances are in good shape. A really tasty dinner was enhanced by BYO drinks, and whilst coffee and mints were being consumed Jean talked through some recently acquired old photos of local people (thanks to Josie Sidebottom and Les Robinson); Angela then followed up with a few photos from the 2016 dig.

There was a very good turnout and feedback so far suggests that it was well enjoyed!


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2017 Archaeology dates

Archaeology will begin again in Castleton from Monday May 8th 2017, when Colin returns with his First Year Archaeology students from Sheffield University. We expect that work will continue for four weeks.

If you would like to know more, or want to volunteer on the dig, please contact Angela (

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2016 Castleton Christmas Tree Festival

The theme for the CHS Christmas Tree this year was ‘Angels’ and depicted images of angels from paintings and stained glass from the 14th century to the early 20th century.  The earliest angel on the tree can be found in St Edmund’s in Castleton and other medieval angels from Norfolk, Renaissance angels from Italy and Pre-Raphaelite angels from England completed the display.


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“Dark Matter and the History of the Universe”: Neil Spooner

Our most recent lecture given by Neil Spooner on “Dark Matter and the History of the Universe” was a fascinating trip into the archaeology of the universe. He explained how using a range of sophisticated techniques theories of the composition of the universe are being tested out. What seems certain is that nothing is certain – but Neil who is a Professor of Particle Physics at The University of Sheffield told us about WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Magnetic Particles) which may be an important component of Dark Matter and derive from the direction of the constellation of Cygnus. A rather different talk for the society but as historical as it can get (nearly 14 billion years ago, as far back as 300,000 years after the Big Bang…..)

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AGM 2016: 19 January 2017

The Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 19th January 2017 at 7pm, followed by a pea and pie (and dessert & coffee) supper, at Castleton Village Hall. The cost for the meal will be just £12. News and highlights of 2016 will be presented and we are looking forward to seeing members and guests, for a sociable evening amongst friends. To reserve your place call Maura or email

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Members’ Night at Treak Cliff Cavern

Our 2016 Members’ Night was spent at the invitation of Vicky Turner & Kay Harrison at Treak Cliff Cavern.  The evening began with an informative and entertaining tour of the Cavern …

and continued with an opportunity for a get together over a glass of wine and nibbles.

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It was something of a bittersweet occasion as we reflected on the contribution that our Chairman Peter Harrison had made not only to the Society but to the village in so many ways.  Peter died suddenly in Austria a short while ago. He will be sadly missed by all his friends in the Society and remembered with much affection.
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Castleton Dig Diary 2016

Weeks 3 and 4:  New Hall trench, other trenches & test pits

Angela Darlington

New Hall trench

The Methodist Chapel was built on the lands where a Tudor house named New Hall once stood. It was built c.1500 by the Savage family, and demolished in the late 1800s, a few years before the building of the Chapel. The aim of the archaeology this year was to locate part of the building as a reference point for future work and everyone was very pleased that the south-facing wall of a wing of the house was positively identified.

Other trenches and test pits

Several other small trenches were dug including some at the west end of the village, to further explore evidence for the pre-Norman, early medieval settlement.  Together with documentary evidence that referred to human burials in this area, the archaeology continues to yield promising results.


Thanks to all those who have helped throughout the dig, including the volunteers without whose hard work little would be accomplished, and the landowners and tenants who have generously granted access.


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