Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Where was Frodsham Castle?

'Where was Frodsham Castle?' was the question posed at the Castle Park Trust Executive meeting today by Professor Stewart Ainsworth and Rachel Swallow a PhD student from Chester University.  They approached the trust for permission to work in and around Castle Park trying to unpick the jigsaw pieces left to us by history - which we have gladly given by the way.

Was their a castle here?
Stewart (one of the country's leading landscape archeologists and a former 'Time Team star') and Rachel have already had a preliminary examination of the 'lumps and bumps' and believe there remains evidence of the castle landscape in the park and the surrounding areas such as in Overton, Netherton and in Frodsham's mediaeval centre.  Rachel hopes to learn so much more about Frodsham's Castle by studying historic documentation, examining the lumps and bumps in the landscape and through a 'geophys' examination.

Cllr Les Ford challenged Rachel and asked what the chances were of discovering more - did Frodsham really have a Castle?  

Rachel's answer was fascinating.  She reckons that the chance of establishing that Frodsham had a Castle in the high 90s%.  Certainly there was a Manor House here.  She went further to explain that Cheshire's Castles have been neglected by historians and that Frodsham Castle may well have been a Royal establishment.  Frodsham was one of only two boroughs created in the thirteenth century (the other being Macclesfield) and so the chances are good that there was something substantial here.  

She describes the Castle Park site as 'very important' and Frodsham as a 'strategic point' with an 'elite landscape!'  

Professor Ainsworth commented that he hopes the work will 'put Frodsham back on the map!'

I was delighted to hear all this and we have requested that when Rachel comes to carry out her studies in 2013 that we all work together to involve as many people as we can in our communities and especially the school children from Frodsham and the surrounding communities can learn more and participate.  I have also requested that all the information that is amassed, including the raw data be made available for everyone to study.

Wow - an 'elite landscape' - that is one of those phrases that will just trip off the tongue in CWaC Council meetings!