Gold In The Moat (Codnor Castle) | S15E01 | Time Team

Time Team Classics
11 Apr 202147:47
EducationalLearning
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TLDRIn Derbyshire, Codnor Castle's medieval ruins reveal a rich history through an archaeological dig. The team uncovers the earliest known picture of the castle from the 18th century and explores its transformation over centuries. They discover evidence of a drawbridge, a moat, and a great hall, suggesting the castle's significance during the 13th to 15th centuries. The dig also unearths a gold noble coin from the reign of Henry V, linking the castle to the Hundred Years' War. The exploration of the site provides insights into the lives of its inhabitants, the De Grey family, and their eventual decline due to the extravagant garden projects of the 16th-century Zeals.

Takeaways
  • 🏰 Codnor Castle in Derbyshire is undergoing restoration and archaeological investigation to uncover its medieval history.
  • 🛡️ The castle was once a defensive fortress and possibly a show home, with knights who fought in significant battles from the Crusades to the Wars of the Roses.
  • 🕵️‍♂️ Archaeologists are working to determine the castle's original appearance, age, and purpose through the excavation process.
  • 🗺 The castle is situated on the border between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, surrounded by countryside that has been parkland for over a millennium.
  • ⚒️ The area has been extensively mined over the last 500 years, with records indicating mines even within the castle walls, complicating the archaeological work.
  • 🏗️ The archaeological team is excavating various trenches to uncover the castle's walls, gateway, and other structures, including a potential drawbridge mechanism.
  • 🕰️ The first mention of Codnor Castle is in 1308, but the team hopes to find evidence of an earlier castle or manor on the site.
  • 🏹 The De Grey family, who were important barons and soldiers, likely built the castle as a reflection of their status and role in the king's wars.
  • 💎 Excavations have revealed various artifacts, including pottery, a gold coin, and a silver Scottish penny, providing clues to the castle's history and the De Grey's activities.
  • 👣 The archaeology suggests multiple phases of construction and occupation, with evidence pointing to a significant building campaign around 1300-1320.
Q & A
  • What is the significance of Codnor Castle in Derbyshire?

    -Codnor Castle was the residence of medieval knights who fought in significant battles from the Crusades to Agincourt and the Wars of the Roses. It provides an opportunity to explore its history and the lifestyle of its inhabitants.

  • What was the purpose of the archaeological investigation at Codnor Castle?

    -The investigation aimed to uncover the original appearance of the castle, determine its age, and establish whether it was a defensive fortress or a medieval show home.

  • How has the surrounding area of Codnor Castle been used over the past 500 years?

    -The parkland around Codnor Castle has been extensively mined over the past 500 years, with records indicating mining even within the castle walls.

  • What challenges did the archaeologists face during their preliminary work at the castle?

    -The archaeologists faced the challenge of not knowing the location or depth of the old mines, which could have potentially destroyed or obscured archaeological evidence.

  • What was the earliest picture of Codnor Castle, and when was it created?

    -The earliest picture of Codnor Castle is an 18th-century image, which shows the castle after it had fallen into ruin.

  • What was the significance of the discovery of a medieval wall at Codnor Castle?

    -The discovery of the medieval wall indicated that there were remains of the original structure that had survived centuries of mining and attempts to demolish it.

  • What was the role of UK Coal and English Heritage in preserving Codnor Castle?

    -UK Coal, the landowner, and English Heritage stepped in to preserve and stabilize the ruin of Codnor Castle when its complete collapse was imminent.

  • What evidence did the archaeologists find regarding the castle's use as a residence for the De Grey family?

    -Archaeologists found pottery dating back to the 12th century, suggesting an earlier phase of occupation before the first recorded mention of the castle in 1308. This aligns with the time when Henry De Grey married Izzold, a Norman heiress.

  • What was the significance of the gold noble coin found at the site?

    -The gold noble coin, featuring Henry V, provides a high-status dating evidence for the drawbridge tower's construction around the time of the 100 Years War in 1340.

  • What was the final phase of Codnor Castle's history before it fell into ruin?

    -The final phase involved the creation of extravagant gardens by the Zeals in the 16th century, which ultimately bankrupted the estate and led to the castle's decline.

  • What was the most significant architectural feature discovered during the excavation?

    -The most significant feature was the discovery of the 13th-century great hall, which would have been used by Henry De Grey to entertain King Edward I.

Outlines
00:00
🏰 Codnor Castle's Restoration and Archaeological Mystery

The script introduces Codnor Castle in Derbyshire, a medieval ruin with a storied past involving knights who fought in significant battles from the Crusades to the Wars of the Roses. The earliest known image of the castle dates to the 18th century, long after it had fallen into disrepair. The current project aims to restore the castle and uncover its original appearance, age, and purpose. The challenge is to complete the investigation within three days. The castle's location on the border between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and its surrounding parkland, which has been mined extensively over the centuries, adds to the complexity of the task. The team begins by searching for evidence of mining activity that could have affected the archaeological remains.

05:01
🔍 Preliminary Investigation and the Search for Castle Foundations

The team at Codnor Castle starts their investigation by looking for remnants of mining activity that might have impacted the archaeological remains. They are particularly interested in finding the shafts of old mines, but the search is proving difficult. The archaeologists are also hoping to uncover the original walls of the castle and understand its layout. They have a plan of the castle from the 14th century, which shows an original castle with certain walls that have survived, and an extension from the same century. The team digs trenches in different parts of the castle grounds to explore the upper court, the lower court, and the area around the gateway. Their initial findings include a significant ditch and the remains of what might be a moat. The archaeologists also find pottery and other artifacts that could provide clues to the castle's history.

10:02
🕰️ Uncovering the Chronology of Codnor Castle

The archaeologists at Codnor Castle are working to establish a timeline for the castle's construction and development. They know from historical records that the castle was mentioned in 1308, but they are looking for physical evidence to confirm this and to discover when the castle was first built. The team finds pottery that could date back to the 12th century, suggesting an earlier occupation on the site than previously thought. They also uncover masonry that could be from the 15th or 16th century, indicating that the castle underwent changes and additions over time. The discovery of a drawbridge mechanism and a possible moat adds to the complexity of the site, suggesting a grand entrance to the castle. The team also finds a beautiful carved stone and a delicate cup, adding to the evidence of the castle's rich history.

15:03
🏗️ Excavating the Gateway and Unveiling the Castle's History

The script details the ongoing excavation work at Codnor Castle, focusing on the gateway and its surrounding structures. The archaeologists are trying to understand the sequence of construction and the castle's evolution over time. They find evidence of a drawbridge and a pit that might have been part of the castle's original entrance. The team also uncovers masonry that could be from an earlier entrance tower, suggesting that the castle's layout has changed significantly over the centuries. They discover pottery and other artifacts that help them date different phases of the castle's history. The discovery of a gold coin and a silver penny adds to the intrigue, as these finds could provide valuable information about the castle's past and the people who lived there.

20:04
🛠️ The Great Hall and the Evolution of Codnor Castle

The archaeologists at Codnor Castle have made significant progress in uncovering the history of the site. They have identified the great hall, a key room in the castle where Henry de Grey would have entertained King Edward I. The team has also been working in the moat area, exposing the front face of a tower and finding the bottom of the drawbridge tower. The moat is revealed to be six and a half meters wide and three meters deep. The discoveries suggest that the castle had a grand drawbridge and a romantic entrance in the 13th century, which was later replaced by a more fortified entrance in the early 14th century. The castle continued to evolve, with extensions into the lower court in the 15th century. However, it was the extravagant plans of the Zeals in the 16th century that led to the castle's ruin and the family's financial downfall.

Mindmap
Keywords
💡Codnor Castle
Codnor Castle is the central subject of the video, representing a medieval castle located in Derbyshire. It is historically significant as the home of the medieval knights who fought in numerous battles, including the Crusades, Agincourt, and the Wars of the Roses. The video explores the archaeological efforts to uncover its original appearance and history, making it a key concept for understanding the video's theme of historical preservation and discovery.
💡Medieval knights
The term 'medieval knights' refers to the warriors of the Middle Ages who served their lords and fought in various battles. In the context of the video, these knights are the historical inhabitants of Codnor Castle, adding a layer of intrigue to the exploration of the castle's past and its significance in the narrative of British medieval history.
💡Archaeology
Archaeology is the scientific study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains. In the video, archaeology is the primary method used to uncover the secrets of Codnor Castle, including its construction phases, the lifestyle of its inhabitants, and its eventual decline.
💡Moat
A moat is a deep, broad trench, usually filled with water, that surrounds a castle or other fortification and is intended to make it more difficult for attackers to reach the walls. In the script, the moat is a significant feature of Codnor Castle, and the exploration of its depth and construction provides insights into the castle's defensive capabilities.
💡Drawbridge
A drawbridge is a movable bridge used to provide access to a castle or other fortification, which can be raised to prevent entry. The discovery of a drawbridge pit in the video script is a key archaeological find, suggesting an elaborate entrance to the castle and providing a glimpse into the castle's grandeur and defensive mechanisms.
💡Masonry
Masonry refers to the craft of a mason, which involves building structures from individual units of stone or brick. In the video, masonry is a central focus as the team examines the stonework of Codnor Castle to date its various construction phases and to understand the architectural evolution of the castle.
💡Great Hall
The Great Hall was a large room in a castle or manor house used for feasting, ceremonies, and gatherings. In the video, the identification of the great hall at Codnor Castle is a significant discovery, as it provides a tangible connection to the social and political life of the castle's inhabitants.
💡Gold noble
A gold noble was a type of gold coin used in medieval England, often bearing the portrait of the reigning monarch. The finding of a gold noble in the video's script is a significant archaeological discovery, providing a high-status dating clue and a tangible link to the wealth and status of the castle's owners.
💡Henry de Grey
Henry de Grey is a historical figure mentioned in the video, known for surviving the Wars of the Roses and being granted a license for alchemy. His character adds depth to the narrative by illustrating the colorful history of Codnor Castle and its inhabitants, as well as the broader historical context of the period.
💡Zeus family
The Zeus family is mentioned in the script as the successors to the de Greys, who created an industrial empire and significantly altered Codnor Castle. Their actions led to the castle's decline and eventual ruin, providing a cautionary tale of ambition and financial mismanagement in the video's narrative.
Highlights

Codnor Castle, a medieval site in Derbyshire, is set to undergo restoration, providing an opportunity to uncover its historical appearance and origins.

The castle's history includes knights who fought in significant battles from the Crusades to Agincourt and the Wars of the Roses.

The earliest picture of Codnor Castle dates back to the 18th century, showing it in a state of ruin.

Archaeological efforts face the challenge of unknown mine locations and depths within the castle walls.

A significant discovery is made with the unearthing of a medieval wall just two inches below the surface.

The archaeology suggests the presence of an earlier structure on the site, predating the 14th-century round towers.

A drawbridge mechanism is discovered, indicating a grander entrance to the castle than previously thought.

The team finds evidence of a moat, which is consistent with the castle's defensive architecture.

An 18th-century engraving by the Buck brothers is used to help interpret the castle's layout and missing rooms.

The discovery of a large gold coin in the moat provides a significant dating clue and insight into the castle's wealth.

The gold coin is identified as a noble of Henry V, symbolizing English naval power and linking to the Agincourt campaign.

A Scottish penny found suggests connections between the castle's inhabitants and the Scottish wars.

The excavation reveals the castle's perimeter wall and the remains of a grand tower, adding to the understanding of its structure.

The great hall of the castle is located, providing insights into the social and political life of the medieval knights.

The final phase of the castle's use is revealed as an extravagant garden project that led to the estate's bankruptcy.

The archaeological work at Codnor Castle has successfully uncovered its history, from its earliest phases to its decline.

A gold coin found at the site will be preserved and displayed in the local museum in Derby.

Transcripts
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