Preparations are underway for the second year of the Tinsley Manor Project, a three-year Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Your Heritage’ project being undertaken by Wessex Archaeology’s Sheffield team in partnership with Heeley City Farm and Tinsley Junior School. The education and community project is investigating the possibility that the remains of a medieval manor house may survive beneath the school. The ‘Old Manor House’ farm was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the school.
The first season has been a great success with the children many of whom are learning English as a second language and learning about archaeology for the first time. They have explored the history of the local area, taken part in archive research, map regression, geophysical survey, test-trenching and finds processing. The project is also engaging the community through a new volunteer group focusing on archival research and collating oral histories, but also training in survey techniques. The local history society, church coffee morning group, local library and community forum have been spreading the word, collecting old photographs and memories.
At the end of the summer term four trenches were located on the school playing fields in relation to the results of map regression and resistivity survey and three revealed stone and brick foundations and surfaces. The Year 5s converted their classroom into a site hut for the duration of the fieldwork. The site was open to the whole school community and visitors included the local history group, parents, school governors, the local press and the Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts who called in to check on progress. Finds recovered from the trenches included a sherd of medieval 12th to 15th century pottery along with post-medieval pottery, clay tobacco pipe, glass, brick, slate and animal bone.
Wessex Senior Project Manager Richard O’Neill will be talking about the Tinsley project at a forthcoming ‘Archaeology in Partnership’ workshop at Sheffield’s Weston Park Museum on 22th October.