Castle Close Heritage

The project is a sequel to the HEFA test pit digs done in collaboration with Access Cambridge Archaeology from 2007-2011. A group of University of Cambridge archaeologists and historians, led by Dr Carenza Lewis, is helping community groups in the East of England to develop ideas for researching aspects of local heritage under the banner “All Our Stories”. These projects have been funded by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The full working title for the funded project is “Sharnbrook’s moated earthwork – castle, manor house or what?”
Sharnbrook has a circular moated earthwork in an area known as Castle Close. The Sharnbrook Local History Group wants to lead an investigation into its origin and purpose (Norman castle, Saxon ringwork, mediaeval manor house or something else?), and its relationship to the rest of the village. With the support of Cambridge University archaeologists we will use excavations, surveys and fieldwalking, and also research documentary evidence.
The Photography and Art Groups of Sharnbrook Learning for Pleasure will also contribute their skills to the presentation of the project and its findings.

Heritage Focus
Sharnbrook has a circular moated earthwork, which has intrigued residents and visitors alike. Although Bedfordshire has many moated sites very few are circular. This has led to various ideas about its origins. Documentary evidence suggests the earthwork may have been constructed in 12C as a manor house. However other suggestions are that it was built as one of a chain of Norman castles along the River Ouse (its field name is Castle Close), or as a Saxon ringwork.
Pottery from test pits dug around the village has shown evidence of occupation from the Iron Age onwards, but few sherds have been found in test pits dug near the earthwork to indicate […]

By |July 27th, 2013|Project|Comments Off on Castle Close Heritage

Ag Labs

aglab tunics

The Census project 1841-1901 showed there had been a significant decrease in the number of Agricultural Labourers between 1871 and 1881. This event had been seen in our comparisons with Colin Watt’s research at Clophill but the timing was different – can we establish why? Were there any national, regional or local issues which affected this type of worker?

This project aims to identify what happened to those village residents – did they leave the village? did they find new employment or did they upgrade their skills whilst still working on the land?

The project listed all the named agricultural labourers and their families from the 1871 census and sought to establish whether they had died before 1881 or what occupation they had in 1881 and where they were then living.

Reference material: BHRS Vol 60, 1981 ‘The Bedfordshire Farm Worker in the 19thC’  – Nigel Agar

Analysis of the data shows many different reasons for the decline:

aglab residents  aglab leavers

The project was completed via  a presentation to the SLHG in spring programme 2009, the MS Powerpoint file is in the archive.


By |July 25th, 2013|Project|Comments Off on Ag Labs

Census Data 1841-1901

The aim was to create a single source for holding all the Victorian Census data entries for the village. The chosen tool was an Excel speadsheet and distribution would be via a CD format. The method involved:

  1. creating a common format to hold all the various data collected for the years 1841-1901 ; this would be based on the FREECEN template such that it would be possible to upload our data to that public project.
  2. creating a process for transcription of data from online sources – this would include rules for handling enumerators errors, blank fields etc. It would be important to retain both the data as recorded and any correction applied.
  3. creating a process of independent checking for verification of the transcribed data.
  4. analysing the data for trends based on age, occupation, gender etc using Excel pivot tables, graphics etc

The methodology should allow for the results to be used in any future project as new census returns are published every ten years as the 100 year rule is met.

The final outputs would include a presentation to the SLHG and a distribution of a CD to all members who wish to access the data in support of their local or family history projects.

By |July 25th, 2013|Project|Comments Off on Census Data 1841-1901

Street Names

To identify and analyse all current and past names of all existing and previous streets in the village using parish records and newspaper articles

By |July 25th, 2013|Project|Comments Off on Street Names

Heritage Trail

By |July 25th, 2013|Project|Comments Off on Heritage Trail

St Peter’s Church


By |July 25th, 2013|Project|Comments Off on St Peter’s Church