The University of Sheffield
Department of Archaeology

Medieval Castleton and HopeCastleton

For the last 4 years we have been primarily focussed on defining the location of, and exploring the character and development of a Medieval Leper Hospital (Hospital of Saint Mary in the Peak) that we know from historical evidence was located between the villages of Castleton and Hope in Derbyshire. This year for the first time we are extending the project to also look at the development of the Medieval villages of Hope and Castleton.
The hospital of the ‘Castle of the Peak’ was reputedly founded by the wife of one of the William Peverels before 1153, and continued with a succession of wardens as a hospital until 1543 or soon after. The two earliest documents referring to Spital Field are a grant and a Charter from the early 14th century. We also know that Castleton was a planned town in the 12th century built, along with the castle, by the Peverils. Little is known about the early development of the village other than town defences, parts of which are still visible today. Hope village is an earlier settlement and is mentioned as early as 926 in a charter relating to King Athelstan. The church at Hope is the only one in North Derbyshire mentioned in the Domesday Book. These two villages have very different origins; however in both cases their early development is not well understood.
This season’s work is a continuation of several stages of work already undertaken on and around the suggested site of the Medieval hospital at Castleton. We will be continuing with excavation, geophysical and topographic survey in order to understand the hospital more fully and to investigate other sites within the two villages. The work this year will also include a series of test pits across the two villages as the first stage in a programme of excavation to identify the areas of medieval activity and to begin to understand the origins and development of these two villages.