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The Newark Civil War Project is a long term collaborative venture by the University of Sheffield and the newly established National Civil War Centre at Newark. It aims to comprehensively review the 17th-century siegeworks surrounding Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire and produce a major HLF bid for a community project investigating this nationally significant site.

Historical Background

Newark -on-Trent played a major role in the first English Civil War (1642-1646). A Royalist stronghold located on the last bridging point of the River Trent and at the crossing of the Fosse Way and Great North Road, it became increasingly important to the King’s cause as Parliament began to gain control of the country. As a result, it was besieged three times before it surrendered, at the King’s bequest, in May 1646.

The sieges resulted in extensive siegeworks constructed by both the Parliamentarian besiegers and Royalist besieged. These included the Queen’s Sconce, “Edinburgh” (a large fort constructed by the Scots fighting for Parliament) and the Parliamentarian line of circumvallation; a line of ditches and fortlets called redoubts which encircled the town. The surviving earthworks, including the Queen’s Sconce, represent the most complete example of Civil War siegeworks in England but many others, including Edinburgh and most of the line of circumvallation, have been lost in the ensuing centuries.

Project Aims

Despite being a site of national significance, the earthworks relating to the siege have not been comprehensively studied since 1964, when the Royal Commission on Historic Monuments (RCHM) published a topographic survey of the upstanding remains. The project will review this report in the light of subsequent archaeological research and will assess the potential of modern geophysical and topographical survey techniques to locate and record both upstanding and destroyed remains. This will result in community project to survey and investigate the earthworks and disseminate these results to the general public and academic communities.

Contact the Project

Dr Hugh Willmott
Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield
Northgate House
West Street
Sheffield, S1 4ET

The project is generously funded by a grant from the HIEF Funded Collaborative R&D Award Scheme run by the University of Sheffield