In 1915 a large portion of the site previously occupied by Sheffield Castle was purchased from us by the Brightside and Carbrook Co-operative Society, for the construction of a new store.
Work began on site in 1927. A L Armstrong, acting for the Society of Antiquaries and the Hunter Archaeological Society was given the task or recording and findings.
In 1928 work was also started by us on the construction of Castle Hill Market, at the rear of the proposed Co-operative store, on a site covering another area of the old castle.
A survey was carried out from 1927 to 1930, which revealed parts of the gatehouse associated with the inner court. The gatehouse with two flanking towers was located on the southeast side. Beyond this was a moat, the bottom of which lay some 33 feet below the level of Exchange Street. The lower part of the ditch was cut into the rock. On the north side of the castle, part of a vaulted roof and the base of a circular pillar were discovered, as well as evidence of what Armstrong took to be remains of the de Lovetot castle, destroyed by fire in 1266. Under that layer he also found what was claimed to be a large timber Saxon structure. He speculated that this may have been Waltheof's Aula (hall).
A number of artefacts were found on the site, principally from the moat. These included pottery, shoes, a key, clay pipes, pins, coins, cannonballs and knives. Many of these are on display at the City Museum in Weston Park.
Between 1958 and 1972 L H Butcher also observed and recorded the results of building work in the area of the castle. None of this early work was carried out using modern archaeological techniques. Nonetheless it is a valuable source of information about the castle.
Early in 1994 the South Yorkshire Archaeology Service and the South Yorkshire Archaeology Field Research Unit were commissioned to undertake a structural survey of the surviving parts of the castle now located in a chamber close to the Meat and Fish Market. Following remedial works to the surrounding structure, this area has now been made accessible to the public.
To find out how to access more information about the history of Sheffield visit the Local Studies Library.