Archaeologists have uncovered crop marks near Kidderminster, next to the parking lot of Hartlebury Castle that they believe could be signs of a historic Civil War fortification.
In the small Worcestershire village of Hartlebury, a member of the Worcestershire Archives and Archaeology team conducted a photogrammetric drone survey over the former Bishop’s castle in Hartlebury without an expectation and found important landmarks. The discovery was made next to the parking lot of Hartlebury Castle.
Hartlebury Castle is a Grade I listed building in Central England. Built in the mid-13th century by King Burgred of Mercia, it was the residence of the bishops. Since April 2018 it has been open to visitors.
A triangular marker was found on the high ground above the castle’s current parking lot. Archaeologists believe it may have once been a bastion where a cannon was held to blast enemy forces. They also think there may be a second similar building nearby and an investigation has been launched to find it.
The latest discovery, made in July 2022, could reveal the site’s history from the early 17th century to when the Royalists occupied the site, Birmingham Live reports.
The English Civil War briefly took place between 1642 and 1651 due to political disagreements between Parliamentarians-Roundheads + Royalists-Cavaliers. And according to Worcestershire’s archive team, 200 cannon and 15 barrels of gunpowder were recorded in 1647.
Cropmarks are a means by which subsurface archaeological features or structures can be seen from the air. They can be used to uncover buried archaeological sites that are not visible from the ground. Recent heatwaves in the UK have also made it easier to find some cropmarks.
A spokesperson for the archaeology team explained: “In the hot weather of July 2022, one of our Project Officers undertook a work in the grounds of Hartlebury Castle. The parched grass was ideal for showing cropmarks and sometimes just a peek can do the trick.”
“To my surprise and delight, a very distinctive crop mark appeared on high ground on the eastern side of the fortress. The crop mark took the shape of a very large triangle pointing east. It was at least 60 meters wide from east to west and 50 meters from north to south. In the center of this was more lightly parched brown grass, indicating that the ground had not been dug there.”
As a result, it is possible that the discovery was a relic for the installation of a defensive cannon.
Cover photo: Drone footage from Hartlebury Castle showing crop marks looking east.