Volunteers at Codnor Castle have unearthed an important artefact which will help them learn more about the 11th century medieval castle.
Tom Saint, 19, son of one of the castle’s trustees came across the 13th century English gothic ‘quatrefoil’ during a routine maintenance clean up of the castle’s grounds.
A quatrefoil is a traditional Christian decorative symbol primarily found on prominent architectural structures of religious buildings. This particular find is believed to be from the castle’s chapel.
Upon making the discovery, members of the castle’s heritage trust contacted community archaeology roup Mercian Archaeological Services which has spent the past few months assessing the quatrefoil and the surrounding site in attempt to piece together the history of Codnor Castle.
This week Rokia Brown, chairman of the Codnor Castle Trust, told the News how the rare and significant find was unearthed.
She said: “We were doing routine maintenance on the site and we were in the process of moving an old stone that was being used as a step for one of the barns when Tom noticed it was peculiar and had markings on it when we lifted it.
“We got in touch with Mercian Archaeological Services who had a look at it themselves and they helped confirm that it was indeed a very significant discovery.
“We’ve been working with them for the last year now to identify what it was we’ve found and get as much information as we can, and we’re delighted with what we’ve worked out so far.”
Rokia says that when the cross was examined along with other discoveries found over the years, the quatrefoil really helped them learn a lot more about the history of Codnor Castle.
She said: “In terms of the value of information that the find will give us, it’s absolutely priceless.
“It will help us put a more solid date to the castle and will give us a good indication of the status of the castle at the time of use.
“When you put everything together all the evidence shows us that everything is from the early 13th century.”
“The design of the quatrefoil tells us a lot about the grandeur of Codnor Castle.
“All in all it’s another piece of a very important jigsaw.”
The Codnor Castle Trust has also put out an appeal for funding to anyone with a keen interest in local history and archaeology.
The group has also had plans approved to excavate much more of castle and everything is now firmly in place with volunteers ready to get to work.
The funding needed will go towards a ground penetrating radar, which uses radar pulses to help see what is underneath the ground and help in the group’s search for any more significant finds.
This would help the trust solidify important information and help further verify the facts it already has about the castle.
Next month the popular Victorian picnic event will return to the castle on May, 4 starting at 11am and finishing at 3pm.