Experts set to dig up the past in Tadcaster

Ready for the archaeologic dig at Tadcaster are some of the Historical Society members, from left, John Firth, Susie Venables, Bil Oldroyd, Margaret Dawson. Picture by: Gil Firth.
Ready for the archaeologic dig at Tadcaster are some of the Historical Society members, from left, John Firth, Susie Venables, Bil Oldroyd, Margaret Dawson. Picture by: Gil Firth.
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Tadcaster Historical Society has been awarded £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage programme to help uncover the underground secrets of the town’s past.

With funding support from Tadcaster Town Council and the local Community Engagement Forum in place too, historians are ready to go with a trial community dig at the side of the River Wharfe in Tadcaster.

The Cottages around 1900. St Mary's Church is to the left, the viaduct to the right (s)

The Cottages around 1900. St Mary's Church is to the left, the viaduct to the right (s)

“The proposed site is at the heart of historic Tadcaster in the area where the Norman motte and bailey castle guarded the river crossing,” said Tadcaster Historical Society spokesman John Firth.

“It is thought that the Roman road to Eboracum (York) was nearby as well as Roundhead gun emplacements during the Civil War.

“From the 1840s to the 1960s the site had stone cottages on it so the possibilities for what might be unearthed are endless.”

The project is keen to hear from any resident who knows anything about these cottages - who built them, lived there, what did they do?

The Historical Society will be working with professional archaeologists but hopes to involve Tadcaster residents in the dig.

“From the start we are working with local schools and the community,” added John, who is leading the project on behalf of the Historical Society,

“Exploring the past in a dig like this can help people develop new skills as well as find out a lot more about the town they live in and, apart from all that, they can have some fun.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF in Yorkshire and Humber said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that the local community of Tadcaster can embark on a real journey of discovery.”

Leading up to Easter trial trenches will be dug and the contents explored and recorded.

There will also be an oral history project exploring the memories of residents and an extensive search of historical documents and photographs relating to the site.

An exhibition of findings will be staged in the town at the close of the project.

To become involved contact John Firth on 01937 830638 or email: tadriverbankdig@yahoo.co.uk