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history : a walk through the archaeology of Castle Bytham : cinder hill

added 27/07/04

There is strong evidence that this part of Lincolnshire was an important early centre of iron production. Walking back down the hill along Station Road a small footpath runs downhill towards the castle across the field known as Cinder Hill.

Much burnt material and slag, residue from the smelting of iron, has been discovered here. At the bottom of the valley in the field to the right (known as Pode Hole Field or 'The Poodles'*) is thought to be the site of a Roman Villa. This interpretation is based on finds of tessarae (the clay blocks used to make mosaic floors), Roman pottery nd building materials. The site is recorded as having been excavated by a local farmer in the 1930's bu the present writer has been unable to locate any records from this work.

These sites, along with the Domesday Book reference to iron forges, emphasise the long history of metal working in the parish.

Other early iron working sites in the parish are to be found at Iron Stone Corner to the north of the village, in Mill Field to the east of the village and along the banks of the Tham below the castle. In addition to suitable sources of iron ore in South Kesteven it is thought that the extensive woodlands in this part of the county would have been managed for the production of the charcoal necessary for the smelting process.

* the field name 'Pode Hole' is most often found in wet valley floors and marshy wet locations. It is thought to relate to a place where toads and frogs could be found.

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Heritage Lincolnshire is an independent charitable trust working to promote and enhance Lincolnshire's rich heritage for the benefit of local people and visitors.

The Trust is supported by County and District Councils, national heritage bodies and through commercial activities and sponsorship.

Acknowledgment ...

The text shown on this page has been reproduced from a booklet written by Dan Ratcliffe, from the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, to accompany a walk around the village of Castle Bytham which he led as part of the Midsummer Fair in June 2004.

We are grateful for their permission to reproduce the document on this website.