Big Dig Weekend : 16th to 18th September

Between 16th and 18th September we will be excavating archaeological test pits at various locations around the town centre in order to look for further evidence of the medieval and later occupants of Appleby. We are therefore looking for volunteers to help with this, and asking you to sign up to one or more days if you can help. Full training will be provided by professional archaeologists in how to excavate and record an archaeological test pit for those of you who may not have participated previously.

Please let me know by return which of the days you can help in the next investigation; the days are Friday 16th, Saturday 17 or Sunday 18th September and the hours are 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. NB: If you are coming as a couple please let me know both your names. Children are welcome under the supervision of an adult. We will be meeting each day at 9:30 am outside the main castle gates at the top of Boroughgate.

Our previous investigation in the garden of St Anne’s Hospital, Boroughgate, revealed a crude cobbled surface, which was identical to one found previously at the top of Boroughgate, and we believe to be medieval in date. Fragments of pottery were recovered including some medieval pottery, and later wares, also some hand-made nails, animal bone and glass. We also found a deep deposit of rubble in the second test pit. The finds indicated this was 19th century and we believe this is probably the demolished remains of a buildings which is shown in this location on the 1861 Ordnance Survey map. This confirmed the results of the geophysical survey which indicated the presence of a high-resistance area.

All you will need to bring is something to drink (for tea breaks), sturdy shoes, and some waterproof clothing (just in case), and sun block (just in case)! Please also being a packed lunch, or else food is available in the town centre (lunch is from 1:00pm to 1:30pm). A fold-up/camping chair would also be useful for tea breaks.  Any other enquiries please contact the Dig Appleby email

Archives Training Events

We have some archives training events planned as part of the Dig Appleby project. These will include a visit to the Kendal Archives and some training in understanding medieval documents. Booking for each of these events is essential.

Transcribing Old Documents (Palaeography Workshop):

Due to popular demand, two presentations of the workshop are now planned:

Wednesday 17th August (2.00pm – 5:00pm). White House, Main Street, Brampton,CA16 6JS. (now fully booked)

Thursday 18th August (10.00am – 1.00pm). Swindalehead Barn, North Stainmore, CA17 4EA

The workshop is designed to introduce people to basic palaeography skills and gain some confidence in transcribing old documents. It will concentrate on 15th and 16th century documents but skills acquired will be useful for anyone with an interest in later documents.

Maximum 8 people on each presentation.

Please bring lined paper, pencils, eraser, magnifying glass (if you have one).


 Kendal Archives Centre Visit:

Tuesday 4th October (1.00pm – 3.00pm). Kendal Archives Centre, Kendal County Hall,Busher Walk, Kendal LA9 4RQ.

The staff at Kendal Archives Centre will be giving us an introduction on how to access, and make best-use of the archives, in order that you can undertake your own research if you feel inspired. A selection of documents focusing on Appleby will also be on display and available for examination.

Maximum 10 people in total on this event. There is some parking at the Archives Centre and a couple of car parks nearby in Kendal. Please meet outside the main entrance at 12:45am.

Booking is on a first come first served basis but further events will be organised depending on demand.

To book, please use the digappleby email address (, clearly stating which events you wish to attend and providing a contact telephone number. We will confirm your booking by return.