University to help community excavate historic hall

Thursday 9 February 2012
Newton Hall
Newton Hall
University of Salford archaeologists will be helping people in Tameside to excavate the grounds of one of their historic gems, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The funding, awarded to the Tameside Local History Forum, will allow the University’s Centre for Applied Archaeology to train local people in the techniques they need to find out more about Newton Hall in Hyde.

Thought to be one of the oldest buildings in the area, the manor house was originally built around 1380 and is one of the North West’s oldest ‘cruck’ buildings – where curve wooden beams are supported by an A-frame. It is privately owned and has been restored by W Kenyon and Sons.

To help find out more, the University’s archaeologists will be training volunteers, some of whom will be drawn from schools, in archaeological techniques. These skills will not only help them find out how Newton Hall developed, but will also help them organise to carry out more digs in the future.

Chris Clough, secretary Tameside Local History Forum, said:  “The site of Newton Hall has a long and interesting history. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Christopher Kenyon, local residents and schoolchildren will be able to investigate its development and learn new skills which can be used in similar projects.

“Tameside Local History Forum is delighted with this award and looks forward to working with all those concerned with the project.”

Brian Grimsditch, senior community archaeologist at the University of Salford said: “Teaching the community how to carry out digs is an extremely important part of our work. By giving people these skills, they are encouraged to get out and about and learn more about where they live.

“We’re really looking forward to meeting our volunteers and getting started on the project.”

The dig will be preceded by a series of workshops for the volunteers and takes place in April 2012.