Southwell cannonball boy looking to discover new treasure

editorial image

A ten year-old Southwell boy who found a Civil War cannonball in his back garden is helping to uncover more local history.

Jack Sinclair found the 17th century, 8lb cannonball whilst digging a deep hole in his garden where his dad, Andy had been trying remove a tree root.

When they heard about his find and his interest in history, archaeologists from Nottinghamshire County Council invited Jack to join them at their Archaeological Field School at Rufford Abbey Country Park, taking place this week.

Archaeologists and volunteers will be uncovering the foundations and brickwork of an ornamental gateway, which once stood at the northern end of a ‘ride’; an open avenue flanked by trees, which was designed to be part of the ornamental gardens surrounding the house.

After the archaeological work is complete, the foundations will be stabilised and it is hoped that the decorative gates, which are currently in storage, can be repaired and reinstated. The gates, which date back to 1734, were made by Nottingham ironmongers James Foulgham of Bridlesmith Gate.

Speaking before the Field School, Jack Sinclair said: “I found the cannonball by accident, so it will be good to learn about how to dig for things properly. I’m interested in history and I like digging holes so I want to be an archaeologist when I grow up.”

Councillor John Knight, Chairman of the Culture Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “When the archaeology team heard about Jack’s amazing discovery, they thought he would make an ideal candidate to join one of our Archaeology Field Schools. The gateway is located underneath a pathway, so Jack’s digging skills will come in handy!”

The Rufford Field School is made up of 12 volunteers, many of whom are taking part in their first archaeological dig. It gives them a chance to learn about excavating sites, how to recognise archaeological features and how to handle artefacts.