Research Projects

Tutbury castle has an exciting history, but there is always more to discover. A research project was set up at the end of 2002 to find more about the castle’s past, jointly run by Tutbury Castle, the British Museum and the University of Birmingham.

Tutbury Castle is mentioned in a wide variety of historical records. These include accounts which tell us when the different buildings were built, how much they cost, and even where the stone and timber came from. Other records tell who owned the castle and the surrounding estates, or about important events and people linked with the castle. There are also pictures and descriptions of the castle by visitors at different periods throughout history. The pictures are particularly helpful in tracing the many changes that have taken place since the destruction of the castle in the 1640s.

Following on from that, it is important to make a detailed record for the future of the buildings as they are today. This is partly done by hand, but we also have also used a laser scanning system known as LIDAR to start building a complete virtual 3D model of the castle.

The remains above the ground only tell part of the story. Geophysical research allow archaeologists to develop a picture of possible structures under the ground without digging, by surveying the ground with a variety of instruments and mapping the different patterns which emerge.

The castle has been excavated in the past, but none of these excavations has been fully published. The current project includes a detailed survey of previous work, and this will provide an opportunity to make material from the earlier excavations more widely available.

The project also includes new excavations. Four seasons of excavations were carried out in 2004-2007. Results include traces of the earth ramparts of the Norman castle, medieval stone walls near the folly on top of the motte, and one end of a late medieval building which now seems certain to have been the lodging of Mary Queen of Scots in 1585. In addition to large structures, we also have individual finds from the Stone Age down through the Middle Ages to the Civil War and beyond.

‘Tutbury: A Castle Firmly Built’ is now available to purchase from the castle for £50.00. Please contact us for details.

History of Medicine

Lesley Smith, Curator of Tutbury Castle, is a medical historian and specialist in her field. Lesley has a particular interest in the lives of women in the late 16th century. She gives lectures to audiences ranging from medical specialists to special interest groups and can be booked to appear through the castle.

Tutbury Castle is registered as a research centre, acting as an outreach post for Birmingham University, which Lesley Smith is attached to. This means those wishing to study the history of medicine may have the opportunity to find out more through the castle or possibly work on research projects on the castle.

Tutbury Castle Trust

The Tutbury Castle Trust (Registered Charity no.1111607) was established in 2005, with the aim of advancing public knowledge and understanding of Tutbury Castle. Its remit includes supporting research into the history and archaeology of Tutbury Castle and the honour of Tutbury, promoting interest in the local historical environment and developing educational resources relating to the history of the castle and the Tutbury area.

Find Out More

If you would like to find out more about the research project or the trust, or if you would like to make a donation, please contact Dr Gareth Williams at

For further information about the History of Medicine, please call Lesley Smith on 01283 812129, or email