21/09/2018
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New augmented reality experience brings Sheffield Castle to life

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Sheffield Castle, the medieval building in which Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned for fourteen years, can now be seen for the first time since it was almost completely destroyed hundreds of years ago.

The castle, which once stood in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, was one of the grandest and most powerful castles in the north of England and was home to some of the great families of the time, including the de Furnivals, Nevils, Shrewsburys and Howards.

Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner there for 14 years between 1570 and 1584, before she was executed in 1587. The castle was then destroyed by Parliament following the Civil War in 1646.

Bringing Sheffield Castle back to life

The augmented reality experience is is based on research by University of Sheffield archaeologists on material uncovered from excavations at the castle in the 1920s and 1950s that is currently curated by Museums Sheffield.

It has been developed in collaboration with Sheffield-based creative agency Human as part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project led by Professor Dawn Hadley and Professor John Moreland from the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology, Carolyn Butterworth from the School of Architecture, and Dr Steve Maddock from the Department of Computer Science. 

Visitors to the experience at Sheffield's Festival of the Mind will be able to see a full virtual model of the castle in what is believed to be the most accurate visual impression of the castle ever produced.

Hidden away for hundreds of years

Professor Dawn Hadley said: 'Sheffield Castle was almost completely destroyed during the English Civil War and most of what does remain of its original structure has been hidden away from the public for hundreds of years. This is one of the main reasons why the castle and its history are largely unknown, but now we hope that with the creation of this augmented reality experience people will be able to see the castle in all of its glory and learn more about its fascinating history.'

Professor John Moreland added: 'Sheffield Castle has a remarkable history but it’s a real shame that its story is not as well-known as some of the more popular castles in the north of England. It was a Royalist stronghold during the civil war and it was seen as such a threat and strategically important that parliamentary forces ordered it to be destroyed.

'Its history is also closely connected to the birth of the city of Sheffield, so we hope that the new augmented reality model will enable people to explore this forgotten chapter of Sheffield’s medieval origins.'

See the augmented reality experience

The augmented reality experience is set to be unveiled for the public to view as part of Festival of the Mind – ten-day city-wide festival showcasing some of the latest pioneering research from the University in collaboration with Sheffield’s creative, cultural and digital industries.

Nick Bax, Creative Director of Human said: 'This formidable medieval castle is an important part of Sheffield's past that many people are unaware of. We are thrilled to have been involved in returning it to the memory of the city together with academics from the University of Sheffield and hope that it will help to forge a new future for the Castlegate area.'

The exhibition runs from Thursday 20 September to Thursday 27 September 2018 in the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.

For more information on this free event, visit the website.

More on Mary Queen of Scots

Discover the real story of Mary Queen of Scots with History Scotland’s limited edition souvenir magazine that looks at the forthcoming Mary Queen of Scots movie and explores the history behind the woman who became queen at six days old.

Inside you can enjoy:

  • Who’s who? Key players in the Mary Queen of Scots story
  • The five turning points in Mary's life
  • Mary versus Elizabeth I – what were relations between the two queens really like?
  • Mary Queen of Scots movie news and interviews
  • Visit places connected to Mary's life

Pre-order to reserve your copy.

(AR images copyright University of Sheffield/Human. Film image © FOCUS FEATURES LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

 

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