Severn Trent uncovers new historical findings in Newark

Wednesday 25th April 2018

Severn Trent’s £60 million investment in Newark has unearthed exciting discoveries about the town’s history dating back to the 17th-century.

Archaeologists working as part of the company’s water and waste improvement scheme in the town, have revealed the original moat created to defend Newark Castle during the English Civil War.

Severn Trent Programme Engineer Nick Wallace said: ‘It’s really exciting we’ve been able to reveal these glimpses of Newark’s hidden heritage during our work. We’re unveiling new information which adds to the already rich story of the development of this historic town.”

Severn Trent is working in Newark until 2020, and have a resident archaeologist on hand to oversee the work to make sure that the heritage remains undisturbed.

This latest discovery adds to a number of significant findings already uncovered during the company’s work, which includes the discovery of a defensive ditch along Queen’s Road dating to the third siege of Newark, which happened in 1645-1646.

“These findings are really fascinating, and it’s brilliant that our work has been able to uncover them,” said Nick. “It’s also especially pleasing that we’ve been able to uncover such an historically important find while also being able to continue with our work, this means there’s no disruption to our programme which will be a benefit to everyone, as we’re still on track to complete our work on Castle Gate in June.”

Severn Trent discovered the three metre deep moat during its work on Castle Gate.

Senior Project Archaeologist with Trent & Peak Archaeology Vicky Owen said: “This is a fantastic find. Documents indicate that Newark Castle was founded by around 1135AD by Bishop Alexander with the permission of King Henry I. The resulting castle, with a ditch and rampart large enough to divert the Fosseway, would have dominated this part of the town. The portion of the moat we’ve been able to excavate contains animal bones and green glazed pottery dating broadly from the 13th- and 14th- centuries. This suggests that the ditch began infilling around the time that this part of castle began to fall into decay.”

Floss Newman from Newark and Sherwood District Council added: “This is an incredibly important find for Newark and the Castle.  We have read about there being a moat and mention it as part of tours so to have this find confirming the existence of the moat brings it to reality.”

To coincide with the findings, Newark and Sherwood District Council is holding Civil War re-enactments in May with more information on these available on it’s website.

“With the Gatehouse receiving Heritage Lottery Funding these are exciting times for Newark and the Castle as we unearth more of its vast and rich history with the discovery of the moat,” said Floss.

Severn Trent’s project in Newark is the company’s biggest investment in the East Midlands, with contract partners BNM Alliance carrying out work on behalf of the company.

When completed, more than 400 homes and businesses will be protected from sewer flooding and the town will have a reliable water system to last future generations.

For more information about the work in Newark, please visit