THROUGHOUT 2018 I will be personally available to guide visitors and the public around Ludlow as well as its fantastic 11thC Medieval Norman Castle…


As the Resident Archaeologist of Ludlow Castle I am in the monument at weekends guiding the visitors around the Castle showing them the Archaeology and its historical background. The public are enjoying the Castle tours so much that I am often asked to show people the fascinating archaeology not just of the Castle but now into and below the town…

All tours help to contribute to pay for my PhD education at University and also help me to train students, bring archaeology into schools and education, fund archaeological projects in the town involving the community, helping towards preservation of Ludlow’s artefacts…

Pot H        IMG_4573

EXPERIENCE… the fascinating history and hidden archaeology of Ludlow’s unique past by the town’s interesting local Archaeologist…

SEE… ludlows UNIQUE underground landscape for the first time, Including the Wheatsheaf Inn very own Medieval Drawbridge…under the Broad Gate

GO BACK IN TIME…Experience the unique Medieval Castle & archaeology of the town

DISCOVER…The Secret & Hidden Archaeology of Ludlow



Ludlow Castle Tours

Ludlow Town Tours

Your own personal Private tours

Lectures & Talks

Educational Visits

Re enactments


CONTACT LEON: 07969 637022 -01594 873447




The Archaeology of Ritual & Magic in Ludlow


Ritual & Magic H
I’m giving a special lecture on the ‘Archaeology of Ritual & Magic in Ludlow’
This talk is covering all of the unusual finds / artefacts that I have been discovering (and uncovering) in the town on my archaeological far

An intereasting talk with a few surprises…
Including Daisy wheels, local ancient superstitions & practices, and even some Victorian hob nailed boots found stuffed up chimneys

L Daisy Wheel H  Daisy H


Victirian Shoes H

I’m delivering it on Monday 30th October at 19:30 at the Wheatsheaf Inn Lower Broad Street (see poster)
Please feel free to come along.

Meanwhile I’ll keep you all posted on what I’m uncovering…

Witch Bottles H


The Archaeology of Ritual & Magic in Ludlow

Finds & Artefact Update…

Archaeologists deal with material culture as the finds we unearth on excavations are just a small part of the bigger picture…

Archaeology after all is not about finding things but finding things out. Long gone are the days of hunting for a treasure that has an intrinsic material value and its antiquarianism values to boot. As professional archaeologists, we try to piece the past together linking any clues we find (or not as the case may be) to the wider landscape


Material things we find on excavations vary on a wide scale from pottery, domestic items for everyday use, the remains of building structures to sentimental items and or ritualistic objects that may be a part of a burial. These items are invaluable not for their monetary worth but for what story the item is trying to tell…how it got where it did? why did it get there and for what purpose? Whats it story?

After all when we conceive of the notion that finds from graves and burials will tell us more about the living than the dead, after all the dead don’t bury themselves

The art of detection for an honest reflection’

Here are some of the finds from my excavations and surveys of Ludlow so far…back to the lab



Doors H

Bone I expect to find everywhere especially in medieval deposits of the historic core of the town. Every excavation so far has yielded quite a quantity and it all has to be cleaned counted and analysed. Cut marks on the bone usually indicate domestic butchery.

Bones H

1: Neolithic flint (scraper) 4000 BC

Found in a mixed deposit in a trench along Corve Street so cannot be firmly placed there…However it is an indication of  the wider prehistoric landscape.

Nreolithic H

2: Medieval monastic floor tiles.

Found at two sites accross the road from each other in a known monastic area of the town and not very far down. Possibly 13th -14th century in date of a good quality. The second broken tile has wearing visible.

Med Tile H


Tile H

3: Rim and decoration of a 12th -13th century jug found at a site of high potential.

Pot 1250 H

4: Tympanum

This beauty found at bottom of Corve street that is inside someones house. Hardly any weathering and the carving is of a Griffin and a Lion in good condition. This looks like the same style from the expert stonemasons of the Herefordshire school of Romanesque Sculpture in the 12th century, with examples at Kilpeck and Pipe Aston.

Ludlow Tymp H

5: 18th century glass fragment

Glass H

6: Nazi 50 Riechen Fennich coin.

Found in an obscure place with other coins from different periods

Nazi H

7: Medieval Bullring

Possible 15th century medieval Bullring

Bullring H


8: Medieval Jug handle

14th -15th century part of a jug handle

Jug Handle H




Finds & Artefact Update…

Ludlow Medieval Artefact Study & Test Pit Excavations


TP Ex 1 H   TP Ex 2 H TP 33CS H


Here in Ludlow we have a unique historic medieval market town that is situated in south Shropshire. The town has had over 75 years of historians researching and postulating over the medieval surviving texts, and this led them to begin to compile their chronologies…so far

Over 450 listed historic buildings in the town still surviving… and there is the high potential of undisturbed archaeology that remains buried.

Medieval H

The Medieval Artefact study is now in preperation and I am aiming to complete a test pit excavation in the historic core of the town within the next few years. I can then retrieve any archaeological evidence and analyse them back in the museum lab. From here I will be able to understand in particular the medieval pottery in order to get me a date range on the origins of the town…

The Test Pits…

The idea of test pits is to get a sample of the archaeology underneath an urban environment using a simple less invasive strategy than a full-scale excavation. This gives me a sample of the archaeology underneath the town, as on any excavation, the idea to get a view underneath the ground to examine visible trace remains of a past landscape.

It’s like peeling back layers of an onion. In a rural environment, there is plenty of open space to investigate without the complications of urban buildings disturbing the soil.

IAT Essex H

But in an urban environment you are restricted….by buildings and less open spaces

Ludlow H

Going Down…

The methodology of excavating the test pits is to excavate down 10cm spits. In each layer everything that is found is bagged and tagged from their individual contexts.

From site the finds are recorded and separated into pottery, tile, bone, metal, glass and organic finds, the context layer found in is recorded on the finds bags. Then they are to be sent back to Ludlow Museum to be cleaned, recorded and analysed

TP Context H     test-pit-layers-image






Ludlow Medieval Artefact Study & Test Pit Excavations

Archaeology Discovery Week…. A Great Success



The very first Ludlow Castle ‘Archaeology Discovery Week’ kicked off this year 2017 with fantastic success and we’ve just had one of the best weeks here at the Castle…

IMG_6058      LCT1 H

After a week of interacting with the public all things archaeological were discussed, demonstrated and talked about with the public fully engaging in the events.

 IMG_6086  LC Show 1 H

With the sun shining most of the week I met loads of people had lots of laughs, and met lots of future archaeologists so a BIG thank you to all those that came along

                             LCT1 2 H

Both Saturdays had a great response with the Victorian William St John Hope and his Mad scientist assistant making a grand appearance… who just so happened to pop in from the future and give us the science bit…


LC Show Keep 1 H

LC Show 6 H                                               LC Backstage Lamp H


     It was a fantastic event and next year will be even better…

Archaeology Discovery Week…. A Great Success

Press Release… ‘Ludlow Castle Archaeology Discovery Week’

Leon Castel H

Ludlow Castle resident archaeologist to guide tours

One of the region’s most impressive ruins now has its own resident archaeologist – and he will be showing the public around over the next two weeks.
Leon Bracelin, well known in Ludlow for his ongoing surveys around the town, has now turned his attention to Ludlow Castle itself and across the Easter holidays will be conducting talks and tours around the towering medieval structure at the heart of the historic town.

Leon, aged 43, is a freelance archaeologist, now working towards his PhD, who has been carrying out survey projects around Ludlow for the past few years, first looking around basements and subterranean passages to see what remains of the older town and, more recently, calling for Ludlow residents to let him open test pits and conduct a green survey looking under flowerbeds. to build up a catalogue of medieval pottery for the town as part of his studies, which is ongoing.

He said: “Late last year the custodian of the castle, Sonja Belchere, got wind of what I was doing in town and invited me to come into the castle as a professional and develop the archaeological understanding of the castle.”

He said he was the first person to take on the role as resident archaeologist and the last in-depth archaeology at the castle was done in 1903 by William St John Hope, with most of the knowledge and research about it coming from documents and texts rather than a physical examination of the structure itself.

“It’s so massively misunderstood, presently people looking around don’t really know what they’re looking at.                                                                                                                           “But the archaeology is second to none, you can see all the phases of development,” he said.                                                                                                                                                            He said people tended to focus on the outer battlements, but the main area with its 12th century round chapel of Mary Magdalene, linked to the Knights Templar, was much older and more interesting.

He said the role was a dream come true. “I feel like I’ve been ‘given the keys to the castle’. It’s pivotal for me because as a monument it’s central to my studies – and as I take people around it’s reinforcing my own knowledge,” he said. An archaeology discovery week will be held between Saturday 8 and April 15. Leon will be leading ongoing free tours inside the castle – though the usual castle entrance fees still apply – and there will also be an archaeological treasure hunt and lectures on the archaeology of the monument.

Leon and staff at the castle will continue to give archaeological guided tours during the weekends of the tourist season to raise awareness of the monuments history.


Press Release… ‘Ludlow Castle Archaeology Discovery Week’

Ludlow Castle ‘Archaeology Discovery Week’ 8th April – 16th April 2017




This Easter Ludlow Castle and myself as the resident archaeologist are producing an ‘Archaeological Discovery Week’ here inside the castle.

Archaeology Discovery week starts during the first week of the Easter holidays from Saturday 8th – 16th April. Come along and enjoy this public event to help raise the awareness of the fascinating archaeology of the 11th century monument and the town.

There’s all things archaeological going on inside that you can see and do, and William St John Hope from the Victorian era will be appearing.  Look out for him on the weekends alongside other characters, giving an insight into what was first discovered at the monument on the first excavation in 1903…

If you can’t get there during the week then by all means come along and have yourself a dirty weekend… will be great fun!


Other activities during the week will also include

  • Lectures will be given in the castle on all aspects of the Castles archaeology and in relation to that of the town. These will be given at the weekends and throughout the week

IMG_5708    135-Plan-of-Ludlow-Castle-q75-467x500

  • Small scale excavation for children (and adults)in the outer bailey whereby you can get some practical insights into excavation processes.

IMG_5947         DSC00725

  • Town archaeological tours visiting some of Ludlow’s medieval military archaeological remains that link to the castle.

IMG_4573  Friends Tour H

8th – 16th APRIL 2017


Ludlow Castle ‘Archaeology Discovery Week’ 8th April – 16th April 2017