Archaeological excavations at Bradgate Park uncover the home of Lady Jane Grey

Free public event to reveal new discoveries at popular attraction will take place on Saturday 29 June.

  • Discoveries made by archaeologists at Bradgate Park in Leicestershire include evidence for Ice Age hunting (c. 14,500 years ago), Mesolithic hunting (c. 6000 to 9000 years ago), Iron Age settlement and a medieval hunting lodge
  • Excavations this year are focusing on Bradgate House and are revealing new evidence for the buildings that Lady Jane Grey might have known as a child
  • Members of the public are invited to learn about the latest discoveries being made by University of Leicester archaeologists at a free family Open Day at Bradgate Park on Saturday 29 June between 11.00am and 4.00pm

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have returned to Bradgate Park for their fifth season of excavations.

Aiming to uncover the hidden history of this popular attraction, the Bradgate Park Fieldschool is a five-year programme of research (2015-2019).

Project co-director, Dr Richard Thomas from the University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, explained: “Excavations over the last four years have shown that people have been coming to Bradgate Park for a very long time. We now have evidence for Ice Age hunting, Mesolithic hunting, Iron Age settlement and a medieval hunting lodge.

“Our most surprising find, however, has been the discovery of stone buildings pre-dating the brick structures of Bradgate House. While Bradgate House is such an iconic site, very little is known about the standing structure and how it changed over time. Our evidence suggests that the home Lady Jane Grey would have recognised, may have looked very different from what we see today.”

“Our fifth season of excavations will help us better understand the changing appearance of Bradgate House. We are focusing attention on a series of stone structures that underlie the standing brick buildings. We will be trying to date their construction and when they were demolished to make way for the current structures. We also hope to find evidence that tells about the living standards of one of the most important families in Tudor times.”

Peter Tyldesley, Director of the Bradgate Park Trust, said: “Despite only having been Queen of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey is a character who continues to fascinate and enchant people today. We are proud to be the guardians of the house where she grew up and have been delighted to host the University of Leicester’s Bradgate Fieldschool for the past five years as they continue their quest to discover more about one of the most important houses of Tudor England.

“We will be running a programme of events in the grounds of Bradgate House over the weekend of 29 and 30 June to support the Open Day and provide people with the opportunity to learn more about life at Bradgate in the 16th century.”

Members of the public are invited to learn about the latest archaeological discoveries being made by University of Leicester archaeologists at Bradgate Park, Leicestershire, during a free family Open Day on Saturday 29 June between 11.00am and 4.00pm. 

The event is supported by the Bradgate Park Trust and marks the launch of the Festival of Archaeology, a month of archaeological activities in Leicestershire and Rutland.

The open day will include:

  • Guided tours of the archaeological excavations, with a chance to talk to the archaeologists and view some of the finds
  • Living history displays
  • Craft activities
  • Hands-on activities for children
  • Poetry and art workshops
  • Local archaeological displays

You can follow the progress of the project on Twitter via @DigBradgate and on the project’s Facebook page.