Excavations begin at the site of Henry VIII Hull Fortress

Remains of King Henry VIII’s Hull fortress are being revealed this month as excavations take place at the site of the South Blockhouse.

Two trenches have been opened, exposing parts of the brick structure, with the investigations due to take place throughout September.

To coincide with Heritage Open Days, there will be two open days at the site Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 September, with the walls of the Blockhouse being marked out on the ground, finds on display, information boards and members of the Humber Field Archaeology team on hand to answer questions about the findings of the excavations.

This follows a similar event in July, where the walls were marked out for two days and pupils from Victoria Dock Primary School were able to learn more about the site and design cannons with specialist community archaeologist from Historic England, Jon Kenny.

As the investigations proceed during September, there will be weekly open days on Tuesdays’ 12, 19 and 26 September, where the results of the work will be updated.
Humber Field Archaeology is the team behind the excavations. Project Manager Ken Steedman said:

“This is a hugely exciting excavation. Henry VIII chose to build the South Blockhouse to defend the city of Hull because of its significant strategic position. Our investigations on the monument will expose parts of the thick walls of this important building and people are welcome to come and visit us during the Heritage Open Days.

“When we worked on the site in 1997, we discovered an iron-breech loading cannon, similar to those recovered from Henry’s sunken warship, The Mary Rose, which is now in the Hull and East Riding Museum. We may not find anything quite as large or exciting as that this time, but we are anticipating uncovering some very useful information about the Blockhouse.”

The potential development of the South Blockhouse as a visitor attraction has been included as part of the Hull Old Town Heritage Action Zone, an initiative funded by Historic England to help make heritage a key part of the city’s regeneration.