Object of the month

What is it? – Our object of the month is an iron cannon ball found at Mr Leavers’ house beside the Chapel of St Mary de la Roche on what is now Castle Boulevard.

Why is it significant? – The cannon ball dates back to the English Civil War when Nottingham was held by parliamentarian forces & suffered periodic attacks by royalist troops from Newark.

Tell me more – The 12th century Chapel of St Mary de la Roche, also known as Lenton Hermitage, was a chantry chapel for nearby Lenton Priory which also had control of the Nottingham churches of St Mary, St Peter & St Nicholas. Religious services at the chapel had ceased by 1500 & the site was largely abandoned. Clandestine masses are thought to have taken place there during periods of Catholic persecution giving the site its local nickname “the Papish Holes”.

Our cannon ball is probably a relic of parliamentarian attempts to demolish the chapel because of its catholic associations. It is a powerful reminder of turbulent times in our national & local histories.

In the late 1800s the chapel was leased by a Mr John W Leavers who carried out renovations inside the caves, had the surrounding area landscaped & opened the site up to visitors.

The cannon ball will feature in the new Rebellion Gallery currently being designed by exhibition designers Casson Mann.

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