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New interactive Anglo-Saxon gallery at Tamworth Castle is ‘battling’ forward

Building transformation works are now complete in Tamworth Castle for an exciting new ‘Battle and Tribute’ exhibition that will transform the top floor of the castle to an Anglo-Saxon, interactive tribute

The top floor of the ancient castle has been completely altered and improved, including the upgrading of infrastructure, a new ceiling and lighting, as well as conservation repairs to walls and windows. This has made way for the final installation of a brand new exhibition dedicated to the town’s rich Anglo-Saxon heritage.

Funded in large part by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the new £768,050 ‘Battle and Tribute’ display will turn the space into an interactive exhibition bringing Tamworth’s dramatic and exciting Anglo-Saxon history to life. This will include the creation of a mead hall, an immersive combat film experience and a unique touch-table battle strategy game.

The interpretation elements of the exhibition will be completed subject to Covid-19 restrictions and guideline changes. A significant part of the new exhibition will be the creation of an immersive combat film for visitors to understand something of what it took to be an Anglo Saxon warrior. However, filming is being delayed due to the Covid-19 restrictions which prevent the re-enactment groups from gathering to film the footage required. 

The appointed design consultants are now looking to complete the 3D design of the exhibition before it is formally approved by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The 3D design includes developing some elements of an archaeological excavation; and wood panelling and carvings for the Mead Hall.

As part of the exhibition, Tamworth Castle will be getting even more pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard to display, alongside items from the castle’s collection. It will explore many exciting aspects of the Staffordshire Hoard including themes of battle, Kingship and the warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia.

‘Battle and Tribute’ has been made possible thanks to £499,900 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with the remainder of the cost being provided by Tamworth Borough Council, the Ready to Borrow Scheme supported by the Arts Council England and Friends of Tamworth Castle.

Young people of Tamworth have also been helping to give the new gallery the launch it deserves by creating shields which will be used to create a dramatic display around the perimeter of the castle.

Cllr Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Heritage and Growth, said: “It’s been a challenging few months with the recent restrictions on working and lockdown constraints. However, the plans for the state-of-the-art Battle and Tribute gallery are very impressive and unlike anything we’ve had at the castle before.

“As part of sharing our historical Tamworth story, it will really bring our rich Anglo-Saxon history to life, including the role of our famous warrior queen Aethelflaed. This will also add context and be the perfect showcase for an increased number of items from the Staffordshire Hoard, displaying how this incredible treasure trove fits into the wider history of the Kingdom of Mercia and beyond.”

“We look forward to its completion and to opening this exciting exhibition to visitors safely when Covid-19 restrictions allow.”

For more information on the castle please visit the website at: www.tamworthcastle.co.uk.

The Staffordshire Hoard is owned by Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent City Councils, and managed on their behalf by Birmingham Museums Trust and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.