News in brief: York’s medieval walls, a shipwreck, and Anne Boleyn’s prayer book

In the CA377 'News in brief' section, Kathryn Krakowka explores excavations in York, a survey of a warship wreck, and new inscriptions found in Anne Boleyn's prayer book.

New walkway for York’s city walls

Last year, stonemasons from the City of York Council started work stabilising Tower 2, one of the interval towers along the city walls near Baile Hill. Before and during the work, investigations by York Archaeological Trust revealed the different phases of construction for both the tower and its adjacent wall. Now that the repair work is finished, a new walkway has begun to be installed, which will allow people to view the excavated internal tower, seeing for themselves how it has changed over time.

Dr Louisa Hood, Bar Walls Manager at City of York Council, said: ‘Apart from the parapet, most of the tower appears to be of original medieval construction (c.1330s), which we’ve not been able to identify before now because of repair works over time.’

Photo: York Archaeological Trust.

Virtually explore a 300-year-old shipwreck

The wreck of the Stirling Castle, a 70-gun warship that sank on Goodwin Sands in 1703, was previously only accessible to experienced divers. But now, thanks to a project commissioned by Historic England in partnership with tech company TrenDive, as well as ArtasMedia Ltd and CynaSub, a new virtual dive of the wreck has been created for people to explore from home.

The 3D virtual tour was created using a variety of archaeological records, including archival research, 2D plans, photographs, and geophysical surveys. Through the remains of the wreck, the tour explores the history of the ship, from its construction in 1678 as part of Samuel Pepys’ programme to regenerate the English navy to its rediscovery in 1979. The tour can be accessed at

Analysing Anne Boleyn’s prayer book

Recent research using ultraviolet light has identified previously unknown inscriptions in the Book of Hours that Anne Boleyn is thought to have carried to her execution. The book was always known to bear Anne’s signature, as well as a line written by her that says ‘Remember me when you do pray that hope doth lead from day to day’, but this new project, carried out by Kate McCaffrey at Hever Castle (the childhood home of the Tudor queen), uncovered more inscriptions, including three family names: Gage, West, and Shirley. These are all names associated with the Guildford family of Cranbrook, Kent, and are all families related to the Boleyns.

As Kate explained: ‘The book was passed carefully between a group of primarily women who were both entrusted to guard Anne’s note and encouraged to add their own.’