Trudging through the local countryside, dragging the dog and Mrs C behind me, across private golf courses and boggy fields, we eventually stumble across the remains of Codnor Castle, a once magnificent Norman castle. It’s not as if Mrs C doesn’t have enough to look at with my crumbly ruined face. Nor does she have a choice in traipsing round the countryside in search of varying the dog walk.
Soon after the Normans arrived, they built a Motte and Bailey castle and later in the 13th century, a stone castle was erected by Henry de Grey. Nowadays there are some walled remains of the castle which overlook the Erewash valley and the counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
Still surviving are parts of the great hall where Edward I was entertained, outer moat and twin gate towers (one of the rounded gate towers pictured left). The Time Team from Channel 4 did a 3 day archaeological dig at Codnor Castle in 2007 and aside from exploring the castle also found a Henry V gold noble coin, minted around the time of Agincourt (1415) and a silver hammered penny of Alexander III of Scotland, probably as a result from the wars in Scotland. John Grey (3rd Baron Grey of Codnor) campaigned in the Scottish wars with Edward III and Sir Richard de Grey took archers and lancers with him at Agincourt under Henry V.
We’ve managed to view the gold noble coin unearthed by the Time Team from 2007 at Derby Museum. It’s intricately detailed, the front of the coin shows King Henry V standing on a ship with a sword and shield. The back has an inscription from the bible. In 1420, the coin would have been worth the equivalent of about £150. What you can’t gather from the picture though is how incredibly thin the coin is. This was found in the moat area and would have been a months wages for someone. Whoever lost this must have been high status and mightily peeved.