Shropshire Star

Archaeologists closer to breaking 'code' of Shropshire hall which folklore links to Shakespeare

An archaeological dig at an historic Shropshire manor is coming closer to revealing its long-hidden secrets, says its thrilled owner.

The DigVentures archaeological dig. Photo: Soulton Hall.

Tim Ashton's family own Soulton Hall near Wem and they have, within the last few days, finished hosting the fourth year of a DigVentures archaeological dig.

With many of the findings still to be analysed and made the subject of academic papers subject to peer review, Mr Ashton says he is "thrilled at what is being revealed".

Fifteenth century owner Sir Rowland Hill of Soulton was an extremely well connected and influential man.

And, according to unconfirmed Shropshire folklore, he could have been the inspiration for the character Rowland de Bois - Old Sir Rowland in the Shakespeare play As You Like It.

The DigVentures archaeological dig. Photo: Soulton Hall.

Less contentious is Sir Rowland's connection to the 1560 Geneva Bible, which was the first mechanically printed version of the Christian holy book. The Bible was used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Knox, John Donne, and others. It was also one of the Bibles taken to America on the Mayflower.