Conisbrough Castle is one of Yorkshire’s biggest medieval castles. It is located 6 mi away from Doncaster, in the middle of South Yorkshire. Built on a hill, it dominates the Dearne Valley, one of the most industrial parts of the county.
Conisbrough Castle is managed by English Heritage. It is possible to walk around the castle for freen but a ticket must be bought to explore the inner courtyard and the keep. Full-price admission £5.90, open daily except in winter when it is open on weekends only (see the website).
The castle was first built in the 11th century by William of Warenne, a Norman fellow of William the Conqueror. The estate remained in the Warenne family for three generations, before passing to members of the royal family. The original castle was in wood, and it was fully rebuilt in stone in the 12th century by Hamelin Plantagenet, illegitimate brother of King Henry II.
The castle started to fall in ruins in the 16th century. It remained however a famous landmark in the area, and Scottish writer Walter Scott set a part of his novel Ivanoe in Conisbrough.
The keep is striking and it is considered to be one of the finest in England. It is built according to a hexagonal plan, which makes it unique in the country. Although the summit is slightly ruined, it is still 92 feet tall. Inside, visitors can see the three floors, which each comprise a large circular room where the Lord and his wife lived. There are also smaller and more intimate rooms hidden in the walls.
The inner bailey is quite disappointing because all the other buildings have disappeared. There as still some remains of walls, which were part of the kitchens and the chapel.
St Peter’s Church in the village of Conisbrough is one of the oldest in England as it was founded in the 8th century. It was rebuilt later, but some parts date back to the 11th century; the nave is a fine example of Norman architecture.
Around Conisbrough Castle: