Sandal Castle

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameSandal Castle
Alternative NamesSandall
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityWakefield
1974 AuthorityWest Yorkshire
Civil ParishWakefield

Sandal Castle is located on high ground overlooking the Sandal area of Wakefield and the River Calder. The monument includes the standing remains of the thirteenth century shell keep castle and the earthworks of the earlier motte and bailey castle. The main earthworks comprise a substantial motte, c.15m high and with a base diameter of c.40m, and a crescent shaped inner bailey measuring c.60m by 25m. The bailey is separated from the motte by a deep ditch which also encircles both features and measures c.15m wide and 5m deep. The ditch is enclosed by a substantial counterscarp bank and is broken on the east side by a modern causeway which gives access to the bailey alongside the surviving medieval stonework of the bridge and gate. Extensive outworks exist to the south-east and represent a Civil War defensive hornwork of copybook pattern. The earliest castle buildings were of timber and were replaced in stone during the thirteenth century. Excavation of the interior carried out between 1964 and 1973 has revealed a number of timber buildings including a square, timber-framed kitchen and an aisled hall or residence. The original wooden tower on the motte was rebuilt as a stone shell keep with circular towers. This would have contained service and garrison buildings and would have had a wall-walk lining the interior. The base of the keep can still be seen along with the foundations, on the south-east side of the motte, of two round towers believed to have guarded the drawbridge between the keep and the barbican. The barbican, whose lower courses are still upstanding, was built on an island of rock in the ditch between the motte and the bailey and is flanked by defensive walls which cross the ditch. In the bailey are the foundations of service buildings and upstanding fragments of walling from the Great Hall and lodgings chambers set upon pillared undercrofts. The bailey also contains a well. Sandal Castle is a Listed Building Grade II-star

The castle was first mentioned in c. 1240 and was held by the Warennes, earls of Surrey. It stands approximately one mile south-east of Low Hill motte and bailey castle on the opposite side of the River Calder. Although the precise relationship between the two castles is not yet known, it is likely that they were originally built to command the river valley together. Sandal Castle may have been attacked in 1317, and, in 1460, the area to the north was the site of the battle of Wakefield fought between the forces of Queen Margaret and the Duke of York. Richard III made this his chief stronghold in the north, adding the polygonal tower to the keep and providing a new bakehouse; the walls of both buildings are still visible. It was slighted between 1645 and 1648 following a siege after which it appears to have been systematically quarried for its stone. (Scheduling Report)

The first castle at Sandal was erected by William de Warenne in about 1106. His castle was timber-built and is now totally destroyed by the later stone castle. The excavations showed the early structures to have consisted of a wooden palisade, within which lay a timber aisled hall with a small square kitchen. A circular timber keep was built on an artificial mound (the motte), making this first Sandal Castle a good example of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle.

In the thirteenth century a later member of the de Warenne family began to make improvements to the castle. An inner moat was dug, surrounding a newly built stone barbican tower. The material from this moat was dumped over the site of the original timber hall, unwittingly preserving the fine details of its construction for rediscovery in 1973. A stone great hall and chamber were built in the bailey, with ancillary buildings such as stables, kitchens, forge and Constable's lodging, as well as a circular stone keep on the motte. This castle was a major stronghold of the House of York and was improved for residence and defence by Richard III in 1484. The castle survived in this form until 1645 when it was destroyed by successive Parliamentarian bombardments. Since then it stood as a weed-choked ruin until 1964 when, in a series of excavations ending in 1973, the whole site was excavated, including the entire inner moat. (Mayes 1981)

Gatehouse Comments

The castle is on a sandstone ridge occupying a commanding position overlooking one of the great North-South roads. It has good views of, and is clearly visible from, Wakefield and the extensive manor of Wakefield. As with nearly all ruinous castles there was some taking of stone but it was the removal of lead and large structural timbers, which both have considerable more value than most stone (except perhaps fine carved circular columns), which will have resulted in the most damage.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE337181
Latitude53.6588516235352
Longitude-1.49121999740601
Eastings433720
Northings418160
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

Sandal Castle-6 28102017 111153.Jpg

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

Sandal Castle-7 28102017 111153.Jpg

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 33.23" Longitude -1° 29' 28.43"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

Laitude 53° 39' 31.25" Longitude -1° 29' 27.01"

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) passim
  • Fox, John, 2009, Sandal Castle: The Battle of Wakefield 1460 and Building Sandal's Castles (Loyalty Binds Me Studios) DVD Film Abstract and review
  • Moorhouse, S., 2007, 'The Medieval Parks of Yorkshire: Function, Contents and Chronology' in Liddiard, R. (ed) The Medieval Park new perspectives (Windgather Press)
  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) passim
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 82-3
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 52-3
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 307-8
  • Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p. 298-300
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 204-5
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 524
  • Mayes, P. and Butler, L.A.S., 1983, Sandal Castle Excavations 1964-1973: a detailed archaeological report (Wakefield Historical Publications)
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 87-107
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 290-6
  • Renn, D.F., 1973 (2 edn.), Norman Castles of Britain (London: John Baker) p. 306
  • Mayes, P., 1973, Sandal Castle, Wakefield: excavations 1964–72 (Wakefield: Wakefield Corporation)
  • Mayes, P., 1967, Sandal Castle, Wakefield: excavations 1966 (Wakefield: Wakefield Corporation)
  • Mayes, P., 1966, Sandal Castle, Wakefield: excavations 1965 (Wakefield: Wakefield Corporation)
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 828 (slight)
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 90-3
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 35, 37
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 250-1 online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 182-4 online copy
  • Grainge, W., 1855, Castles and Abbeys of Yorkshire p. 50-54 online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathaniel, 1774, Buck's Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 340

Antiquarian

  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 528
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 40 online copy

Journals

  • Askew, R., 2016, ‘Biography and Memory: Sandal Castle and the English Civil War’ European Journal of Archaeology Vol. 19.1 p. 48-67
  • 2013 Sept, 'Sandal Castle, Yorkshire' Castle Studies Group Bulletin Vol. 16 p. 13-14 (news report on repairs/conservation)
  • Constable, Chris, 2007, 'Earthwork castles in West Yorkshire Part Two' Archaeology and Archives in West Yorkshire Vol. 24 p. 5-6 online copy
  • Constable, Chris, 2006, 'Earthwork castles in West Yorkshire' Archaeology and Archives in West Yorkshire Vol. 23 p. 5-6 online copy
  • 2001-2002, 'Sandal Castle' Castle Studies Group Newsletter No. 15 p. 51-52 online copy
  • Butler, Lawrence, 1998, 'Masons' Marks in castles: a key to building practices' Château Gaillard Vol. 18 p. 23-26
  • Butler, L., 1994, 'An Attack on Sandal Castle in 1413' Medieval Yorkshire (Newsletter of the Medieval section of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society) Vol. 23 p. 33-6
  • Macdonnell, E., 1981, 'A stronghold regained: Sandal Castle, West Yorkshire' Country Life , 170 p. 1802
  • Mayes, P., 1980, 'Sandal Castle, Wakefield, West Yorkshire' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 137 p. 401-2
  • (Mayes and Stubbs), 1974, 'Yorkshire, West Ridign: Sandal Magna (SE 338182)' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 18 p. 197 and fig60 (Plan of timber aisled hall and kitchen, Sandal Castle.) download copy
  • (Mayes and Stubbs), 1973, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 17 p. 165 download copy
  • (Butler), 1972, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 16 p. 184-5 download copy
  • (Butler), 1971, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 15 p. 149 download copy
  • (Mayesr), 1970, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 14 p. 177-8 download copy
  • (Mayesr), 1967, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 11 p. 288 download copy
  • (Mayesr), 1966, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 10 p. 192 download copy
  • (Mayesr), 1965, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 9 p. 192 download copy
  • Brown, R. Allen, 1959, 'A List of Castles, 1154–1216' English Historical Review Vol. 74 p. 249-280 (Reprinted in Brown, R. Allen, 1989, Castles, conquest and charters: collected papers (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 90-121) view online copy (subscription required)
  • Walker, J.W., 1895, 'Sandal Castle' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 13 p. 154-88 (excavation report) online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1889, 'Contribution towards a complete list of moated mounds or burhs' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 46 p. 197-217 esp. 216 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1879-80, 'Observations on some moated mounds in Yorkshire' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 6 p. 109-112 online copy
  • Wentworth, G., 1864, 'Some account of the town and manor of Wakefield and Sandal Castle' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 20 p. 133-6 (history) online copy

Guide Books

  • Wakefield Council Display Boards installed 2014 online pdf copies
  • Butler, Lawrence, 1991, Sandal Castle Wakefield The History and Archaeology of a Medieval Castle (Wakefield Historical Publications)

Primary Sources

Other

  • Askew, Rachel M.C., 2013, 'The House of Every One': the Consumption of Material Culture in Castles during the English Civil War (PhD thesis, University of Sheffield) online copy
  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 41-49, 771-2 online copy