HeritageGateway - Home

Login  |  Register
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS) Result
West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS)Printable version | About West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS) | Visit West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS) online...

Sandal Castle, Sandal Magna
County: West Yorks
District: Wakefield
Parish: -
Monument Number: ( 1548 )
Motte and bailey castle, first mentioned c.1240, probably developed from a timber castle replaced in stone through the 13th century. Put into ruin following siege in 1646. The principal components are a motte, 15 metres high and 40 metres in diameter at base, surrounded by a moat and with a half- moon-shaped courtyard or bailey of 40 metres radius, also moated, on the south-south east side. Surviving masonry is of the base of a shell keep with towers on the motte, the lower courses of a barbican between the motte and the bailey, and foundations with a few upstanding walls of the range of domestic buildings round the outer edge of the courtyard (the excavation report on 1983 provides full detail and illustration). One of only two castle in West Yorkshire with substantial upstanding stonework and with public access. The castle is sited on a natural rise commanding a good view over that part of the Calder valley. Another motte and bailey (Lowe Hill in Thornes Park, Wakefield - PRN 2084) lay opposite on the north side of the Calder. Note series of castel derived field names to the west, between the Castle and the River Calder. --------------------------------------------------- Original eastern motte and bailey castle probably dates to the period 1106-1138 when the 46 foot high mound was surmounted by a timer keep and a V sectioned moat separating the motte from the bailey with a second deeper moat enclosing the whole complex. From cirva 1200 the timber buildings were replaced by stone ones and this work was probably completed by 1300. in 1645 two sieges resulted in the castle becoming a demolished and ruiness building. At the present time it is in a ruined state though most recent excavations have exposed the remains of the keep and new tower standing on the motte, the barbacan and barbakan bridge with the linking bridge to the keep with 2 drum towers and the domestic buildings including the great hall and kitchen all within the outer ditch. Text taken from undated (probably 1970's/1980's) listed building record prepared by Wakefield Council Conservation Team. --------------------------------------------------- The castle was scheduled on 23/3/1927 and English Heritage's description is as follows (dated 1992): Sandal Castle is located on high ground overlooking the Sandal area of Wakefield and the River Calder. The monument includes 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 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 stone work of the bridge and gate. Extensive outworks exist to the southeast 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 of residence. The original wooden tower on the motte 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 foundations, on the southeast side of the motte, of two round towers believed to have guarded the draw bridge 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*. The castle was first mentioned in c.1240 and was held by the de Warrenes, earls of Surrey. It stands approximately one mile southeast 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. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling these include the surfaces of the car park and paths, an electricity junction box, all modern walling and fencing, benches, safety grilles and waste bins. The ground beneath these features is, however, included. ----------------------------------------------- Excavations at Sandal Castle were undertaken from 1964-1973 by the former Wakefield Corporation Library, Art Gallery and Museum Committee, Wakefield Historical Society and the University of Leeds. The excavations were directed by Philip Mayes from 1964-8 and from 1972-3, with Lawrence Butler directing from 1969-71. The material finds from these extensive excavations are displayed within Wakefield Museum, and the results were published in 1983. Amongst the broad range of remains recovered during these excavations, the skeletal remains of 9 Royalist soldiers were revealed, which were thought to be from the Military Garrison of King Charles I in 1645, and buried here in 1645 during the siege of the castle. See Mayes and Butler (1983) for more details. ----------------------------------------------- WYAS Report 572 (Feb.1998): three small trial trenches excavated south of existing car park, east of castle, west of Manygates Lane in advance of proposed visitor centre - no archaeological features identified. Area of potential archaeological sensitivity around castle extended on HER's GIS to approx. 200m. around castle (17th century musket shot range) to take into account the potential for archaeology associated with the siege of the castle. ---------------------------------------------- During December 1999 and July 2000 Ed Dennison Archaeological Services undertook a detailed archaeological and architectural condition survey of the remains of Sandal Castle. An earthwork plan and contour model of the castle complex was produced, together with an architectural plan and description. Some 90 standing elevations were also recorded, using the combination of scaled photographs and hand measurements. It was concluded that the castle and surrounding earthworks survived in relatively good condition, and a gravelled perimeter footpath provided access around the monument. However, some areas of consolidation were beginning to fail, some stonework was being deliberately dislodged, and other exposed foundations were becoming overgrown. A number of deep erosion gullies on the sides of the motte and bailey were being caused by a combination of cycle tracks, inappropriate access routes, and water run-off. Other surface erosion was occurring via inappropriate grass-cutting and ground maintenance regimes. A small, but highly visible, graffiti and litter problem was also noted. The report was used to provide detailed specifications for a programme of stonework and erosion repair to the site, which was to be implemented as part of wider improvements and enhancement schemes by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. which included the construction of new steps and bridges to improve public access, and a new visitor's centre.

Sources
Publication
Butler, L., 1994. 'An Attack on Sandal Castle in 1413' in YAS Medieval Section no 23 pp33-36
Desc.text
HBMC SAM records (abstract)
Desc.text
Butler, L. 1991. Sandal Castle, Wakefield.
Map
Sandal Magna Tithe Award map, field nos. 98-101, 109, 114, 115, 116, 134, 195
Publication
Yorkshire Deeds III, YAS Record Series 83, 1932. p160, no. 463 1415
Desc.text
SMR record card with details of flint finds
Publication
Mayes, P & Butler, L. 1983. Sandal Castle Excavations 1964-1973. Wakefield Historical Publications.
Photograph
Redfern, Neil EH FMW, 11/07/2002, Site visit report
Desc.text
English Heritage. 1992. Scheduling Notification for SAM 13293
Desc.text
Manchester, K. c.1979. Paleopathology of a Royalist Garrison. OSSA. pp.25-32.
Publication
Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 1974. Vol 46, Archaeological Register 1973 p148
Report
Ed Dennison Archaeological Services. 2000. 'Sandal Castle, Sandal: Archaeological and Architectural Condition Survey'
Desc.text
Text taken from undated (probably 1970's/1980's) listed building record prepared by Wakefield Council Conservation Team.
Photograph
Text taken from undated (probably 1970's/1980's) listed building record prepared by Wakefield Council Conservation Team.
AP
WY 109/36; 171/16; 171/15A-18A 267/31; NMR 4085/38-45;
Publication
Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 1971. Vol 43, Archaeological Register 1970 p197
Publication
Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 1972. Vol 44, Archaeological Register 1971 p224
Desc.text
Hust, G. D., 1967, Post-medieval Britain in 1966, Post-Medieval Archaeology, vol. 1, p.109 - provides a summary of WYAS work in this year.
Publication
Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 1973. Vol 45, Archaeolgical Register 1972, p.206
Photograph, print
Wakefield City Council Planning Department c. 1980s black and white photograph
Publication
CBA, 2004. Annual Newsletter of CBA Yorkshire p28