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Record Details

HER Number:00123/01
Type of record:Building
Name:Conisbrough Castle


A medieval castle with a (Norman) shell keep surrounded by an enclosure wall

Grid Reference:SK 514 989
Map Sheet:SK59NW
Parish:MEXBOROUGH/CONISBROUGH, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Map:Show location on GoogleMaps (to an accuracy of 100m only)

Monument Types:

  • CASTLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds:

  • FSY4113 - SHERD (Small quantity) (Early Medieval/Dark Age to Medieval - 967 AD to 1533 AD)
  • FSY4306 - ANIMAL REMAINS (Large quantity) (Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD to 1950 AD)
  • FSY4114 - ANIMAL REMAINS (Small quantity) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FSY15 - POT (Large quantity) (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FSY4115 - SAMPLE (Small quantity) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • Protected Status:

    • Scheduled Monument 1010828: Conisbrough Castle

    Full Description

    <1> "…overlooking the narrow valley that the River Don has cut through the Magnesian Limestone. Conisbrough was held from 1163 to 1202 by a half-brother of Henry II, Homelike Plantagenet. The impressive 90ft high keep was a larger and better version of a similar keep that he had erected upon his estate in Normandy. He seems to have built at Conisbrough during the 1170s for the constable of the castle witnessed a document that can be dated to 1174-8, and the chapel of the keep is mentioned during the 1180s. …The castle fell into disuse in the fifteenth century and was already beyond repair by the reign of Henry VIII". [further information]

    (2) Large quantity of animal bone recovered from YEB cable trench across area between Barbican gate and S.E. corner of keep. Pottery recovered from YEB cable trench across area between the barbican gate and the S.E. corner of keep. This may be the result of residual dumping from poorly recorded early excavations in the castle.

    <3> References V.C.H II 28, P James AP 1/16, 17, JB Arch. Assn. Vol X (NS) 41.

    <4> YAJ 8 1883 p.123-157 (G.T. Clark), <5> YAJ 9 1886 p.399-400 (A.S. Ellis - Note).

    <6> See article 'Conisbrough and its Castle' by C. F. Innocent in T.H.A.S. Vol. I, p. 391.

    <7> A watching brief of fence construction at the castle in 2005 revealed evidence of the construction cut for the curtain wall and evidence for the presence of a demolished tower.

    <8> Analysis of medieval animal bone assemblages from previous excavations of the castle was carried out. The assemblage is generally comparable with similar castle sites and deer made up 10% of the larger bone assemblage [further information in source].

    <9> Geophysical survey of the interior identified footings for buildings adjacent to the curtain wall. Less certain were anomalies that could represent the position of the original bailey ditch and the original keep. However, these features may have a non-archaeological origin.

    <10,11> During construction for the new visitor centre to the west of the castle, evidence for 13th/14th century structures associated with the outer bailey were recorded. These consisted of a faced limestone wall and ditch. One, or possibly two, post holes were also recorded, and dated to the earlier 12th century, before the present stone castle was built.

    <12> A watching brief on post holes for fence construction to the south of the castle encountered a layer of rubble probably associated with the collapsed curtain wall and gatehouse superstructure. Also recorded were organic remains, possibly associated with collapsed latrines, and a few sherds of medieval and post-medieval pottery.

    <13> A topographic survey of the earthworks was conducted in 2009. Slight evidence for a possible pre-conquest phase was identified on a terrace to the west of the castle. Medieval and later features were characterised. A geophysical survey on areas to the west and south of Conisbrough Castle was conducted at the same time. Features identified include a possible section of wall, a fishpond and a number of buildings of unknown date and function.

    <14> A re-examination and reanalysis of the pottery from the 1960s and 70s exavations was undertaken in 2013.

    Sources and further reading

    <1>SSY137 - Bibliographic reference: Hey, D.. 1979. The Making of South Yorkshire.. Single volume. p. 45-46
    <2>SSY6 - Monograph: South Yorkshire Archaeology Unit. 1991. Archaeology in South Yorkshire 1990 - 1991. (single volume). p. 31-32
    <3>SSY213 - Unpublished document: South Yorkshire Archaeology Service. c1974-c2003. SMR Card. Indexed according to PIN Number.
    <4>SSY1545 - Serial: Yorkshire Archaeological Society. 1883. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 8. p. 123-157
    <5>SSY1546 - Serial: Yorkshire Archaeological Society. 1886. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 9. p. 399-400
    <6>SSY1547 - Serial: Innocent, C.F.. 1914-18. Conisborough and its Castle. Transactions of the Hunter Society Volume 1, p. 391. Volume 1. p. 391
    <7>SSY1910 - Grey Literature Report: York Archaeological Trust. 2005. New Fencing Conisbrough Castle, Castle Hill, Conisbrough, South Yorkshire A Report on an Archaeological Watching Brief. Antoni, B..
    <8>SSY1972 - Thesis: Gibbons, K.S.. 2010. Hunting for Status: the Animal Bones from Conisbrough Castle and Cowick Manor, Yorkshire.
    <9>SSY3002 - Grey Literature Report: GSB Prospection Ltd. 2011. Conisbrough Castle Interior, Conisbrough: Geophysical Survey Report. Adcock, J..
    <10>SSY3009 - Grey Literature Report: CS Archaeology. 2011. The Lodge, Conisbrough Castle, Conisbrough, South Yorkshire: An Archaeological Evaluation. Scurfield, C..
    <11>SSY3010 - Grey Literature Report: CS Archaeology. 2014. The Lodge, Conisbrough Castle, Conisbrough, South Yorkshire: An Archaeological Strip and Record with Watching Brief. Scurfield, C..
    <12>SSY3108 - Grey Literature Report: ASWYAS. 2010. Conisbrough Castle, South Yorkshire: Archaeological Watching Brief. Moretti, D..
    <13>SSY3113 - Grey Literature Report: NAA. 2009. Conisbrough Castle, South Yorkshire: Analytic Earthwork Survey Report containing Geophsical Survey results. Johnson, P. & Ambrey, C..
    <14>SSY3381 - Grey Literature Report: Medieval and later pottery from excavations at Conisbrough Castle: A report on the material from excavations undertaken in the 1960s and 1970s. Cumberpatch C.G. & Young, J..

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