New dig could rewrite history of Wakefield’s castles

Sandal, Wakefield, 9th July 1972  Excavation work goes on at Sandal Castle -
Sandal, Wakefield, 9th July 1972 Excavation work goes on at Sandal Castle -

The secrets of the city’s hidden castle could soon be unearthed as part of a Time Team-style investigation.

Wakefield used to be home to two castles, Sandal Castle and Wakefield Castle.

Today, only the earth works of Wakefield Castle remain, buried deep in undergrowth at Clarence Park.

But the Friends of Clarence, Holmfield and Thornes Parks (CHaT) want to put the Norman castle firmly back on the map.

Chairman Ian Deighton said: “A very minor excavation took place in the early 1950s but revealed hardly any new information. But with today’s technological equipment, wide community support and the help of experts, we may soon know a lot more about the history of this ancient monument.”

The group is working under the expertise of county archaeologist Ian Sanderson and heritage education officer Rachel Tapp, and want as many locals as possible to get involved with the project, too.

Once all the ivy, leaves and other debris has been cleared, the plan is to use ground-penetratng radar equipment,similar to that used by Channel 4’s Time Team, as part of the investigation.

You do not have to be a member of the group to get involved.

Mr Deighton added: “The site is a scheduled ancient monument so any work has to be managed by English Heritage, but we hope to involve local schools and other volunteers in the investigation.

“Future plans for the site of Wakefield Castle will depend on the degree of community support and what is revealed about the history.

“With sufficient public support it should be possible to obtain funding to interpret the site as an educational resource and create another attractive feature in Clarence Park.”

To find out more, email info@chatparks.org.uk or call 01924 314222.