Sandal Castle conservation project - first phase completed

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People can take a look at the first phase of work to protect Sandal Castle.

New steps to the moats and conservation work to the castle’s great hall, known as then Sandal Arches, has been completed as part of a £90,000 project.

Also new sections of stonework have been inserted and re-pointed to strengthen the ruins.

And on Wednesday there will be an official opening ceremony followed by guided tours of the completed work.

The work was funded by WREN and the George Hyde Legacy, which is administered by English Heritage.

Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “I am delighted that the first phase of works are now complete, to conserve Sandal Castle for future generations to enjoy. This work sets the castle’s great hall on a firm footing for the future, as well as expanding access to parts of the site not previously accessible to the public. We are grateful to WREN and to English Heritage for the support they have given to this work.”

Peter Cox, managing director of WREN, said: “We’re delighted to support the restoration work at Sandal Castle with a Heritage Fund grant of £15,495. At WREN we are dedicated to making a real difference to people’s lives by awarding grants to community, environmental and heritage projects across the UK. It is so important to protect significant historical sites such as Sandal Castle to ensure that they can be understood and appreciated by future generations.”

Giles Proctor, English Heritage Architect, said: “The George Hyde Legacy has been crucial to improving the presentation and state of conservation of Sandal Castle, further enhancing access to this important historic site. George Hyde was a local man who loved Sandal Castle and the re-presentation of the site is a fitting memorial. We have been pleased to be associated with the project.”

Later this year the footpaths will be re-gravelled and the number of information boards will be increased.

Sandal Castle was built in the 12th century by the De Warenne family during the reign of Henry 1. And during the 14th century the castle passed into royal ownership.

In 1460 it was involved in the Battle of Wakefield when Richard Duke of York was injured and later died.

The castle then wnet into decay before being used again as a stronghold during the Civil War. A royalist garrison occupied the castle in 1645 but surrendered a few months later. In 1646, on the orders of Parliament, the castle was stripped of its defences.

Excavations of the site took place between 1964 and 1973 and a visitor center was opened in 2001.

The official opening takes place at noon on Wednesday.