Historic Yorkshire castle is lit up again after 25 year wait

It is one of the most famous buildings in South Yorkshire yet for the past 25 years, Conisbrough Castle was left to lurk in the shadows once darkness fell.

Now, thanks to the hard work of local campaigners, the 12th century castle will be illuminated once again, every evening from dusk until midnight after the installation of permanent lights.

The momentous achievement marks the end of a 15-year collaboration between local councillors, community group the Conisbrough Community Events, English Heritage and Doncaster Council and involved the allocation of nearly £30,000 of section 106 development funds.

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Doncaster councillor Nigel Ball (Lab, Conisbrough and Denaby) said: “It’s been a massive campaign to get permanent lights at the castle because it’s such an iconic building throughout Doncaster and South Yorkshire.

The newly-illuminated Conisbrough Castle. Picture: Shaun WoodwardThe newly-illuminated Conisbrough Castle. Picture: Shaun Woodward
The newly-illuminated Conisbrough Castle. Picture: Shaun Woodward

“The community, after consultation, have been totally behind this and hoping this would happen.

“It’s really lifted the spirits of the community. Conisbrough, like everyone else, is in the midst of lockdown and has had a rough 2020 so this is a really positive thing.”

Coun Ball said the castle had been lit up at night until approximately 25 years ago when the lights fell into disrepair and lack of funding meant none were renewed.

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“It had been left for quite a while but there has always been that wish to get the lights back on.

“We have always had a very tight-knit community who cherish what’s in our village.

“We’ve got Conisbrough Castle as well as the oldest buildings in South Yorkshire, one of the oldest churches, St Peter’s. Our heritage and culture is really important to people that live in the village.”

It was a low-key launch of the lights on Friday night, with the announcement made online just minutes before they were turned on at 9pm, so as not to generate spectators due to Covid-19.

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But Coun Ball said the response from residents has been amazing and the illuminations make “fabulous difference” to the castle.

“It’s just looks absolutely splendid. It’s at the top of the hill, an iconic castle. In that position, when you look at Clifford's Tower in York, that is illuminated and Edinburgh Castle is illuminated. To be honest, I would place Conisbrough against any one of those. It just looks wonderful.”

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