Battle to secure future of historic castle with restoration sees major progress

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THE first phase of a £90,000 conservation scheme aimed at securing the future of Sandal Castle at Wakefield has been completed.

Members of the public are being invited on a guided tour at an official opening event at the castle at noon this Wednesday.

There are new steps giving access to the moats and the ruins of the castle’s Great Hall – also known as the Sandal Arches – have been fully conserved.

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

Hard cement-based mortar has been removed and replaced with lime-based mortar. The work on site was funded by the Wren historic restoration fund 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.”

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.”

Later this year, further work will be carried out on the site including re-gravelling the footpaths, replacing the existing site interpretation boards and installing three new boards which will provide additional information about the castle’s remains.

Sandal Castle was built in 
the 12th Century by the De Warenne family during the reign of Henry I.

From the 14th Century the castle passed into royal ownership and is best known for its involvement in the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, when Richard Duke of York was injured and later died.

The castle was then left mainly unoccupied and was left to decay until it was once again used as stronghold during the Civil War. A Royalist garrison occupied the castle in 1645, but surrendered a few months later after Parliamentary forces put the building under siege.