The heatwave we’ve been enjoying this Summer, has meant we’ve been able to get out and about and go exploring all over Yorkshire
On a recent weekend adventure, we headed south to Conisbrough Castle in Doncaster, which is just an hour’s drive down the A1 from Harrogate.
The magnificent 12th century castle is one of England’s most striking landmarks.
With unrivalled views from the tree-covered hill from which it rises, Conisbrough Castle has been an iconic, picturesque ruin and tourist destination since the late 18th, early 19th century.
It was abandoned in the 16th century after a turbulent History, but the great tower still dominates the landscape today, standing testament to its 12th century builders.
In 1984, the castle passed into the care of English Heritage, where extensive work and rennovations were carried out, including re-roofing and re-flooring of the great tower to protect it from the weather and improve public access.
With support from the Borough Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, there have been further enhancements, including an exhibition centre and visitor shop and the castle remains an educational day out for all ages to enjoy.
We started our trip in the new aforementioned exhibition centre, where there were all sorts on display, from information, pictures and Historical artifacts, to depict what life at the castle would have been like, back in the 12th century.
We really enjoyed the way the text was laid out as cartoon strips, not just in the visitor centre, but all around the castle, making History accessible and fun for all to learn!
Whilst in the visitor’s centre, we also enjoyed a wine tasting session, with lots of different delicious fruit wines, such as cherry wine, ginger wine and even Mead, before embarking on our quest through the castle!
The approach to the castle is impressive and imposing and you can imagine what life would have been like when the castle was in it’s heyday.
At the castle’s pinnacle during the mid 12th century, Conisbrough was inherited by Isabel de Warenne, one of the greatest heiresses of her age.
She married Hamelin of Anjou and it is believed to have been Hamelin who built the great tower in the 1170s or 1180s as a statement of his power and royal connection.
All except the great tower remains ruins here at Conisbrough today.
Where the Bailey once housed a great number of buildings all cramped together, all that can be seen today are the foundations from where these structures once stood proud.
Here is a picture of how it might have looked in the late 15th century.
Below are the remains of the east wall of the gatehouse passage.
The first floor doorway connected the room over the gatehouse passage with a building in the south range of the inner bailey; this building might have been a chapel.
You are able to explore at leisure around all floors of the great tower, starting with the well, where fresh water would have been drawn, but it has now become somewhat of a wishing well, with thousands of coins from visitors over the years!
Further up in the great tower, there was information and even holograms projected onto the walls, depicting the people who would have resided here, giving talks on their roles in the castle and what life was like for them.
The sheer size of the architecture, like the huge fireplaces and the structure, such as that of the old fashioned garderobe (toilet to you and I) were both magnificent and comical!
The fireplaces were so very large, as there was no glass in the vast windows in those days.
Tapestries would be hung to keep out the cold and big fires would be lit to heat the room, so depending on where you were stood in the room you may be sweltering or shivering!
The views from the roof of the great tower, as mentioned previously remain unrivalled, with views over Conisbrough, Doncaster and even as far as Sheffield!
Admission prices to the castle are:
Adults £5.90 or £6.50 with Gift Aid
Family (2A 3C) £15.30/£16.90
For more information, please visit their website http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/conisbrough-castle/ and enjoy a wonderful day out at this fabulous English Heritage site!