12th century castle located 15 miles from Sheffield's city centre, now a tourist attraction and museum.
ABOUT THE CASTLE
Conisbrough Castle is a 12th Century medieval fortification in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, approximately 15 miles (25km) from Sheffield city centre. Regarded as one of the most striking landmarks of South Yorkshire, the castle is famous for inspiring Sir Walter Scott’s influential 1819 novel Ivanhoe.
Originally built in the 11th Century after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the castle was rebuilt in stone by Hamelin Plantagenet, the illegitimate brother of Henry II, around the 1170s. The castle features a prominent 28-metre-high keep – a strong, fortified tower that acted as the central point, and final refuge in case of invasion. Though much of the castle has fallen into a picturesque ruin over the centuries, the keep remains standing.
Ownership of the castle passed through various royal families over the centuries, with frequent visits from famous figures in English history, and it was a garrison point for Yorkist troops during the Wars of the Roses. Despite its royal status, the castle was abandoned by the late 15th century, and began to fall into disrepair.
By the 19th century, the ruin had become a romanticised tourist destination, and featured in many artworks. Sir Walter Scott visited during this era while travelling north, and recreated the castle as a setting in his celebrated book Ivanhoe – a novel credited with regenerating popular interest in the medieval period, and re-popularising chivalric romance in fiction.
In 1950, the castle came under state guardianship. A number of important historical excavations took place on the site through the 1960s and ‘70s. In the 1980s it became a Grade I listed building, and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. During the 1990s, The Ivanhoe Trust, a local charity, took over management, and built a new visitor centre, along with restoring the roof and floors of the keep - long since eroded away - to their former glory.
In the 21st Century, management was taken over by English Heritage, who currently run the castle as a tourist destination. A £1.1 million renovation project began in 2013, which added improved visitor facilities. Guests can today explore the castle and tour the keep, exploring the authentic 12th century displays.