Conisbrough Castle, Doncaster, 20th October 2017

October 24, 2017
Written by: Rob Slusar

It’s been a while since I was able to get out to a castle. I was up in Leeds for a meeting last week, so decided on my way back to stop off at one.

The current stone Conisbrough Castle dates back to the late 12th century. It is believed, however, that a defensive structure of timber and earthworks would have stood here before that time. This original castle was given by William the Conquerer to William de Warenne. The site itself is located on a natural plateau, near and old roman road and crossing.

The stone tower was constructed by Isabel and Hamelin de Warenne around 1170-1180 and despite being unique in it’s design, it shares a lot of similarities with Orford Castle. This is most likely due to Hamelin being the illegitimate half brother of Henry II.

The castle was abandoned by the early 16th century and became a tourist attraction through the 18th and 19th century. It is now under the protection of English Heritage.

On to the photos.

The approach from the south-west looking towards the barbican. As the only entrance to the caste, any invading forces would be funnelled up to the main gate, putting them in the line of fire for archers stationed along the walls.

The stone Great Tower, built in the 1170s/1180s still stands as a testament to the status of this site and would provided an intimading sanctuary if it was needed.

The entrance doorway to the Great Tower would once have been accessed by a run of stone stairs.

Following the footsteps of those who have visited before. The more I go, the more i’ve noticed the graffiti from the old days.

Stairway up the tower.

Windows looking out at Conisbrough from the second floor great chamber.

More stairs.

The fire place from the third floor bed chamber.

The small chapel off of the bed chamber contained some detailed stone carving.

Ceiling details inside the chapel. Note how the growth of moulds and organisms have created an interesting splatter of colours.

More of the detailing in the chapel.

One of two basins (piscinas) in the chapel.

The door from the second floor to the roof. The basin to the left hand side was a pretty common addition and was served by pipes using rainwater collected from the roof.

Much like Orford castle, the ovens here were located externally on the roof. This was done simply to prevent any fire taking hold if there was an accident.

A castle visit from me wouldn’t be complete without a shot along a corridor.

Or indeed, a photo of an ancient toilet.

The Great Tower and remains of the east wall of the gatehouse passage.

The eastern gatehouse tower is believed to have collapsed before 1538, and you can see some of the remains along the adjacent banks. Some of the remains are in good condition, almost still intact in some places.

The Great Tower and the inner bailey wall.

As I was driving away, I thought it would be nice to get a look at the castle over some of the old earthworks. Here you can see the Great Tower and gatehouse area on top of the hill. It certainly wouldn’t have been an easy place to attack.

It was a nice quite mooch around on a Friday afternoon. When I started off, it was clear skies, typically of this year it went grey.

I must admit, I haven’t had the finest year and haven’t really been happy with my results. This has come down to a number of things, one being the weather always seems to thwart me. I have also been fighting sensor dust since RIAT.

For once, I was quite happy with this set. The castle was photogenic and I felt like I had some of my mojo back.

I am heading out for a photography day with my friend next month, but until then, thanks for looking.


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