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Tours > Robin Hood's Yorkshire > Sandal Castle

Sandal Castle
Two miles south of Wakefield, West Riding (337182)

Sandal Castle In Norman times, Wakefied was held by the De Warenne Earls of Surrey. However, by 1157, they had abandoned their castle there for a strong position above the River Calder, two miles further south at Sandal Magna. The original wooden motte and bailey at Sandal Castle was replaced in stone by three generations of the De Warennes from the late 12th century onwards. Construction work continued for the next hundred years and was just coming to an end at the time when a Robert Hood appears, in the Wakefield Court Rolls, as the son of a forester in the service of John De Warenne, Earl of Surrey. Robert must have visited the castle often when called upon so to do by his Lord or the castle bailiff. Was he the man who later turned to a life of crime in the nearby woods of Barnsdale?

Sandal Castle is now owned by Wakefield District Council and is open to the public as the centrepiece of a local park. For many years, it was thought that little remained here except some very large grassy bumps, but extensive excavations in the 1960s revealed the well-preserved footings that we see today. It was certainly a strong building and quite unusual too. The shell keep-topped motte was defended by an elaborate defensive system consisting of a high walled passage guarded by twin turrets, a drawbridge and massive D-shaped barbican.

Next Stop: Robin Hood's Hill, Outwood, West Riding

Click to review The History of Robin Hood




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