THE FRIENDS group was set up in November 2010 to promote the castle as an important historical location and encourage activities which will benefit and help preserve the site.

We seek to raise awareness of this important site through a variety of activities, including historical re-enactments, talks and demonstrations, and look for opportunities to raise funds through grants and donations. Members work closely with the site managers and volunteer their time to support events and activities at the castle. Membership is free although donations are always appreciated. Email castles@wakefield.gov.uk or click here for a printable application form. Those who join will receive a warm welcome and will be ... 

 The Friends can also be found on Facebook and Twitter


GO TO the Diary Dates page for news of forthcoming events. Our main photo shows a lone soldier on guard at a Friends' event marking the anniversary of the 1460 Battle of Wakefield best clock

This painting of the castle is by Sandal Art Group member Wendy Ward. To go to the group's webpage, click HERE 


UPDATE: The Friends soldier on!

THE FRIENDS’ activities have been hampered over the last 18 months by the closure of the bailey and keep, following a survey that showed the timber work to be unsafe. Then council cuts resulted in the closure of the visitor centre. We were delighted when this was taken over as a family-run café which­­­ is proving immensely popular. Working with Sandal Community Association, we helped promote and publicise the business, which we see as a real asset to the site and to Sandal as a whole. 

Despite the problems we have kept functioning as a group and have had success in various ways, not least when we initiated a campaign to help rescue the castle from further damage caused by people playing the reality game Pokemon Go. As a result of pressure by us and others, two pokestops were taken down in the area of the castle now barred (officially at least) to members of the public because of fears about the safety of the bridges and walkways.

We are pleased to see that the site continues to be popular with dog walkers but we have run a campaign to encourage the few less responsible visitors to clean up after their pets. The Friends supported Sandal Community Association when they produced two successive sets of photo greetings cards featuring the castle, both of which were sell-outs. We have also given our backing to the association’s 2018 calendar which features the castle on its cover, as well as on two inside pages. It is a project which helps promote the beauty of the historic ruins and we recommend it to you.

We will be seeking to work with re-enactment groups, including the Harrington Household who are planning a processional walk from Wakefield Cathedral, via the Chantry Chapel and the Duke of York monument, to the castle on December 30, the anniversary of the 1460 Battle of Wakefield. They are going to process in armour and 15th century period costume and lay a wreath at the monument where the Bishop of Wakefield will conduct a short service. Then they are doing a ‘show and tell’ at the castle.

The Friends have been active in publicising the deterioration of the castle site and we are currently working with the council on proposals to reopen the bailey and keep. We will remain active in highlighting dangers at the castle and the recurring misuse of the site by thoughtless members of the public, mostly through our Facebook page which has a growing following. Many of our posts have thousands of views and our activities have also received coverage in the Wakefield Express and on local radio.

We look forward to a busy future because the castle remains much in need of some friends.


Our new chairman

DR KEITH SOUTER (pictured) has become chairman of the Friends in succession to Sue Riley. Keith, who was previously vice-chairman, was voted into his new job at the 2017 AGM in March at the Portobello Centre. Richard Taylor is now vice-chairman.Others were re-elected as follows: Janine Heseltine (secretary), Alan Dale (treasurer), committee members Coun Monica Graham, Susan Wood, Robert Wood, David Hopkins and Liz Hellewell.

Looking back over a 'mixed' year, Keith referred to Wakefield Council's decision to close the castle visitor centre and the halt this had brought to events organised by the Friends. In the wake of concerns about the deteriorating state of the castle, there had been widespread local media interest in the Friends 'Save our Castle' campaign and in the Friends' action to seek removal of the Pokemon stops which were encouraging players to scramble up the slopes causing damage.

A real call to arms!

THE Wakefield Express photographer lines up Friends' supporters at a photoshoot at the castle, arranged to demonstrate our concern about the deteriorating condition of the castle site where there has been vandalism and even joy-riding. The Friendsare still very concerned about the continuing closure of the footbridges and walkways. And we were also told that two Pokemon-Go sites could be found in the central part of the castle, attracting Pokemon hunters who were helping to destroy the grass slopes. As a result we launched a successful campaign to have them removed, backed by Wakefield Council.




Dog owners back our 'Bag it, Bin it!' campaign



DOG OWNERS and their pets turned out at the castle to help the Friends launch their 'Bag it, Bin it!" campaign to encourage dog walkers to make sure they clear up after their pets

For more information about the FoSC, email secretary Janine Heseltine at janhes13@hotmail.co.uk.


Extensive information about the castle, current events and visitors' reactions and photos can be found on facebook. Among them are pictures from the past and various shots from the air.                                     


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