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.  We also have a Facebook group page Sandal Castle in Focus where you can upload your favourite photos of the castle


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

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


UPDATE: There's life in the old castle

THE FRIENDS are pleased with the way that things are now moving with the castle. The Castle Café run by Paul Kitching and Lucy Hamnett has been hugely successful, to the point where it has become part of the local culture. People now often talk about going to the castle, meaning they are going to the café rather than just to walk around the monument.

Yet things are definitely looking up with the actual castle. Over the summer and autumn council officers put together a set of proposals to put before the council cabinet for repairs to be made to the timber walkways, the keep’s platform and the bridges, as well as for urgent restoration work to the historic monument. It has to be said that the proposals were very persuasive and as a result, when the cabinet considered them in November 2017, they approved over £730,000 for the repairs and restoration and for the maintenance and conservation of the site. The Friends kept in regular contact with council officers and know how hard they had worked on the proposals. We congratulate them on securing the important funding.

Anti-social behaviour at the castle has been a problem since the entrances to the bailey and keep were closed, but the council responded to concerns from the Friends. They increased the number of daily security checks, which together with the CCTV already installed, seem to have reduced the number of incidents. In January a kissing gate at the entrance was fitted and there are plans in place to secure the perimeter of the site to prevent the entry of joyriding motorcyclists.

The Battle of Wakefield was fought on the land around Sandal Castle on 30 December 1460. It was one of the most significant battles in English history, during which Richard, Duke of York, and his son Edmund, the Earl of Rutland, lost their lives. In past years the Friends have organised events to coincide with this historic event, that went so badly for the House of York.

Sharon Whitaker and her husband Lee, who are both members of the Harrington Household group of re-enactors, came up with the idea of staging a Memorial March and contacted the Friends, who were very happy to support their plans. The Rt Rev Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, was approached and agreed to lead the march.

So, on the anniversary of the battle, the bishop led a large procession, consisting of re-enactors from the Harrington Household, the Frei Compagne of the Towton Battlefield Society, the Red Wyverns -The Clifford Household and Sir John Savile’s Household and many Friends and other supporters who walked from Wakefield Cathedral to Sandal Castle, via the Chantry Chapel and the Duke of York Memorial on Manygates Lane. In very blustery conditions they did a circuit of the castle before the bishop conducted a brief service with a minute’s silence for the fallen in all wars.

A big attraction throughout the day of the Memorial March was our 'Guess the Weight of the Sandal Civil War cannonball'. Mike Johnson, who walked on the march with his wife Trisha, was the clear winner with almost pinpoint accuracy. Mike received his prize (pictured left) from Lucy Hamnett amd Paul Kitching, who generously donated a £15 voucher to spend at the Castle Cafe.

The Friends are looking forwards to staging further events at the site once the repair and restoration work has been completed. Ahead of that, the Friends’ ofAGM Sandal Castle will take place on 5 March at the Castle Café. Before the formal meeting, Neil Redfern, Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments with Historic England, will give an interactive talk entitled ‘Dead Monuments or Living Places’. This sums up his approach to historic sites such as Sandal.

Keith Souter (FoSC chairman)

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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