Battle changed the course of English history

SANDAL is a place steeped in history. Its name is said to derive from from the old English sand + halh, meaning ‘sandy nook of land’. In the Domesday Book it was recorded as a berewic - a barley farm - in Wachefeld (Wakefield) where there was a church on the site of the present St Helen’s. For the church’s history, click here

William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey was granted the Sandal estates in 1107 and began building Sandal Castle, which became the baronial seat of the lords of the manor of Wakefield.

On 30 December 1460, during the Wars of the Roses, the Duke of York was killed in the Battle of Wakefield, fought not far from the castle. It was a hugely significant event and a memorial marking the duke’s death stands nearby in Manygates Lane. Later King Richard III adopted the castle as his stronghold, undertaking extensive rebuilding. Download a pdf of Wakefield Council's history of the castle, including a map,




Our picture on the right shows an early 19th century view of Barnsley Road, complete with tram, looking towards St Helen's Church.

AMONG Sandal's notable residents was George Scholey (left), who became Lord Mayor of London in 1812. He was the son of the landlord of Sandal’s Cock and Bottle pub, where he was born in1758. He died in 1839, leaving £10,000 to Sandal, half for the poor and half to the trustees of the Endowed School.Click for more information


Modelling Sandal's history


THIS impressive model, by George Cotton, shows Sandal Castle as it is believed to have appeared in mediaeval times.  It was built especially for Sandal Library where was on display for many years until the library refurbishment in 2015. You will find pictures of the castle in our Photo Gallery.

Visit the Friends of Sandal Castle webpage here

Sandal Charities and the story of Harrison's Almshouses

IN 1885 local solicitor Samuel Fozzard Harrison bought some ruined almshouses on Barnsley Road and rebuilt them at his own expense. Today Harrison’s Almshouses are the most evident of the responsibilities of Sandal Charities, an organisation born in February 1979 through the amalgamation of 13 local charities.

Among these the oldest identifiable trust is that of Luke Sprignel who left £100 in 1607 for the poor of the parish of Sandal Magna, which then included Crigglestone, West Bretton and Walton. The most curious was Carter’s Spa. Under an Act of 1799 the old manorial lands were ‘inclosed’ and an Inclosure Award of 1806 gave a public bath – probably a medicinal spring – on trust to the vicar and wardens. The spring dried up in 1861 and the bathhouse was sold in 1823 for £123, which was invested in Government Stock. Sandal Charities are today governed by nine trustees, including the vicars of Sandal and Chapelthorpe.

In March 1979, Kenneth F. W. Gumbley, clerk to the then new Sandal Charities, wrote up their history for the Wakefield Express. Click here to read his article

Wrong side of the law...


Sandal's only Civic Society blue plaque appears on the wall of the Three Houses pub where it was unveiled in 2009 by Lord St Oswald. Civic Society president Kevin Trickett said: "This is certainly the first time we have put up a plaque that refers to someone who operated on the wrong side of the law. However, I feel that John Nevison was a colourful character whose legend enriches the history of Wakefield. "

To find out more about Sandal and its history, try the links below

There are several other websites of various sorts giving information about Sandal, for example, this GenUKI page

       Our photographs (right) show the Castle Inn on Barnsley Road, Sandal, at two points during its history

back to top