Sandal Castle

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Sandal Castle

Sandal Castle

Sandal Castle as it appeared in Autumn 2014

Today little more than a hillock adorned with crumbling fragments of masonry, Sandal Castle was once a strategically significant stronghold in England's long-running dynastic conflicts and was the scene of the important Battle of Wakefield.

Like many such fortifications, it last saw military activity during the English Civil War, when it was garrisoned by Royalist forces and besieged 3 times by the Parliamentarians. When the castle finally fell in 1645 it had effectively become a ruin.

Culturally too, it has left its mark - despite its relative obscurity among Britain's historic fortresses. On the fields that flank the motte of the castle, Richard Duke of York was slaughtered in 1460, giving rise to the mnemonic still taught to children today as an aide memoire to recall the 7 colours of the rainbow: "Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain."

No less a luminary than Shakespeare himself set the opening scenes of Henry VI Part 3 within its walls.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 10th November 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2020
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