Conisbrough Castle has now closed its gates to the public until Spring 2014 to complete a major £1.1m redevelopment project that will see the castle brought back to life and ready to welcome visitors.
With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Doncaster Council, there will be a larger and brighter new visitor centre, more spacious education and exhibition rooms, interactive displays that bring the story of the castle to life and improved access, signage and parking. The changes will bring the castle back into the heart of the local community.
The 12th century Grade I listed castle, dating back over 1,000 years, was the setting of the historical novel Ivanhoe written in 1820 and has been recreated and made famous through film and television. It is one of the country’s best surviving examples of medieval architecture and one of the only examples of its kind in Europe. Occupied by a string of noble families until it was handed back to the Crown in 1461 in a state of neglect, the castle features a rare Norman hexagonal keep, with the only similar kind existing in northern France.
Clea Warner, English Heritage Area Manager for Yorkshire, comments; “We are really excited about the future of Conisbrough Castle. It is such a striking landmark, standing here proudly on the hill with an incredible view over the surrounding valley, but it is also such an iconic castle with its connection to Britain’s past. With new facilities and interpretations, the story of the castle will be brought back to life for future generations and we can’t wait for the work to really get started this month.”
Councillor Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Tourism, said “Doncaster gets more than 12 million day visits a year and tourism is worth around £400m to our local economy. Conisbrough Castle is one of the borough’s finest attractions and we want to attract more visitors to come from across the region and further afield to come and see it.”
Three models of the castle at various stages in its history will be on display at Conisbrough Library while work is ongoing. The models will be on display in the heritage centre, which is on the upper floor of the library on Old Road in Conisbrough. For more details contact the library on 01709 869 509.