1873 – British Archaeoligical Congress – Visit to Conisbrough (2)


1873 August 23 rd Morning Post

 British Archaeoligical Congress РVisit to Conisbrough 

At 10 o’clock this morning a large party mustered at the Victoria Station, Sheffield, and departed by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire railway for Conisbrough.

Theroute was through a busy part of the Valley of the Don, and the excursionists hardly succeeded in getting rid of the smoke of Sheffield before they came in view of the keep of this historical stronghold.

Conisbrough Castle, which is no doubt familiar to many non-archaeological readers from the pages of Sir Walter Scott, is placed on the mound above the village town, and between it and the modern railway station, is surrounded on all sides by a deep fosse

On the south side is the entrance, a very narrow one, approached by a drawbridge, the broken walls of which are still standing. A wall of rubble, faced with rough-hewn stone, enclosed the keep under buildings within and attached to the wall. The ramparts enclosed an irregular oval space of about 80 or 90 yards in length by 50 in breadth at the broadest part, and turrets and Windows appear at intervals. The greater part of the wall, though dilapidated, is standing, the site of what is gone being marred by mounds covering the debris.

The fosse and surrounding ground is now well timbered. The keep is in an excellent state of preservation, although it is believed to have withstood the storms of 800 or 900 winters. The angles of the works stone appeared remarkably sharp.

The keep is circular with six square towers attached outside at equal distances. It is situate at the north-east corner of the enclosure. On the south face of the keep, between two of the projecting towers, is a flight of 30 stone steps leading to a door by which the keep is entered at a considerable elevation.

Mr.Roberts, secretary, after examining the ruins, offered someacceptable remarks on the building, and the habits and customs of the people who lived in the times when it was inhabited.

The church was next visited. This is a very interesting building, and is supposed, or at least some portion of it, to have been in existence even before the castle. There are some very old monuments, the date on which are effaced by time, but several are still to be deciphered of the 17th century.

In the churchyard is an old dial; the pillar on which it stands is of stone, much worn by time, and bearing the date of 1678. The dial plate has the following inscription, “John Smith and John Shepherd, church wardings, 1731.”