Conisbrough Castle – A Scene of Scott’s Romance.

October 1908

Sheffield Evening Telegraph – Thursday 01 October 1908

Conisbrough Castle.
A Scene of Scott’s Romance.

Conisborough, some 13 miles from Sheffield, has the good fortune to possess one of the finest Norman Castles in England, its building being ascribed to Earl Warenne in the 12th century, and there is little doubt that it took the place of an earlier Saxon camp or entrenchment.

The name Conisboro’, or Koningsburgh, means “King’s stronghold,” and its natural defensive position would make it almost impregnable. Some pictures will be found on our magazine page. It is situated on the top hill, surrounded a deep moat (now dry), but near the river Don, which could easily made to fill it with water.

A space of about an acre on the crest of the hill is surrounded by a wall about feet thick (unfortunately somewhat dilapidated in places), and strengthened in places by circular towers. Within the walls is the keep, a round tower some 90 feet high, strengthened by six square buttresses, which also contain the staircases leading to the upper chambers and roof.

The walls in some places are 15 feet thick, making the keep of extraordinary strength. The only entrance this structure is by a steep flight of steps to a doorway about 15 feet above the ground.

Within, the first thing that one notices is the dungeon, a well-like chamber on the floor, some I 30ft. deep, whoso only entrance is from its vaulted roof. It has neither light nor fireplace.

Above are traces of two floors and a roof which have all  vanished, a fine fireplace and chimney are still to be seen on each of the two upper floors. In one of the buttresses is a pretty little chapel, with groined roof, the ribs meeting in a central boss and ornamented with zig-zag moulding.

The broken remnants of ten pillars with ornamented tops are in position, also the altar, piscina, etc. A smaller chamber is attached, probably a priest’s robing room.

The castle is presumed to the one mentioned the scene of the stirring events in Scott’s “Ivanthoe.” and the chapel the place where the monks were singing requiems to the soul of Athelstane at the moment when he appeared in person the astonished guests in an adjoining room.