THE FRIENDS group was set up in November 2010 to promote the castle as an important historical site and encourage activities whick will benefit and help preserve the site.
We seek to raise awareness of this important site through a variety of activities, including historical re-enactments, talks and demonstrations, and look for opportunities to raise funds through grants and donations. Members work closely with the site managers and volunteer their time to support events and activities at the castle. Membership is free although donations are always appreciated. Click here for a printable application form and more information.
Contact us by calling 01924 256201 or email SandalCastleFriends@mail.com
Our main photo shows a lone soldier on guard at a Friends' event marking the anniversary of the 1460 Battle of Wakefield
Castle Rock music event
History is made again with tribute artists
HISTORY was made again at Sandal Castle in July 2019 when the Friends group, working with Sandal Community Association, held the first rock tribute event to take place at the site.
A crowd of about 1,500 of all ages poured into the castle grounds to listen to Freddie Mercury (aka professional singer Karl Johnson, one of the ward councillors for the Sandal area), Elton John (Andy Crosby, pictured in action with a Friends' backing group) and Dolly Parton (Kerry Murphy, right), with original/cover artists David Luke and Sarah Watson. The day began at 11am with an appearance by magician Magic Matt and finished at about 4pm.
Chairman of the Friends, Dr Keith Souter, said: “This event has really drawn the community together and it’s been a hugely enjoyable day. Our special thanks go to the artists who gave us their time for free. Without that the day just wouldn’t have happened. We are also very grateful to Wakefield Council for its financial support.” Reaction on Facebook showed how much people had enjoyed the event with pleas for a repeat concert. For an album of photos from the day, click here.
Restoration plan for fountain
But it will never work again...
THE FRIENDS are exploring the possibility of restoring the castle’s century-old drinking fountain to its original appearance.
A plaque on the fountain once recorded: “Presented for the use of the public by the Mayoress of Wakefield (Mrs E Lodge Hirst) August 13th 1913.” The plaque is no longer there but it is visible in the photo taken with a child in the year it was opened.
The fountain was presented by the grandmother of 90-year-old Edwin Hirst who said: “I remember as a child having a drink from the metal cup which hung there. Grandfather Edwin Hirst was mayor in 1912 so Granny would have presented the fountain towards the end of their year in office.”
Friends’ chairman Dr Keith Souter said: “We’d at least like to get the fountain back to the condition in which it appeared more than a century ago, which would mean having a new top cast for it. In this age of throwaway plastic bottles wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get it working again but that does appear to be achievable.” Edwin, who now lives in Chester, added: “The castle and area around was owned by the Pilkingtons who leased the site to Wakefield Council in 1912 when it was first opened to the public. It was not until 1954 that the council bought the property.”
In 2018 Edwin was awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to the Wakefield community. He followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and was a member of Wakefield City Council (1960-1974) and was Deputy Mayor of Wakefield (1967-68). He also served on West Yorkshire County Council (1977-1980).
CAPTION: Keith Souter at the fountain which is also pictured soon after its opening in 1913