Sandal's history in outline

banner castle pic

Battle changed history

Battle changed the course of English history

SANDAL is a place steeped in history. Its name is said to derive from the old English sand + halh, meaning ‘sandy nook of land’. In the Domesday Book it was recorded as a berewic - a barley farm - in Wachefeld (Wakefield) where there was a church on the site of the present St Helen’s.

William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, was granted the Sandal estates in 1107 and began building Sandal Castle, which became the baronial seat of the lords of the manor of Wakefield.

On 30 December 1460, during the Wars of the Roses, the Duke of York was killed in the Battle of Wakefield, fought outside the castle walls. It was a hugely significant event and a memorial marking the duke’s death stands nearby in Manygates Lane.

Due to its long resistance during the Civil War (1642-46), Sandal Castle joined the list of fortifications condemned by Parliament and it was systematically demolished. The castle remained abandoned until Wakefield Council funded clearance and excavations of the site in 1964.

In 2019 the castle underwent extensive restoration work during which the bridges and walkways were rebuilt.

THIS impressive model, by George Cotton, shows Sandal Castle as it is believed to have appeared in medieval times.  It was built especially for Sandal Library where was on display for many years until the library refurbishment in 2015.

Lord mayor


Sandal landlord's son became Lord Mayor of London


AMONG Sandal's notable residents was George Scholey, who became Lord Mayor of London in 1812. He was the son of the landlord of Sandal’s Cock and Bottle pub, where he was born in1758. He died in 1839, leaving £10,000 to Sandal, half for the poor and half to the trustees of the Endowed School

Three houses plaque

Wrong side of the law...

 SANDAL’S only Civic Society blue plaque appears on the wall of the Three Houses pub where it was unveiled in 2009 by Lord St Oswald. Civic Society president Kevin Trickett said: "This is certainly the first time we have put up a plaque that refers to someone who operated on the wrong side of the law. However, I feel that John Nevison was a colourful character whose legend enriches the history of Wakefield. "

St Helen's Dunkirk laque

Unique plaque marks Sandal link with Dunkirk

A MOVING ceremony was held at St Helen's on 9 June 2018 to unveil a plaque which was later placed on a wall adjoining the church path. It records the story of the arrival of the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, soon after their evacuation from Dunkirk. They were billeted at homes in Sandal, Walton and Portobello. On 8 June 1940 they mustered below St Helen's and a roll call was held. The following day a parade service was held at the church, on a Day of National Celebration. The plaque, sponsored by the Grenadier Guards, was the first in Wakefield to record a story rather than a remember a person, and is a military brown colour which better blends in with the ancient stonework of the church and churchyard.


Sandal Charities and the story of Harrison's Almshouses

IN 1885 local solicitor Samuel Fozzard Harrison bought some ruined almshouses on Barnsley Road and rebuilt them at his own expense. Today Harrison’s Almshouses are the most evident of the responsibilities of Sandal Charities, an organisation born in February 1979 through the amalgamation of 13 local charities.

Among these the oldest identifiable trust is that of Luke Sprignel who left £100 in 1607 for the poor of the parish of Sandal Magna, which then included Crigglestone, West Bretton and Walton. The most curious was Carter’s Spa. Under an Act of 1799 the old manorial lands were ‘inclosed’ and an Inclosure Award of 1806 gave a public bath – probably a medicinal spring – on trust to the vicar and wardens. The spring dried up in 1861 and the bathhouse was sold in 1823 for £123, which was invested in Government Stock. Sandal Charities are today governed by nine trustees, including the vicars of Sandal and Chapelthorpe.