(The photographs which relate to this topic are in the
Gallery section of the website under "Buildings" -
Following the Norman Conquest of 1066, land, previously held by
Saxon lords, was confiscated and given to Norman barons by
William l as a reward for their support: one of the main
beneficiaries was Roger de Busli, who was given land in
Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Devon
and Yorkshire, which included the manor of Dadsley.
end of the 11th century, de Busli had built a motte
and bailey castle on Tica’s Hill - a sandstone hill, about half
a mile south of Dadsley. The Castle, which is thought to have
taken about 30 days to construct, comprised of a wooden tower,
built on a mound, known as a motte, surrounded by a courtyard
(or bailey), which, in turn, was surrounded by a wooden fence
and a moat.
location of this castle was to give its name to a new settlement
from Bully-de-Vicomte in Normandy, became one of the mightiest
landowners in the north; collectively,
all his estates were referred to as the Honour of Tickhill,
which emphasised the importance of this new town.
Over the next 550
years, England’s rulers were to play a prominent role in the
Busli died without an heir, and in 1102 his estates, including
Tickhill Castle, passed to Robert de Bellême (Belesme), Earl of
Shrewsbury - a distant kinsman. In 1102, de Bellême rebelled
against Henry l and fortified Tickhill Castle, however, his
defeat and subsequent banishment
led to the confiscation of all his estates; Henry took control
of the Castle, which was to mark the beginning of 900 years of
By 1129-30, Henry had strengthened the
fortifications, spending £30 on a gatehouse and a stone curtain
wall with ramparts; the surrounding ditch was filled with water
to the south and west, and the north and east side were
protected by a bank on the outer slope of the ditch. Further
improvements are thought to have included a great chamber above
the gatehouse, where the Honour Court met. Henry bestowed the
Castle and its lands on his wife, Matilda, and following her
death, to his second wife, Adeliza.
King Stephen: 1135-54
Civil war followed the death of Henry, and
the powerful Barons chose Stephen, the grandson of William the
Conqueror rather than the rightful heir, Henry’s daughter,
Matilda as monarch; in return for their support, Stephen granted
Tickhill to the Earls of Eu. (Eu is on the border of Normandy
and Picardy). Following further turmoil Earl Ranulf of Chester
took the castle until his death in 1153 after which, it reverted
back to the Crown.
Henry ll: 1154-89
Stephen was succeeded by Henry ll, the
grandson of Henry l, and Tickhill Castle was held for the Crown
by the Lacy family of Pontefract. Between 1178 and 1182, it was
re-designed in grand style: Henry spent £138 on a new keep,
stone bridge and new curtain wall; the keep was unique in
England, it was described as being ‘an eleven-sided tower on a
circular plinth supported by pilaster buttresses’. A chapel in
the courtyard was dedicated to St Nicholas by Henry’s wife,
Eleanor of Aquitaine, and in the latter years of the 12th
century, a medieval secular college was located there also,
this, however, was dissolved c1206. Over the same period,
similar ambitious building programmes were taking place at
nearby Conisbrough Castle and Roche Abbey.
Richard 1 and King John: 1189 -1216
On the death of Henry ll, his son, Richard
l acceded the throne, however whilst he was in the Holy Land
fighting at the Crusades, Tickhill Castle was just one of
several castles (including Nottingham) seized by his brother,
John and was held by Roger de la Mare. Following a siege by
Hugh de Pudsey, Bishop of Durham in 1194, de la Mare
surrendered, and the Castle was successfully reclaimed for
Richard. John inherited the throne on the death of his brother
in 1199, fifteen years later he gave Tickhill to the Count of Eu
in exchange for his support; Robert de Vipont was appointed
Custodian and the Castle temporarily passed out of Crown tenure.
Throughout their reigns, both Richard and
John continued to maintain and repair the fabric of the Castle.
John is alleged to have visited Tickhill six times and to have
spent approximately £500 on building a barbican, granary and
stables, the enclosure of the ditches, together with various
Henry lll and Edward l: 1216-1307
For the first 27 years of Henry’s reign,
Tickhill Castle was in the keeping of Alice, Countess of Eu;
however war between England and France in 1243 resulted in the
forfeiture of the Honour of Tickhill to the Crown. Several years
later Henry lll gave it to his son, the future Edward l, who in
turn granted it to his wife Eleanor of Castile in 1254.
During the Barons’ revolt of 1271, Edward
gave Tickhill Castle to his cousin, Henry of Almain, in exchange
for his allegiance to Henry lll. (de Alain had originally
supported Simon de Montfort, the leader of the revolt against
the King). Following de Almain ‘s death, allegedly at the hands
of the sons of de Montfort, the Castle passed to his widow,
Constance of Bearn, however continuing hostilities with France
resulted, one again, in its forfeiture.
In 1290, a final petition by John, grandson
of Alice of Eu to restore the Castle to the Eu family was
unsuccessful, and once the war with France ended in 1304, the
castle was restored to Constance de Bearn.
Edward ll: 1307-1327
During the reign of Edward ll, there was
again unrest between the King and the Barons. The rebellion
began in the North, when their leader, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster
called a parliament at Doncaster in November 1321, this was
pronounced illegal by the king, and war between the two sides
was inevitable. Hostilities began in February 1322 with the
siege of Tickhill Castle by the rebels; for three weeks, William
de Anne, the Constable successfully defended the Castle for the
King. Following the news that Edward was marching North, the
siege was called off and the rebels fled; Lancaster subsequently
escaped to Scotland but was eventually captured and executed at
Edward lll: 1327-1377
Following the death of Edward ll in 1327,
the new king Edward lll gave the Honour of Tickhill to his
mother, Isabella; four years later, he bestowed it on his wife,
Philippa of Hainault, finally it was given to his fourth son,
John of Gaunt, in exchange for the Earldom of Richmond.
John of Gaunt was married to Blanche, the
daughter of the 1st Duke of Lancaster; the marriage
brought with it the title of Earl of Lancaster but the Dukedom
became extinct upon his death without a male heir. In 1362,
Edward lll conferred the re-created title Duke of Lancaster on
John, and since then Tickhill Castle has been in the keeping of
the Duchy of Lancaster.
Although it has not been substantiated,
King Jean de Valois of France is alleged to have been held
captive in the Castle gatehouse, following his capture at the
Battle of Poitiers in 1356 by Edward, the Black Prince, the
eldest son of Edward lll.
15th and 16th
centuries: the decline of Tickhill Castle
Over the next 150 years very little is
known about the Castle. Following the struggles between the
houses of York and Lancaster during the Wars of the Roses
(1455-1487), Henry Tudor took the throne as Henry Vll; a strong,
centralised monarchy saw the feudal power of the barons weakened
and the rise of the merchant classes.
By the end of the Medieval period, the
military importance of castles, such as Tickhill, had
diminished. Political stability meant there was no longer the
need for the nobility and gentry to fortify their homes, and
they favoured the relative comfort of spacious manor houses,
consequently, these former strongholds fell into a state of
A report by the Commissioners of Henry Vlll
in 1537-38 described Tickhill Castle as being in a state of
decay. The stone keep had one door, two windows, battlements,
gables and a staircase, and the remnants of a timber roof and
floor were evident. There were two wells filled in with earth
and a horse bridge beyond repair; reference was also made to a
derelict stone hall with four chambers, a bake house, kitchen,
pantry and gatehouse.
later in 1540 John Leland, on his travels around England, wrote
of Tickhill castle: ‘…. All the buildings withyn the [castle]
area be down saving the old haulle’.
An inspection in
1564, by a Commission authorised by Queen Elizabeth l concluded
that the Court House including the Constable’s lodging over
gateway should be repaired. The Court House was considered
important as it was used for the annual audit, the sitting of
the Honour Court and safe keeping of the Court Rolls. The
stables in the courtyard (with lodgings for Queen’s Receiver),
together with a large hall, which was used as a barn, a kitchen
now an oxhouse, two buildings used as granaries, a lodging house
now a malt kiln and a chapel in middle of courtyard now used as
a hay house were all deemed to be in reasonable state of repair.
The house of George Mallorie, who farmed the castle lands, was
also located in courtyard and was declared to be in very good
The Commission agreed that, as well as
the Court House, maintenance and improvements were to be made to
George Mallorie’s house and the castle walls. The floor and roof
of the keep, however, were in a bad state of decay and were
considered too expensive to repair and should be abandoned.
The Hansby’s and the Civil War
The Hansby’s originated from New Malton in
the East Riding of Yorkshire; their connections with Tickhill
Castle are thought to have begun in the late 16th
century, when, they were bailiffs for the lessees. In 1614,
Sir Ralph Hansby, who had been
knighted by King James l two years earlier, obtained the Castle
on a 31-year lease. In 1828, historian, Joseph Hunter described
the Hansby’s as being among ‘the most active and influential
persons in the neighbourhood’ for over a century.
The Hansby’s were Roman Catholics, and when
Civil War seemed inevitable in 1642, declared for King Charles
l. Repairs and re-fortification must have taken place at
Tickhill as it was described as ‘a strong castle’ and became a
Royalist garrison, held by Sir Ralph until his death in 1643,
after which a Major Monckton took over the command. Following
the defeat of the King at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644,
the Parliamentarians were determined that all Royalist
strongholds in the north would surrender, subsequently, two
hundred dragoons and 30 horsemen, who were camped near Doncaster
under the command of the Earl of
Manchester and Lt. Gen. John Lilburne, set off for Tickhill.
After a two-day siege, the Royalists agreed to the terms of
surrender at a meeting with Lilburne, and on July 28, 1644,
Manchester took the Castle for Parliament without ‘the loss of
one drop of blood’. The Royalist supporters, who included Major
Monckton, together with Colonel Redhead, Major Redhead and other
officers, some of their wives and about 80 musketeers were given
safe conduct passes.
On entering the
Castle, Manchester discovered that the garrison had been
prepared for a siege: there was a mounted cannon, about 100
muskets, some gunpowder and match, together with 60 horses.
There was, also, a large amount of provisions, which is
described as follows by the eminent local historian, Dr. Edward
Miller: ‘…about 100 quarters of grain, many barrels of salt
butter, store of cheese, powdered beef, beasts and sheep’.
The Earl of Manchester left a garrison at
Tickhill, but in 1647, Parliament ordered that all northern
castles, which had been Royalist strongholds, were to be
demolished. The fortifications were pulled down in 1649, and
Tickhill Castle was never again used for defensive purposes.
Tickhill Castle House
After the Civil War, a three-storey hall
was built within the Castle courtyard incorporating the medieval
remains, including those of the chapel of St Nicholas and the
Norman walls. With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, it
became a private residence, the south curtain wall was partly
demolished to let more light into the courtyard and improve the
view. This mansion, with its elegant gables, tall chimneys and
mullioned windows in the west elevation of the north wing, must
have appeared to be the epitome of luxury, in contrast to the
austere fortification that had stood on the site for the last
550 years. Further alterations followed over the next 200 years,
most notably a new façade, incorporating a two-storey bow
window, with small Venetian window on the second floor, which
was completed in the early to mid-18th century.
Buttresses, to strengthen the walls to the eastern elevation,
are thought to be 19th century.
Following the Restoration, the House was,
once again, acquired by the Crown and the Duchy of Lancaster.
The heirs of Sir Ralph Hansby leased the property until the
early 18th century, after which, it had several
notable tenants including Earl Fitzwilliam and the Lumley family
- the Earls of Scarbrough, who were responsible for many of the
alterations and the landscaping of the grounds.
During the first half of the 19th
century, kinsmen of the Earls of Scarbrough continued to reside
at Tickhill Castle House: Frederick Lumley Savile, was a younger
son of the 4th Earl, he was followed by his son,
Richard George Lumley, until he succeeded to the title as 9th
Earl in 1856. During the latter half of the century, residents
included Lady Frances Hill, and from the 1870s the Rev. John
Adolphus Wright; following his death, his widow, Anne continued
to live there until the early years of the 20th
century. For a brief period, it was home to Archibald White,
player and President of Tickhill Cricket Club, until he
succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his Uncle in 1907. In
the inter-war years, Henry George Atkinson-Clark, J.P., Chairman
of Tickhill Urban District Council added his name to the long
list of Crown tenants. The last residents of the 20th
century were Gerald Gentry, a Doncaster Council music advisor
and his wife, Muriel, who lived there until 1980.
In the mid-1980s,
extensive archaeological excavations took place, and the Duchy
of Lancaster put the Castle on the market with a long lease,
together with the expectation that the leaseholder would spend
thousands of pounds on restoration. After several years,
however, the Castle House still remained unoccupied; the entire
site was opened to the public one day a year for three hours.
Today (2009), Tickhill Castle
House is, once again, occupied by a private tenant of the Duchy
of Lancaster; the foundations of the keep, the crumbling walls
and the 12th century gatehouse are all that remain of
the fortification that dominated Tickhill for over five
Beastall, Tom, Tickhill: portrait of
an English country town. Waterdale Press. 1995.
Beastall, T.W. & Blagden, M.A., The
siege of Tickhill Castle in Collections for the
history of Tickhill; edited by P.M. Tillott. 1967
The Duchy of Lancaster [at]
Hey, David, Medieval South Yorkshire.
Landmark Publishing. 2003.
Hey, David, The making of South
Yorkshire. Moorland Publishing. 1979.
Hippsley-Cox, C.I. Tickhill castle: an
historical summary and interim report on the investigations
1984-1986. Doncaster Community Programme Agency.
Hunter, Rev Joseph, South Yorkshire,
Vol 1. 1828.
Magilton, John, The Doncaster
District: an archaeological survey. Museum & Arts Service
Miller, Dr. Edward, The history and
antiquities of Doncaster. 1804.
The site and importance of Tickhill
Castle. Doncaster Community Programme Agency. 1985.
Tickhill Castle, Yorkshire.
Doncaster Community Programme Agency. 1985.
(The photographs which relate to this topic are in the
Gallery section of the website under "Buildings" -