Grass-covered hill
Lawe Hill

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wakefield Castle, Lowe Hill or Lawe Hill was a fortification built in the 12th century on a hill on the north side of the River Calder near Wakefield, England. Its name derives from the Anglo Saxon hlaew meaning a mound or cairn, possibly a burial mound or barrow.[1][2] The mound, about a quarter mile from the river and separated from the town by flat swampy land, was considered a good site for a fortification.

William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey probably started to build an earthwork motte and bailey structure.[1] A ditch, six feet (2 m) deep and forty feet (12 m) wide was dug and the spoil used to construct a mound or motte with a flat top about fifty feet in diameter and about forty feet high. The castle had two baileys further fortified by timber palisades which were occupied by stables, workshops and sleeping quarters for the soldiers.[3][4]

Wakefield Castle and Sandal CastleA ruined medieval castle in Sandal Magna, Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England. One of two castles built overlooking the River Calder, it was built by the Warrennes, the Earls of Surrey who were Lords of the Manor of Wakefield., on the south side of the river, were granted to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster in 1318 and in 1324 King Edward II committed them to the care of Richard Moseley.[3] At what time the castle was destroyed is not known but a great gale in 1330 which caused much damage in Wakefield may have been the cause. Excavations in 1953 indicated that it was probably an adulterine castle, built without permission, and abandoned unfinished.[4]

In July 1558 a beacon was lit on Lowe Hill to warn the population that the Spanish Armada had been sighted off The Lizard in Cornwall.[5]

Little remains of the castle, a Scheduled Ancient Monument,[4] which is situated in Thornes Park, other than the tree-covered motte. The site is accessible to the public.[6]

Citations



Bibliography


Lowe Hill  (52514). (n.d.). Historic England. Retrieved from http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=52514
Mills, A. D. (1998). Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford.
Wakefield Castle. (n.d.). Castle UK. Retrieved from http://www.castleuk.net/castle_lists_north/111/wakefieldcastle.html
Walker, J. W. (1966). Wakefield its History and People Vol.1&2 3rd Edn. S.R.  Publishers.