1. The Keep of Conisbrough is probably similar in design to the one built (but now destroyed) at Pontefract.
2. Richard of Conisbrough, Earl of Cambridge, was a son of the Duke of York and was born at Conisbrough Castle. In 1415 he was one of the traitors who plotted against King Henry V as part of the Southampton plot.
One of the key castles in the north, Conisbrough Castle was part of a network of Norman fortresses designed to secure Yorkshire. Ultimately ending up as the property of the Dukes of York, it became a Royal castle when Edward IV ascended to throne in 1461. By the time of the English Civil War it was in a ruinous condition.
HISTORY OF CONISBROUGH CASTLE
A Saxon settlement prior to the Norman invasion, Conisbrough (“King’s Fort”) was fortified in the years immediately following the conquest with an earth and timber structure. It is unknown whether this took the form of a motte and bailey or was a ring work fort. Along with other key castles in the North Midlands/Yorkshire area (including Lincoln, Newark, Sheffield, Pontefract, Sandal, Tickhill, York and Spofforth) it was key to Norman control of the north. The castle seen today dates from circa-1180 when the Keep was built with its circular design taking inspiration from Royal castles such as Orford.
The castle’s only major military engagement came in 1317 when it was besieged and captured by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. The then owner of Consibrough Castle was John de Warenne who had a personal vendetta with Thomas due to his efforts to bar an attempted divorce between himself and his wife, Joan. Scandalously one of John's squires eloped with Joan to Reigate Castle prompting Thomas, one of the most powerful magnates in the country, to commence a private war. Thomas seized Conisbrough and Sandal Castle in revenge and retained both until he was executed in March 1322. The properties were returned to the Warenne family by Edward II in 1326.
Edward III granted the estate to Edmund Langley, Duke of York and it remained in that line becoming a Royal castle when its then owner, Edward of York, became King Edward IV in March 1461.
By the Tudor period the castle was ruinous and this aided its survival; when it came to the Civil War, which saw so many great castles slighted on the orders of Parliament, the castle was regarded as ruinous and was neither garrisoned nor seen as a post-war threat.