The magnificent keep at Conisbrough Castle is one of South Yorkshire?s most striking landmarks. The castle was the centre of a great Norman lordship, given by William the Conqueror to William de Warenne. The keep was probably built in the 1170s or 1180s. Escaping damage in the Civil War, it became a picturesque ruin in the 18th and 19th centuries, and inspired Sir Walter Scott’s most famous novel,?Ivanhoe, published in 1819.
?Conisbrough? comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ?Cyningesburh?, meaning ?the king?s borough?. Little is known of the site before the Norman Conquest, but Conisbrough town was certainly important long before then: a major Anglian church, now the church of St Peter, stood here, probably as early as the 8th century, and is the oldest standing building in South Yorkshire.
Conisbrough may have been a royal estate and minster of the Anglian kings of Northumbria: throughout the Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods, it seems to have been the most important place in South Yorkshire.