OS Grid reference- SK 592 931
The small town of Tickhill in South Yorkshire is situated 8 miles to the south of Doncaster and lies close to the border with Nottinghamshire.
The town boasts several notable buildings including medieval Tickhill Castle, St Mary's Church. which dates back to the twelfth century, the parish room, the old St Leonard's Hospital, and the Buttercross.
Modern research and excavations has confirmed there were settlements in the surrounding area since the Roman era. The remains of a Roman villa were discovered close to Stancil Farm, two miles to the north east of Tickhill.
Tickhill is an Old English place-name, which means either "Hill where young goats are kept" or "Hill of man called Tica". The town has no mention in the Domesday Book but was recorded as Tikehill in the twelfth century Cartulary of Nostell Priory (1109-19).
Following the Norman conquest, William the Conqueror granted lands around Tickhill to Roger de Busli, who built a castle on a small hill, which the town grew up around. Richard de Busli, grandson of Roger's brother Arnold, co-founded nearby Roche Abbey along with Richard FitzTurgis in 1147. On his his death his estates passed to Robert de Belleme, Earl of Shrewsbury, who in 1102 rebelled against King Henry 1, the castle was siezed by the Crown and all his estates forfieted.
The Market Cross (pictured right), is known locally as the Buttercross and was built in 1777 by the Rev. Christopher Alderson in an attempt to revive the weekly market.
St Leonard's Hospital (pictured above left) , a handsome timber-framed building, was originally constructed in the fifteenth century as a monastic building. It was restored in 1851. It occupies the site of St. Leonard's Hospital for leper brethren and the poor, aged and sick. The hospital was founded before in 1225 and dissolved before 1536. It was linked to the nearby Humberston Abbey. An inscription above the door suggests that the rebuilding was the work of a John Leftwul.
St Mary's Church is a Grade I listed building which dates from the early twelfth century. The present building is predominantly of Perpendicular style with glimpses of earlier Norman, Early English and Decorated styles. In the north west corner of the church is the much battered tomb of Sir Thomas Fitzwilliam and Lucy Neville. Thomas is thought to have fought for King Richard III at Bosworth. His wife Lucy was the daughter of John Neville, Marquis Montagu and was a cousin of Edward IV and Richard III. She married as her second husband Sir Anthony Browne.
Tickhill Castle has had an eventful and tumultuous history. It began life as an eleventh century motte and bailey earthwork which was known as Blythe Castle. It was constructed by the Norman magnate Roger de Busli, who is mentioned as a major landholder in the Domesday Survey of 1086.
Following a siege which took place in 1102 Robert Bloet added a stone curtain wall to the rampart around the bailey. From 1151 to 1153, the castle was owned by Ranulf de Gernon, Earl of Chester. Between 1180 and 1192 King Henry II and his successors built an 11-sided stone keep on top of the motte. A stone bridge and a chapel were constructed by Henry II's wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
It was held for their youngest son Prince John against his elder brother King Richard the Lionheart, who was captured and imprisoned during his return journey from the Third Crusade. Richard I did not trust John to remain loyal while he took part in the Third Crusade. His fears proved to be well founded after John seized the kingdom from Richard's regent, William Longchamp in 1191. Along with Windsor Castle, Tickhill was one of John's main strongholds to protect against a suspected invasion by Philip II of France.
Tickhill and Nottingham became John's last strongholds under the command of Robert de la Mare, it was besieged by Hugh de Puiset in 1194, its defenders held out until they heard news of the return of King Richard to England. Two knights were dispatched to discover if the rumour was true, on finding it was, the knights offered to restore the castle to Richard. The king, however, refused, stating he would only accept an unconditional surrender, which the knights negotiated upon their return, surrendering the castle to Hugh de Puiset in exchange for the defenders' lives. In Sir Walter Scott's classic novel 'Ivanhoe' is a graphic story of how Richard I stormed Torquilstone Castle, it likely that it was Tickhill Castle which Scott had in mind.
In 1321, the castle was besieged for a second time by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster during a rebellion against his cousin, King Edward II. In 1372, Edward III granted to the castle to his third son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. It remains the property of the Duchy of Lancaster to the present day.
During the Civil War the castle remained loyal to the crown, it was surrenderd to the Earl of Manchester in 1644. its importance as a local centre of resistance led to its 'slighting' by Parliament after the defeat of the royalist forces there in 1648. After the Civil War slighting, the Hansby family built a large seventeenth century house, which may incorporate parts of the old hall.
Today Tickhill castle remains an impressive ruin, retaining its Norman gatehouse, built in 1129-1130, the foundations of the 11-sided keep on a mound 75 feet (23 metres) high.