Sheffield Castle was originally constructed from timber sometime during the 12th Century, by the Norman noble Lovetot who also constructed the first recorded bridge over the River Don; Lady’s Bridge. The castle then passed to the Furnivals who were loyal supporters of the crown. Forming part of the evidence for the castle’s existence is a letter from King John in which he appears to refer to a castle in the Sheffield area. It was during the Furnivals’ occupation of the castle that it was razed, along with most of the town of Sheffield itself, by forces commanded by D’Eyvill who was a supporter of Simon de Montfort’s efforts to take the throne of England from Henry III. As a reward for Sheffield’s loyalty to the crown, Henry III gave permission for the reconstruction of the castle in stone, together with the crenellation of its defences. Over the following centuries the castle remained in the hands of the same aristocratic family although due to marriage the family name of the incumbents changed to include the well known Talbots. From a number of archival sources it can be determined that the castle is likely to have covered an area of over four acres and encompassed two wards. After a short and bloody siege, the royalists holding Sheffield castle surrendered it to Parliamentarian fotrces during the English Civil War. It was at this time that much of the stone castle was demolished and its lead, glass and soforth sold off.
The castle was situated upon a steep-sided sandstone outcrop overlooking the confluence of the Rivers Don and Sheaf. The buried remains of the castle currently lie under the Castle Markets and surrounding area. The full extent of the castle is not yet understood but it may extend as far as the Co-Op department store known as Castle House. Redevelopment programmes in the city present a number of opportunities to explore and expose more of the castle that has remained buried for over 800 years. Within the City Centre Masterplan it is hoped that Sheffield Castle can form a visitor attraction within the Castle Gate quarter. Below is a link to a Prospectus that has been written by ARS Ltd. This prospectus sets out a vision statement for the castle as well as setting out ideas for its excavation and display.