Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Tuesday 09 July 1912
Striking Incident at Conisborough.
King in the Tower
Historic Moment at Royal Fortress.
The Royal Standard floated over Conisborough Castle yesterday, after an interval of 700 years. King John was there in 1201, and yesterday King George and Queen Mary paid a visit to these historic ruins, which are brimful of romantic interest that lends additional charm to their natural beauty.
From the top pf the tower, 90 feet high, King George acknowledged the greetings of gathering of at least 7,000 of his subjects who had assembled outside the Castle walls, and it was an inspiring moment deepened by all the historic associations which have made Conisborough Castle famous. As the cheers rose up from below, the King raised his hat, and though there was no brilliant ceremonial, it was a Royal picture, set in a Royal frame.
There are few more striking or beautiful scenes in England than are presented by the vicinity of this ancient fortress,” wrote Sir Walter Scott, and it was at this Conisborough Castle Royal residence before the Norman Conquest, set on a mount ascending from the soft and gentle River Don”— that King George received the homage of his loyal Yorkshire subjects. Romance written in every stone of’ its stately grey walls, and it towers above its surroundings with an isolated dignity and splendour that has stood the test of ages.
The Royal Arrival.
Long before their Majesties arrived people had come in their thousands to give a loyal welcome. On the steep slope below the Castle walls leading into the grassy fosse or ditch, waited an expectant crowd. Under the green trees in the outer ward were thousands of villagers, including 3,000 children from the schools at Conisborough and Denaby, and every other child carried a flag, or wore loyal colours. About quarter past four the 3,000 children’s voices were lifted high and the National Anthem was sung with a significance that has never before been experienced at Conisborough. It sent a thrill of excitement through the crowd, and there was spasmodic cheering up to the moment when the Royal motor-car came in sight. At that moment there was a great shout which was continued during their Majesties progress to the Castle.
They left their car at the entrance to the outer ward, and stood in full view of the people. Earl Fitzwilliam presented Mr. W. J. Lowry Cole, the Countess of Yarborough’s agent, with whom the King shook hands, and their Majesties walked slowly through the line of school children boy scouts, who took their stand on each side of the narrow pathway to the Castle entrance. They repeatedly acknowledged the warm greetings given them. A staid but immensely enthusiastic person on my right said “Let’s give them a real cheer” as they passed along the causeway that used to be the site of the ancient drawbridge across the ditch. At that moment their Majesties faced the people on the slopes, and it was real cheer that was given them. The Queen gave a charming smile she glanced across. She turned aside for a moment as she pointed out to the King the ditch their side, and they then passed between the two grey, lofty walls that mark the entrance to the inner ward, surrounded by the ruins, and went up the narrow approach to the inner ward whilst the Royal Standard was unfurled on the tower.
The Queen entered the marquee but his Majesty, accompanied by Earl Fitzwilliam and the other gentlemen then ascended the flight of stone steps to the wooden door 20 feet above the ground, and entered the Keep. The wooden floors of the three stories disappeared long ago and the inside of the Keep is open from the foundation to the turret.
His Majesty, as he wended his way up the dark and narrow staircase in the thick wall, admired the remains of the two fireplaces which are now covered which are now covered with ivy and creepers, and was much interested in the yawning, dungeon-pit at the base of the Keep which contains the well.
He walked round the top and as soon as the people saw him they raise a loud cheer. The King raised his hat time after time and gazed upon the scene with evident interest. It was certainly the most striking moment of his visit to the Conisborough. His Majesty remained on the tower for some minutes, and then descending walked slowly across the lawn to take tea with the Queen and others in the marquee which was very daintily equipped.
The people were not kept waiting long for a second view of their majesties. The Queen was the first to leave after tea, accompanied by Earl Fitzwilliam, and the King, who wore a grey suit and a brown and felt hat, brown boots, and light grey gloves, walked by the side of Lady Zetland. Cheers broke out as they retraced their steps to the waiting motor-car, which their Majesties entered and proceeded at a slow pace down the hill on through Hooten Roberts for the remainder of the day’s tour. They were given a very loyal and hearty send off.