Tickhill castle along with Nottingham castle was a prominent stronghold during the reign of King Richard I and King John. It was originally known as Blyth(1) Castle and was built by Roger-de-Busli who at the time of the Doomsday Book held more than 230 manors in five counties principally in Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire including Loxley and is thought by some to have been “Red Roger” the Prioress’ lover who reputedly killed Robin Hood by bleeding him to death. William Peveril the Sheriff of Nottingham who built Nottingham Castle and the castle in the Royal Forest of the Peak at Castleton only held 55 manors by comparison .
Tickhill was a “Royal” castle the same as Nottingham and York and is strategically placed midway between them a few miles south of Barnsdale on the Great North Road at the junction of the road to Loxley. The castle was built on the Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire border possibly as a matter of deliberate policy (Prof. David Hey) and Roger-de-Busli appears to have held authority in both Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. Between 1151-3 Ranulf, earl of Chester possessed the Honour and Castle of Tickhill before his untimely death when he was poisoned by William Peveril a Sheriff of Nottingham. (Baronage vol.i.p.39.) Richard the Lionheart issued them with their first royal charter on Ascension Day (22 May) 1194 from France and interestingly David, earl of Huntingdon was the Lord of Doncaster. When Richard Lionhearted gave brother John Lackland his many lands, he held back certain castles to curb his brother’s power. These castles were Launceston, Exeter, Gloucester, Nottingham and Tickhill. Such was their importance that Tickhill Castle and Nottingham Castle were two of King John's last strongholds.
(1) Action was first seen at Tickhill between Robert of Belleme and Henry I who took to the field personally and to everyone’s relief defeated Robert at Arundel, Bridgnorth, Tickhill, and Shrewsbury where he surrendered.
(2) It was at Tickhill where the villainous Longchamp tricked the Bishop of Durham into meeting him and in an unprovoked attack promptly arrested the Bishop, giving Longchamp control over all England.
(3) Then John seeking to oust Longchamp from power personally seized the castles of Nottingham and Tickhill and was successful in removing Longchamp.
(4) A little later as King Philip of France prepared to invade England John prepared Windsor Castle and Tickhill Castle as his two main strongholds. When King Richard finally reached England he found his brother John in control of Nottingham and Tickhill but the castle soon submitted to King Richard.
(5) Then later in the reign of Edward II 1321-2 the Earl of Lancaster was involved in the third great siege at Tickhill. He lost and went north towards Scotland only to be met by Sir Andrew de Harclay in command of Edward II's army. In the ensuing battle at an important bridge across the Wye called Boroughbridge, Humphrey de Bohun 8th earl of Hereford died along with other nobles. The rebels made a truce with Harclay until morning and returned to their lodgings. However during the night the Sheriff of York arrived with more loyal troops and Harclay broke the truce, for he was dealing with the king's rebels and entered the town of Boroughbridge in the early morning, seizing the rebels in their beds. Thomas the Earl of Lancaster was taken prisoner and from thence to Pontefract where he was beheaded. Some people say Robin Hood fought at the Battle of Burrowbridge as one of the rebels and was consequently outlawed. (See the candidate’s page.) The Queen owns the castle (Duchy of Lancaster) which unfortunately is now a ruin. For those interested in the history of Doncaster there is an excellent site here.
Peveril Castle near Loxley belonged to the Sheriff of Nottingham.
The castle at Tickhill was a Royal Castle the same as Nottingham Castle. It neighboured on Peveril Castle (pictured) that belonged to the Sheriff of Nottingham who owned both Peveril and Nottingham Castles. Although some ballads say the Prioress killed Robin Hood other ballads say it the monk who murdered Robin Hood and Roger de Busli may have been that monk. We know he built Blyth Priory called St. Marys and this site tells us that it was common for the clergy to have lovers. Roger-de-Bulies castle came to prominence during the reigns of King Richard and King John and it was the castles position on Wattling Street that would explain Will Scarlet's concern for his master who said, “I won’t let you go, for bad Red Roger lives close to the route, (He did. Tickhill Castle or Blyth Castle as it was then, is on the road from Loxley just before you get onto the modern A1 or Wattling Street) he loves so to fight he won’t let you pass, without a good guard a challenge he’ll make. To gain my consent, fifty bowmen take, for you my good friend my love knows no end." And the rest is in the Rhymes of Robin Hood.
The Geste of Robin Hood
(1) As the castle in the parish of Doncaster was known as Blyth Castle it is worth mentoning the occurance of those places in the Geste which starts with Robin Hood in the local woods at Barnsdale meeting an impoverished knight who had intended to dine at Blyth or Doncaster (verse 27). When Robin hears his sorry tale he helps the knight by lending him £400 and the 2nd fytte begins, ”Now the knight is gone on his way, and he thought the arrangement was good. When he looked back towards Barnsdale, he blessed Robin Hood."
After promising to repay Robin in twelve months time at the same place the knight continues on his way to St. Mary’s Abbey in York where he is able to satisfactorily conclude his business. Twelve months later under the same tree Robin is waiting for the knight when two monks appear. When tested they lie about the amount of money they are carrying, which is over £800 and because of their deceit Robin administers a rough and ready justice and takes the money they said they didn't have. As the monk spurs his horse to flee Robin calls after him saying, “Before you ride away do you want another drink?” “No, by God,” cried the monk, “I regret that I came here for I could have dined more cheaply in Blyth or Doncaster!” (verse 259 The Fourth Fytte of the Geste)