A project to conserve the remains of Pontefract Castle in West Yorkshire has received £65,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The money has been awarded as part of a £3.6m plan to preserve the castle site, which dates back to the 11th Century.
The funding is to support an application for £3m to be submitted next year.
Councillor Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said the scheme would boost tourism and create jobs.
He said preservation of the castle was a "priority".
The project aims to conserve the standing remains of the castle, landscape the area, develop new visitor facilities and viewing platforms.
Imprisoned and murdered
If bidding is successful, the five-year project will start in 2014.
The castle is the site of Wakefield Council's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and beacon lighting on Monday.
Edward I called Pontefract the "Key to the North" and Richard II was imprisoned and later murdered in the castle.
During the Wars of the Roses (1454-85) it was used as a Lancastrian stronghold.
In the English Civil War (1642-1651) the Royalist castle was besieged by Parliamentarian forces before being demolished, in 1649, on the request of the townspeople.