Compiled from the writings of the late Richard H. H. Holmes.
PONTEFRACT CASTLE - A SHORT HISTORY
To write the history of Pontefract is a most formidable task owing to the
wealth of material available ; but to put together a short account of
Pontefract Castle is somewhat more simple. The first problem is to
decide in what way best to deal with the subject. Something must be said
about the growth of the buildings as buildings, and the various stages
by which those buildings changed from being a simple early Norman
fortress to become one of the most magnificent Plantagenet Castles in
the North of England. Something must be recorded of the personalities of
the people who inhabited the Castle at various times ; and any history,
however brief, will be incomplete unless it includes reference to some
of the many outstanding events in the history of England of which
Pontefract Castle was the centre.
Under the first head there is no doubt that a Saxon stronghold existed on the
hill where the Castle was established, but it is probable that it was a
mere stockade within which the local barbarian chiefs established
themselves and their followers so as the better to make themselves
secure against their raiding neighbours and to provide them with a safe
base from which to organise their own raids and also – a much more
important matter – to afford them a place of protection from the
ordinary daily hazards of a little settlement set amidst the wide wild
country which in those days these parts were.