West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
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Pontefract Local History

PONTEFRACT CASTLE


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.


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