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.

THE CHAPEL IN THE CASTLE

A range of ruins on the east of the Castle Yard – facing the mound or terrace which has the Round Tower at its southern extremity – had a tower at each end. Queen’s at the north east and Kings at the south east. Before them, with the altar to the east in the conventional manner, lay the Castle Chapel of the Norman era, the outline of which can now be readily discerned, since it has been laid bare.

Finally, at the south-eastern corner of the Castle Yard, stood Constable Tower, the last before the Porter’s Lodge.

Such were, briefly, the buildings of the Castle in its closing years, but a wealth of further detail of varying interest, may be found in an examination of other features to which space here permits no reference. There are for instance, many parts of the great Norman enclosing wall, especially on the east, which will repay inspection, and the confusions and problems about the Piper Tower.

Above all, the visitor should be sure to see the Magazine, below the lawn which today covers the one time Castle Yard. This feature which comprises flights of steps totalling 42, in different styles and series, was originally the cellar and store beneath the Great Hall up to about 1280, with an internal circular staircase – now, like so many more, thoroughly blocked up. Independently of the stairway, a square stone shaft 4ft x 7ft and 9 ½ yards deep from lawn to cellar floor, gives light and air to the four apartments of the Magazine.


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