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.

A CLEAN SWEEP

Absence of records tends to confirm the supposition that the Normanís found none of the Saxon works worthy of incorporation into their schemes. The lie of the land made the south from the obvious choice for the entrance which faced the Darrington road (now carried over the railway just east of Baghill Station), as the remainder of the circumference could hardly have been dealt with otherwise than by being solidly walled in Ė which the Normanís at once set about, with an erection ten to twelve feet thick or more, very much more in some places, having defence towers at intervals, and cross or flanking walls at strategic lines.

The Castle enclosure of today is somewhat shrunken by comparison with that of the place before the demolition, and the public way known as Castle Chain now passes straight across the former southern side of the Inner Barbican lying in fact for some of its way, on the ruins of the very wall which, five feet thick, at one time maintained an eight foot difference in level between the Inner and Outer Barbican (the Castle Garth of today), the latter a steep slope which fell down to border the high way from Pontefract to Knottingley and the east. The Inner Barbican, it should be noted, had at least three gates ; that towards the town on the west, a south gate, and one at the eastern extremity, at the top of the Booths where Ass Hill, the steps from South Baileygate, join them.


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