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 DARK AND DISMAL DUNGEON

These three flights, then, made connection between ground level near the most used general entrance to the Castle and the top of the mound on which stood the main buildings of the Castle, with the Round Tower dominating high and low alike. And in the very core and kernel of the rock of the Tower was the dungeon, reached by twenty steps down from the first landing above the Postern door overlooking the western graft.

This dungeon, barely 3ft broad, 8ft 6ins long and 7ft high, with a preliminary chamber, slightly larger, is so placed with its approaching passages bent and elbowed, that no daylight can ever reach it. And all these passages it should be noted, are really tunnels through the rock, but so lined with stonework as to give a first impression that they are conventional masonry constructions.

On top of the mound the real building of the Keep (as distinct from the stone faced hill below) was so thoroughly destroyed that it has hitherto proved impossible to do more than guess what its layout and construction were. An old reference to repairs supports the theory that there may perhaps have been three rooms at this level, one or more of them maybe wainscoted, or possibly tapestried. And one of these was perhaps that which had in its centre a pillar on which marks were at a later stage pointed out as having been made by the murderers of King Richard II.


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