West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
 
Advertisements
 
 
 
Pontefract Local History

PONTEFRACT CASTLE

Compiled from the writings of the late Richard H. H. Holmes.

THE ROUND TOWER

This huge cross-wall joins right up to, what must have been in the days of its prime and certainly is to-day in its ruin, the most impressive piece of the whole collection of buildings which comprised the Castle the Round Tower, which oddly is neither round nor a tower.

What the Normans found here was a steep knob of somewhat soft sandstone. Following the inherent weaknesses and strengths of the natural rock, the builders cut away the soft and weathered outer parts until they had a core roughly seventy feet in diameter in essence with three much smaller circular segments abutting upon it. All this they then faced with a very strong casing of stonework, carried out in a much harder and more permanent material than that which they had removed, and than that which they thus enveloped.

At the level at the top of the mound fifty or sixty feet above the level at which they had commenced their work the Normans continued their walling so as to produce a circular Keep some sixty feet in diameter and probably twenty-five feet high. This must indeed have been a noble structure, well worthy of Bishop Gundulph, architect of both the Tower of London and of Rochester Castle, who is thought possibly to have influenced the architect of Pontefract, if he did not hold that office himself.

The base of the Keep, though solid, was soft enough to permit of reasonably easy excavation, and a small door-way on the west, at the foot, looking out over the graft (or dry moat), reveals a small steep staircase in two flights of 12 steps and 21 steps, cut through the solid heart of the hill, and giving access to a little landing or platform on the south side, at the foot of a further flight of irregular stone steps external to the main building, but probably at one time roofed and well protected.


PONTEFRACT CASTLE INDEX                NEXT>


 

Site constructed and maintained by Michael Norfolk
This website is Copyright 2005-2013 [www.pontefractus.co.uk] All Rights Reserved
| HOME PAGE | SITE INDEX | LETTERS | MEMORIES | PHOTO GALLERY | GENEALOGY | LATEST PHOTOS |
| KNOTTINGLEY AND FERRYBRIDGE ONLINE | YORKSHIRE ANCESTRY | IMAGES OF YORKSHIRE |
SELBY GARDEN RAILWAY | OO GAUGE GARDEN RAILWAY |