5 Things you didn’t know about Wakefield History
How well do you know your Wakefield History and what’s your favourite era to explore? This area of the North has a rich history from earlier settlers to the battles that have swept across this land.
1. Did you know that Nostell Priory is named after the Monastery that had been on the site before 1540? This monastery was founded on the site and was dedicated to St Oswald. St Oswald was the Anglo Saxon king of Northumbria. In 1540 the monastery was surrendered under the dissolution of the monasteries. There is no trace of the old Monastery on the site today.
2. Sandal Castle is said to be the site of the Duke of York children’s song. “Oh the grand old Duke of York he had ten thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill…” The hill was said to be the mot and bailey that the castle stood upon, now the foundations of the castle are all that remain. The castle was the site of the death of the Duke of York, and later the battle of Wakefield in the all-important War of the Roses.
3. Did you know that Richard the 2nd was taken to Pontefract Castle after being imprisoned in the Tower of London and kept there under guard until his death? This story was later written about in William Shakespeare’s play Richard the 3rd that mentions these events.
4. Did you know that in 1649 parliament gave orders to demolish Pontefract Castle and level it to the ground? Orders were made to have the stone from the castle sold for building materials. Fortunately, most castles were only partially demolished or slighted. Castles were often slighted to render them useless; this process would involve digging into the foundations of the castle revealing the cellars and dungeons causing the structure to be vulnerable, uninhabitable and defenceless to use in conflicts to come.
5. The earliest settlers to the Wakefield and surrounding area were a tribe called Brigantes, they lived peacefully until the Romans came to occupy in AD 43. Even before this time flint and stone tools have been found in Wakefield showing evidence of human activity since prehistoric times.
What is your favourite part of Wakefield History? Let us know in the comments below and share the love of our history.