Visit Pontefract and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Pontefract, West Yorkshire. The liquorice for the famous Pontefract cakes is no longer grown here though once a field of it filled the ruined castle precincts. The Romans chewed the sweet roots, and cakes of liquorice were made for medicinal purposes early on. But not until 1760 did George Dunhill, a local chemist, add sugar and start the production of the sweets known today. Five firms now make them here. The best viewpoint for a survey of the town and collieries is the castle keep, part of the sparse ruins which stand in a public park on a rocky hill. Pontefract Castle, built by Ilbert de Lacy in the late 12th century and later strengthened, figured largely in history. One owner, Thomas Earl of Lancaster, was brought home in chains after the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322, found guilty of treason and beheaded. Richard II was a prisoner here in cold and misery until his murder. The castle also imprisoned James I of Scotland. Charles Duke of Orleans was held here for many years; he was captured at Agincourt. It was a place of execution in the War of the Roses. No wonder Shakespeare called it “bloody Pomfret”. A Royalist stronghold in the Civil War, it was surrendered in 1648. The townspeople petitioned that it be pulled down and in 10 weeks it was in ruins.
The castle stood just above All Saints Church which was damaged in the Civil War and only repaired in 1838 when the crossing and transepts were restored to use. The nave was extended more recently. The revived church is within its ruins, a curious sight.
There are some good 18th- and 19th-century buildings here. The Town Hall of 1785 faces the Market Place where there also is a 1734 butter cross, a round-arched, hipped-roof arcaded stone shelter. The red-brick Red Lion Hotel was remodelled in 1776 by Robert Adam. St Giles's Church, which originated in the 14th century, became the parish church in 1789.
Below the hospital in Southgate is the 14th-century Hermitage carved out of stone by Brother Adam de Laythorpe. It has two chambers and an underground spring.
Nearby cities: Leeds, Wakefield
Nearby towns: Barnsley, Doncaster, Selby
Nearby villages: Ackworth Moor Top, Badsworth, Beal, Brotherton, Burton Salmon, Carleton, Castleford, Darrington, East Hardwick, Ferrybridge, Fitzwilliam, Hightown, Kirk Smeaton, Knottingley, Ledston, Low Ackworth, Methley, Monk Fryston, Normanton, Pontefract, Purston Jaglin, Ryhill, Womersley
Have you decided to visit Pontefract or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Pontefract bed and breakfast (a Pontefract B&B or Pontefract b and b)
- a Pontefract guesthouse
- a Pontefract hotel (or motel)
- a Pontefract self-catering establishment, or
- other Pontefract accommodation