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Pontefract History

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yetion1
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« on: May 29, 2008, 08:48:42 pm »

I was very greatful to recieve these pictures from a local and hear the tale he had to tell.
The pictures show Oliver Cromwell’s house that was built behind the castle. It is or was absolutely beautiful. You can see 2 pictures showing the ruins and a further one showing only the foundations.
So the story goes about 1960 a great friend of mine Ozzy Wilks was employed to demolish the building. This was attempted by using sticks of dynamite. Ironically this had little effect as the building was designed and built so well as to with stand the blasts. Eventually the building came down. The rubble was removed and taken to Wentbridge. Here at the on slip road it was used as hard core and is still there today.
The person who took the pictures was eventually employed to look after the area. The foundation walls were covered over with sand and soil and grass planted. The area was maintained as a garden until the new houses today were built on it. To get an idea of the location you can see the railway line running across 1 picture.
What a bloody shame it had to go. My question is how did they get away with it? I am going to work on this as I believe there is a right old tale to unfold.


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heather
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2008, 01:06:43 pm »

The castle today is just a mere remnant of what it used to be. Built originally in 1080 after the Norman invasion of 1066, it was just a wooden keep firstly. The castle's first owners were the DeLacy family who were given land by William after the invasion. The keep was built in stone later which is the trifold tower you see when you first go through the gates. But the castle was still a small castle consisting of the keep and a few smaller towers around about. The castle became much larger during the 13th and 14th centuries when the outer curtain, Kings tower, Queens tower, port cullis, constables tower and royal apartments were added. The castle had its own gardens to grow vedgetables and rear cattle which were located at the front looking over Southgate, they were known as the upper and lower barbicans and had defences to stop raiding of the crops. The castle has three wells to sustain its own water supply and that is why this location was chosen. The first one is in the base of the piper tower, the second is in the tunnel that leads from the base of the keep which people do not get to see. The third is a natural fisher which is located in the magazine or dungeon. The castle was occupied from 1080 to 1650 when it was destroyed and the wealth was used to cover the damage incured by the locals during the civil war. All the stone, timber, lead and glass from which the castle was constructed was sold to locals to build houses, farms and reconstruct part of the town which was damaged during the civil war. I have a full ledger of where every single item went and how much was recovered. Some of the stone buildings in Featherstone were built using castle stone and timber. There are many legends regarding tunnels from the castle to various places and some do indeed exist. There is one tunnel from the castle to all saints church which was constructed during the sieges in the civil war to protect people from the castle being targeted by Cromwells guns although this was regarded as being a trench rather than a tunnel. There is a tunnel which hasn't been properly researched which leads from the keep to the former original dungeon under the stables which later became miss Ackroyd's house and is located on the left as you walk along the castle chain. There is however a very secret tunnel which not many people know about and it is rumoured that Colonel John Morris and two others escaped through it after the castle surrendered after the third siege but were caught and hung in York for high treason. This tunnel is the most Ingenious construction i've seen and believe it or not I discovered it by accident in the early 90's. The tunnel was so cleverly constructed it evaded the castle curators and caretakers for nearly 350 years till I showed them it about 15 years ago. The tunnel is viewable within the castle grounds and I challenge anyone to find it!!!
The stone from the castle was quarried from several locations in this area. The main one was Quarry hill but Marlpit hill was used, one in Ravensmead in purston was used, some were in Ackworth as well as various places around the area as more stages of the castle evolved.
Not a lot of people know that the castle is built on a geological fault which runs from Featherstone to Knottingley. This fault has many fishers or cracks in the bedrock which are continually on the move. Cressies farm for example regulary has problems with these fishers when huge holes appear in their fields which you could loose a small car down. This fisher appears in the castle in the magazine or dungeon which is located under the castles courtyard. It is very deep and you can climb down it. This was used as a water source early in the castles history.
There is a lot of history to the castle including the murder of Richard the 2nd and particularly the civil war period. The castle however was a well used stop over place for many kings and queens of England while they travelled north to York and further, therefore has always been regarded as a royal castle.
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Forkhandles
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2008, 02:06:16 pm »

Very interesting reading heather, well done Grin
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heather
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008, 05:27:20 pm »

hehe Roll Eyes Grin
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yetion1
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2008, 07:17:41 pm »

as ever a most exelent history, i have learnt loads. i know very little about the castle. i was talking to Ozzy Wilks the other week about it and its taking down. he believes the person in charge ran off to France with a small fortune made from the sales. i wondered if you know any more to this?
i have to ask if you have any prints or similar to your roads post as i am sure it would be very interesting to all?
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heather
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2008, 07:29:24 pm »

There is a hardback book entitled 'The three sieges of pontefract castle' of which I have access to. The book is a very large book which contains the full details of where all the stone, timber and other materials went to and how much money was made. I don't know about the story that Ozzy mentioned though. My father worked in miss Ackroyd's house after the war and was lucky enough to see some of the many artifacts which came out of the castle including a chair from the Kings tower which was possibly 'thee' chair which many a monarch sat on. He also went in the dungeon under the house which contained shackles from the 14th century still fastened to the wall. When miss Ackroyd died all of the artifacts went to York museum which was written in her will. She hated WMDC and their museum service because they failed to maintain her property as part of the castle.
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heather
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2008, 10:43:31 am »

This makes interesting reading:-
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Lane/8771/honour.html
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floss
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2008, 02:03:26 pm »

as ever a most exelent history, i have learnt loads. i know very little about the castle. i was talking to Ozzy Wilks the other week about it and its taking down. he believes the person in charge ran off to France with a small fortune made from the sales. i wondered if you know any more to this?
i have to ask if you have any prints or similar to your roads post as i am sure it would be very interesting to all?
Wow yetion1 where was you taking to ozzie wilks about this? i'm very intrigued he died years ago. when i see my dad over christmas i will ask him if he knows anything about this article as he worked everywhere with ozzie will let you the outcome if he knows anything.
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Unicorn
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2008, 07:21:26 pm »

Hi i have the book called the three sieges of Pontefract Castle it was bought for my son Mark for his 18th birthday , it has never been read as my son died.
If anyone is interested in reading it they may do so but with care, when i look at it i use gloves as it is delicate. the writer should have written two more books but ran out of money as far as i know.
cheers Pauline Cheesy
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yetion1
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2008, 09:45:44 pm »

Heyup Floss. No, the first well known OZZY is still buried under the tree at North Featherstone church. It is my interpretation as I know his son Phil Wilks and have enjoyed much education in life from him. My accounts came from talking to Phil and 2 of his sons. It sounds like the demolition of the house was what I know as "crush and run". The building was demolished as quickly as possible to make hard core. This was taken mostly to Wentbridge to provide hard core for the A1.
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ridings.info
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2009, 06:38:13 pm »

As always I am unsure of the copy-write to this image, I do however think the picture looks better in colour

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yetion1
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2009, 07:31:53 pm »

Now thats a cracker. Again ive not seen that one. Ive heard a lot about its history. The postcard is itself old showing a ruin.
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ridings.info
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2009, 10:38:03 pm »

New Hall in Nevison or sometimes as it is called The Old Hall reached its ‘sell-by’ after the Luddite Riots of 1811, when the authorities stripped the lead from the roof to prevent the rebels using it to cast bullets. Once rain began to penetrate, the fate of the hall was sealed and it ended up as ballast under the A1 in the early sixties. its foundations however have been preserved intact under the recent housing development.

As always I am unsure of the copy-write to this image



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