PONTEFRACT: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1750.
"PONTEFRACT, a parish in the West Riding of Yorkshire, or POMFRET, not far from the conflux of the Are and Dan, 16 m. from York, 133 cm. 169 mm. from London, is a neat built T. 1 m. long in a sweet situation. In the time of the Saxons it was called Kirkby. Here are the ruins of a castle, in which Thomas E. of Lancaster, who was Ld. of it, and whose ancestors fortified it, was beheaded by order of K. Edw. II. Rich. II. after being deposed, was starved and tormented to death here. And Anthony E. Rivers, uncle to K. Edw. V. and Sir Rich. Grey, his half-brother, were both murdered here by K. Rich. III. This Bor. was incorporated by that K. and is governed by a mayor, recorder, 12 ald. who are in the commission of the peace, and burgesses. It had 2 p.-Chs. but now only one; the other being ruined, together with the castle, in the civil wars, when it being seized for K. Cha. I. the Pt.-forces laid siege to it, and Ld. Langdale raised it. Here is a Mt. on S. Fairs on Trinity-eve, the week before Palm Sunday, noted for good horses, and Sept. 1. K. Hen. II. granted it a charter, for a Fair on St. Giles's, and 8 days after. In the old castle is still to be seen the place, where once stood a collegiate-Ch. Here was also a priory. At the bottom of its spacious Mt.-place stands the T.-hall. This Bor. sent members to Pt. in the 23d and 27th of Edw. III. but never again, till the 19th of James I. It gave title of Baron in his time to Sir John Savil, and to his son, who was E. of Sussex, as it has since that of E. to Tho. Fermer, Ld. Lempster. In the R. of Q. Eliz. Geo. Talbot, E. of Shrewsbury, left 200 l. to be lent every Whit-M. at 5 l. a time, to poor artificers of this T. for 3 years on proper security. Here is a ch. sc. for 24 boys and 12 girls, maintained out of the interest of 200 l. given by the late Tho. Wentworth, Esq; father to the Ld. Malton, and a subscription besides. The adjacent Co. is noted for plenty of lime- stone, as also of liquorice and skirworts. There is a course here for horse-races."
"KNOTTINGLEY, in the parish of Pontefract, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on the Aire, near Ferrybridge, is noted for its merchandize in Lime. The stones of which it is made are dug up plentifully at Elmet, and here burnt; from whence it is conveyed, at certain seasons, in great quantities to Wakefield, Sandal, and Standbridge, for sale, and so carried into the W. parts of the Co. for manure."
[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Stephen Whatley's England's Gazetteer, 1750]