WAKEFIELD: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1750.


"WAKEFIELD, a parish in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 11 mm. from Ferrybridge and Halifax, 24 from York, 133 cm. 172 mm. from London, has a bridge over the Calder, on which K. Edw. IV. built a chapel in memory of his father Richard D. of York, and others of his friends, killed not far off in the battle of 1549. 'Tis a large well built T. famous in Camden's time for its extent, neat buildings, great Mts. and mf. of cloth. It continues in a thriving condition, and from hence, perhaps, comes the proverb merry Wakefield, as well as from its situation in a fruitful soil and cheap country, where is no want of merry cheer and company. It consists chiefly of three great streets centering near the Ch. In the Mt.-place there is a beautiful cross, being an open colonnade of the Doric order, supporting a dome, and a lanthern at the top, under which is a room wherein they transact their publick business. The Ch. which was repaired in 1724 is a large lofty Gothic structure, with a spire, one of the highest in the Co. Though the T. is no corp. yet 'tis said there are more people in it than in York city. In 1618, the Calder was made navigable hither from Castleforth, and by act of Pt. 1740, its navigation is continued from hence to Eland and Halifax. Mean time, great quantities of coals are carried by water from hence, as well as Leeds, into the Ouse, and then either go up that r. to York, or down to the Humber, supplying abundance of large Ts. with that commodity, and saving them the duty of 4 s. per chaldron, which is paid for the coals of Newcastle. The lady Campden has endowed a weekly lecture in this T. with 80 l. a year; and here is a ch. sc. for 63 children, supported by the inh. The Mts. are Th. and F. the last of which is for woollen cloth, of which there is a very great mf. in and near this T. The Fairs are T. before Palm-Sunday, June 24, the first and third T. in August, and October 31. The adjacent country is called the Lp. of Wakefield, bel. anciently to the Earls of Warren and Surry; and several persons of quality have been its stewards, especially the Savils and the Brudenels. Here are annual horse-races. In this T. was born John Green, the famous pindar, who fought Robin Hood. In the field of battle where the above-mentioned Richard Duke of York was killed, there was found a gold ring, supposed to be his, and preserved in Mr. Thoresby's musaeum, which has for its motto pour bon amour; and on the outside, which is very broad, are the effigies of three saints."

"HORBURY, in the parish of Wakefield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, near Wakefield, to which it is a chapelry, bel. heretofore to the priory of Lewes in Sussex."

"LINGWELL GATE, (given as "LINGWELL-YATE") in the parish of Wakefield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, bet. Wakefield Out-wood and Thorp on the Hill, where, in 1697, were found certain moulds of clay that were invented for counterfeiting the coins of some of the Roman Emperors."

[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Stephen Whatley's England's Gazetteer, 1750]