Graded locations

Listed buildings are graded in each location in this blog. Eg. Grade I, II* II of grade I is of most importance. Grade A relates to Scotland. See BLB

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

PONTEFRACT CASTLE

Location - Pontefract, West Yorkshire

Built - 1070 AD

Ghostly manifestations -

King Richard II was murdered here, no-one has yet spotted his ghost.

Monk figures seen walking around the outskirts near the catholic chapel and 2 figures of children seen playing near the dungeons. Holding a large axe, this figure walks around the ruins of the castle. a black monk walking from the remains of the kitchen towards the steps up to the ruins of the Queen's Tower. Strangely the monk is always seen walking from west to east, never in the opposite direction. The monk has been seen by quite a lot of people over a considerable period of time and they are of all ages and different backgrounds and "when you hear it from so many people you start to believe it." Sightings are usually around 5pm". Ghostly foosteps have been heard in the magazine area.

Ghostly anomalies - No photographic evidence.

History - Pontefract Castle in West Yorkshire near to the town of Pontefract, was constructed in approximately 1070 by a knight, Ilbert de Lacy (whose grandson Henry is responsible for the construction of Kirkstall Abbey), on land which had been granted to him by William the Conqueror as a reward for his support during the Norman conquests. There is, however, evidence of earlier occupation of the site and initially the castle was a wooden structure, but this was replaced with stone over time. The de Lacys lived in the castle until the start of the next century, when Robert de Lacy failed to support Henry I of England during his power struggle with his brother and confiscated the castle from the family. It was under the tenure of the de Lacys that the magnificent multilobate donjon was built.

During 1311 the castle became part of the estates of the House of Lancaster. Thomas, Earl of Lancaster (1278–1322) was beheaded outside the castle walls six days after his defeat at the Battle of Boroughbridge, a sentence placed on him by the King himself. This resulted in the earl becoming a martyr with his tomb at Pontefract Priory becoming a shrine. Later John of Gaunt, a son of Edward III of England, was so fond of the castle that he made it his own, spending vast amounts of money improving it. Richard II of England (1367–1399) was also reputedly murdered in Pontefract Castle, possibly in the Gascoigne Tower.
The castle has been a ruin since 1644 when it held as a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War and besieged at least three times by Parliamentarian; the last of which was responsible for the castle's present dilapidated state and many of its scars. Apparently this last raid had the full support of the surrounding population, who were grateful to destroy the castle and thus stop the fighting in their area. It is still possible to visit the castle's 11th century cellars which were used to store military equipment during the civil war "the magazine", much paranormal activity happens in this area, including footfalls.

The most remarkable feature of the current site is the remains of the donjon. Very few examples of this multilobed type exist. One is Clifford's Tower in nearby York. An identical example to York can be found at √Čtampes, France.
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