Civil War event at Pontefract Castle

28/05/2019, PR-9061

​A range of Civil War inspired activities is to take place at Pontefract Castle on Saturday June 1 and Sunday June 2.

Pontefract Castle Civil War event
Pontefract Castle Civil War event

​People will have the chance to visit the dungeons, learn about a siege that took place in the town 375 years ago, watch a battle re-enactment and even see a blacksmith making armour using techniques from the period.

There will also be a chance for people to test how they'd have managed to scale the walls of a besieged castle – by having a go at scaling a climbing wall and they can visit craft demonstrations,  and try striking a siege coin.*


The event, from 11am - 4pm, is free to enter and everyone is welcome to attend.


Part of the day will include the chance to watch re-enactors, the Earl of Manchester's Regiment of Foote, showing how a besieged castle was defended from attack, using cannons, musket fire, and sword play.


Cllr Jacquie Speight, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Wakefield Council, said: "Come and enjoy learning more about the Civil War, have fun and find out more about an important part of our district's history.


"It's great day out, with most of the conservation work at the castle completed which reveals more of its history at the time of the Civil Wars."


The £4.5m Key to the North project has seen repairs to the remains of the castle revealing more of its hidden history, and making it more accessible to visitors, including the Sally Port, a gateway previously hidden from view for 370 years.


David Frederick, commanding officer of the Earl of Manchester's Regiment of Foote , which is staging the battle, said: "Pontefract was one of the most steadfast bastions during the English Civil War, enduring three sieges and only surrendering when the cause was lost. It's a privilege and an honour to be asked to bring such an important part of Pontefract's history to life!"




*A small charge applies.


Notes for editors:

Pontefract Castle was built in the 11th century and is believed to be where King Richard II was imprisoned and murdered.

The castle has been a ruin since 1649 when it was held as a royalist stronghold during the English Civil War and besieged by parliamentarian forces. 

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) contributed £3.04million to the Key to the North project, Historic England more than £600K, with additional funding from Wakefield Council, the Wolfson Foundation and landfill charity, EpaC.

During the English Civil Wars, Pontefract Castle was besieged three times.


In the first English Civil War (1642-46) Pontefract Castle was held by the forces of King Charles and was under siege for four months from December 1644. The garrison continually confounded the parliamentarian besiegers and even had the run of large parts of the town, sending cart-loads of dead and wounded back to Leeds and Wakefield. The siege was relieved in March 1645, but the parliamentarians quickly returned and the garrison surrendered in July after hearing the news of Charles I's defeat at the Battle of Naseby in July 1645.

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