• 1644-12-02

    On 2nd December 1644, Parliamentarian Lord Fairfax wrote that although he was being urged to put pressure on Newark, all his resources were being deployed to contain the garrisons of Pontefract and Knaresborough. It is noteworthy that four days later, the (Parliamentary) Committee of Both Kingdoms recommended the foundation of an army of 22,000 men under a central commander, comprising eleven regiments of horse, each 600 strong, one regiment of dragoons, 1,000 strong and twelve regiments of foot 1,200 strong. This was to be the New Model Army.

  • 1643-01-23

    On 23rd January 1643, the Marquess of Newcastle retreated from Pontefract when Parliamentarian Sir Thomas Fairfax threatened his lines of communication having already taken Leeds and Wakefield from Lord Savile.

  • 1642-12-07

    On 7th December 1642, the Marquess of Newcastle, having routed a Parliamentary force under Lord Fairfax at Tadcaster, occupied Pontefract.

  • 1644-03-02

    On 2nd March 1644, Ferdinando, 2nd Lord Fairfax of Cameron, a commander in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War and father to Thomas Fairfax (commander of the New Model Army) wrote to Hugh Lord Montgomery: ‘I hath pleased God to suffer the enemy to give my forces a verie great defeat at Pontefract. About three thousand horse and one thousand dragoons under the command of Sir Marmaduke Langdale and Sir Thomas Blackwell, came so verie fast upp, as that I could not get my forces from the several places they were to come from to resist them……..I am afraid wee have lost verie many foot…..I intreat your lordship to draw upp your regement…..and give notice to others which are neare you to draw theirs with all convenient speed towards Burrow Briggs, whether I shall rally and advise with your lordship what may best be done for annoying the enemy, and securing this city and the passage to Scarbrough.’

  • 1696-01-03

    On 3rd January 1696, the Calendar of State Papers of the Reign of William III recorded: ‘Proceedings upon the petition of Thomas Sayle, mayor of Pontefract, and Hastings Sayle, alderman of the same place. They show that they are prosecuted by the Attorney-General upon an information for altering an assessment on the said town for the quarterly poll, in the third year of the King’s reign, and pray for an order to the Attorney-General to enter a Nolle Prosequi (to be unwilling to pursue) upon the said information. Referred to the Attorney or Solicitor-General for his report.’

  • 1666-05-14

    In May 1666, controversial Archbishop of St Andrews, James Sharp, Primate of Scotland, stopped at Pontefract on his way to London from Edinburgh. His secretary, George Martin, recorded his travels in some detail stating the Edinburgh to Pontefract journey of 210 miles on horseback took six days with charges of £140 11s 4d (nearly £34,000 in today’s money). The Pontefract to London ‘leg’ of 185 miles by ‘coatch’ (sic) took five days at a cost of £179 7s (£43,000).

  • 1661-09-08

    On 8th September 1661, Ribchester Parish Church collected six shillings and eight pence (£64 in today’s money) for ‘the re-edifying of the Church of Pontefract…payd (sic) over to Mr Dayton, Vicar of Blackborne (sic)’

  • 1660-03-24

    On 24th March 1660, the Registers of North Luffenham, Rutland recorded: ‘Collected then at North Luffenham (Rutland) towards the building of ye Church at Pontefract Yorkeshire sume of fowreteene shillings (£144 in today’s money) and five Collector. Ri : Clerke’

  • 1682-02-26

    On 26th February 1682, physician, political theorist and antiquarian Nathaniel Johnston first met antiquarian Ralph Thoresby at Pontefract where Johnston had his medical practice.

  • 1687-04-12

    On 12th April 1687, Nathaniel Johnston M.D. was created a Fellow and admitted to the Royal College of Physicians by the charter of James II. Born in 1627, Johnston practised at Pontefract, but took up the antiquities and natural history of Yorkshire and was a political theorist and High Tory pamphleteer. He was a great friend and correspondent of antiquarian Ralph Thoresby whom he first met at Pontefract on 26th February 1682. Johnston died in 1705 and his property at and near Pontefract was sold by the Court of Chancery in 1707.