Pontefract Castle – 11th Century

DateEvent
1/8/1086Around August 1086 in the Domesday Book of that year, Tanshelf or Tatessella (along with Kirkby representing modern day Pontefract) was recorded as having a priest, 60 petty burgesses, 16 cottagers, 16 villagers and 8 smallholders, a church, a fishery and three mills. Its nominal population of 101, recording only landholders, was probably four to five times larger when family members were included.
14/10/1066On 14th October 1066, at the Battle of Hastings, Ilbert de Lacy fought alongside William the Conqueror. Ilbert was later granted lands by King William (under the overlordship of Bishop Odo of Bayeux, half-brother of William), for his part in the conquest. When Odo was banished from England by William II in 1088, Ilbert held his lands in Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey as tenant-in-chief, direct of the king. The castle he built at Pontefract was enclosed in a park 8 miles in circumference. After the conquest, Ilbert received over 150 manors in the west of Yorkshire including; Penistone, Thurlstone, Denby, Scissett, Skelmanthorpe, Clayton, Cawthorne, Silkstone, Chevet, Crofton, Snydale, Whitwood, Heath, Altofts, Newlands, Carlton, Methley, East Ardsley, Lofthouse, Middleton, Morley, Batley, Southowram, Elland, Greetland, Heckmondwike, Mirfield, Nether Midgley, Over Midgley, Middleton, Thornhill, Kirkheaton, Highburton [Birton], Deighton, Fixby, Bradley, Huddersfield, Almondbury, Honley and Thong and 10 in Nottinghamshire and 4 in Lincolnshire.
15/11/1069In mid-November 1069, William I arrived at the ‘broken bridge’ (Ponte-fract) crossing the River Aire in Yorkshire. William was facing numerous uprisings across the country – including York where 3000 Normans were killed by the Danes, Dorset/Somerset, Exeter, Shrewsbury, Stafford - and reached York in early December to find that the Danes had fled having no intention to meet William in open battle. This was William’s third visit to the north in eighteen months! His strategy of ‘buying off’ the Danes and scorched-earth destruction of homes, herds, chattels, food and crops and slaying of people (‘Harrying of the North’) to ensure that no future army could take arms against him, resulted in over 100,000 deaths through famine.