This Day in History: 1649-04-04

Pontefract Castle KeepOn 4th April 1649, days after the surrender of the castle, Parliament issued an order for the castle’s immediate demolition. John Harrison was paid £80 (over £14,000 in today’s money) to demolish the Round Tower and £34 (£6,000) for demolishing the two skreens from the Gate House to the Round Tower, and thence to the Treasurer Tower. Other payments included: Thomas Thurston £10 (£1800 now) for levelling Neville’s Mount; Thomas Tayler £35 2s 6d (£6300) for taking down the timber in the Constable Tower and the Chapel; Simon Procter £104 5s 6d (£18700) for demolishing The King’s and Queen’s Towers, Edward Harrison thirty shillings (£270) for taking down a screen; George Rennard ten shillings (£90) for pulling crooks out of the walls. The selling of the various materials (lead, wood, iron, glass etc) raised £1779 17s 4d (£320,000) out of which the commissioners paid a total for the demolition of the castle of £777, 4 shilling, 6 pence (nearly £140,000 in today’s money). The commissioners handed over £1000 (£180,000) to the Mayor and Corporation for the purposes specified in the petition: St Giles’s Church was repaired and refurbished with a new vicarage and the Government received a balance of £2 12s 10d (£467). Unfortunately for All Saints’ Church, damaged during the sieges of the castle and most probably ‘the place of public worship’ mentioned in the town’s petition, no monies were forthcoming from this process.