This Day in History: 1618-08-10

On 10th August 1618, Ben Jonson, poet and dramatist, visited Pontefract on his accompanied walk from London to Edinburgh. After feasting on venison with the Pontefract Aldermen, on walking back to his lodgings, he was mobbed by ‘dancing giants’ (this may have been arranged to welcome Johnson though it may just have been that his arrival coincided with feast day of St Lawrence) . Processional giants, built on wicker frames and covered with cloth were sometimes carried in medieval English towns and cities in midsummer festivities and often represented religious figures. It is suggested that these giants were stored at the castle. Over four hundred years later, in September 2021, artists Matthew Rosier and James Bulley created the Pontefract Giants’ immersive experience’ at the castle exploring the history of the site.