Pontefract is one of the five towns in the borough of Wakefield and has a population of approximately 30,000.
In the Middle Ages, Pontefract Castle was one of the most important fortresses in the country. It became a royal castle in 1399, upon the accession to the throne of Henry Bolinbroke to the throne. Richard II, whom he had deposed, was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle and died there in 1400.
Pontefract has been a market town since the Middle Ages and its deep sandy soil makes it one of the few places in Britain where liquorice can be grown successfully. The town has a liquorice-sweet industry and the famous Pontefract Cakes are still produced, though the liquorice plant itself is no longer grown there. A Liquorice Festival is held each year. Sir John Betjeman wrote a poem entitled The Liquorice Fields at Pontefract.OS grid reference SE 455 215
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