Wakefield is an industrial city in on the River Calder, south of Leeds.

It was a city of some importance in the Middle Ages, when it was dubbed "the Merrie City". The Wakefield Cycle, a collection of 32 mystery plays, which date from the 14th century and were performed as part of the summertime religious festival of Corpus Christi, have recently been revived.

Wakefield Cathedral, dating from the 14th century dominates the centre of the City with its 247 feet crocketed spire (the tallest in Yorkshire). There are magnificent wood carvings throughout the building and a comprehensive collection of stained glass windows by Charles Kempe.

Standing on Wakefield's medieval bridge, is The Chantry Chapel of St Mary, a rare survival from the Middle Ages (one of only four in England). The stone bridge on which the chapel stands was built circa 1340.

The Hepworth Wakefield contains works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth along with a fine array of classic and contemporary art.

The Hepworth Wakefield, is a new gallery on Wakefield's historic waterfront, which will replace the current Art Gallery. It will feature the unique collection of Barbara Hepworth's original plaster sculptures, Wakefield's art collections and a range of creative activities.

Wakefield is known as the capital of the Rhubarb Triangle - an area of West Yorkshire farms bordered by Wakefield, Leeds and Bradford - that is renowned for its early forced rhubarb. A statue was erected in July 2005 to celebrate this facet of Wakefield, and it is also commemorated in the annual Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink & Rhubarb.

OS grid reference SE 335 205


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Local attractions

Attractions in the area include: Nostell Priory, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The National Coal Mining Museum

Read on

Books about Wakefield

Born in Wakefield

Barbara Hepworth, one of the most significant sculptors and artists of the 20th century, was born in Wakefield on 10 January 1903.

Useful and informative links

’Twixt Aire and Calder
Using photographs, maps, memorabilia, prints, and eventually sound and video from the collections of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council (WMDC) Libraries and Information Services, local groups and individuals, this online archive of images of Wakefield and District and related areas shows the diversity of life in the area both past and present.
Wakefield Express
Wakefield photographs from Geograph
Wikipedia article on Wakefield

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