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Wakefield

The meaning of «wakefield»

Wakefield is a cathedral city and the administrative centre of the City of Wakefield district in West Yorkshire, England. The city is on the River Calder at the eastern edge of the Pennines. In the 18th century, Wakefield traded in corn, coal mining and textiles.

In 1888 its parish church acquired cathedral status. It was the county town of the West Riding of Yorkshire and was the seat of the West Riding County Council from 1889 until 1974 when the county and council were abolished. West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council's headquarters were in County Hall from 1974 until its dissolution in 1986.

The Battle of Wakefield took place in the Wars of the Roses, and the city was a Royalist stronghold in the Civil War. Wakefield became an important market town and centre for wool, exploiting its position on the navigable River Calder to become an inland port.

The city had a population of 99,251 in the 2011 census.[1] It is part of the West Yorkshire Built-up Area and the Yorkshire and The Humber region. The district borough, governed from the city, had a mid-2019 est. population of 348,312, the 21st most populous district in England.

The name "Wakefield" may derive from "Waca's field" – the open land belonging to someone named "Waca" or could have evolved from the Old English word wacu, meaning "a watch or wake", and feld, an open field in which a wake or festival was held.[2][3] In the Domesday Book of 1086, it was written Wachefeld and also as Wachefelt.

Flint and stone tools and later bronze and iron implements have been found at Lee Moor and Lupset in the Wakefield area showing evidence of human activity since prehistoric times.[4] This part of Yorkshire was home to the Brigantes until the Roman occupation in AD 43. A Roman road from Pontefract passing Streethouse, Heath Common, Ossett Street Side, through Kirklees and on to Manchester crossed the River Calder by a ford at Wakefield near the site of Wakefield Bridge.[5] A large group of coin moulds, the Lingwell Gate coin moulds, representing Romano-British coin forgery were found at Lingwell Gate between 1697 and 1879.[6] Wakefield was probably occupied again this time by the Angles in the 5th or 6th century and after AD 876 the area was controlled by the Vikings who founded twelve hamlets or thorpes around Wakefield.[nb 1] They divided the area into wapentakes and Wakefield was part of the Wapentake of Agbrigg. The settlement grew near a crossing place on the River Calder around three roads, Westgate, Northgate and Kirkgate.[8] The "gate" suffix derives from Old Norse gata meaning road[9] and kirk, from kirkja indicates there was a church.[10]

Before 1066 the manor of Wakefield belonged to Edward the Confessor and it passed to William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings.[11] After the Conquest Wakefield was a victim of the Harrying of the North in 1069 when William the Conqueror took revenge on the local population for resistance to Norman rule. The settlement was recorded as Wachfeld in the Domesday Book of 1086, and covered a much greater area than present day Wakefield, much of which was described as "waste".[12] The manor was granted by the crown to William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey whose descendants, the Earls Warenne, inherited it after his death in 1088.[13] The construction of Sandal Castle began early in the 12th century.[14] A second castle, Wakefield Castle, was built at Lawe Hill on the north side of the Calder but was abandoned.[15] Wakefield and its environs formed the caput of an extensive baronial holding by the Warennes that extended to Cheshire and Lancashire. The Warennes, and their feudal sublords, held the area until the 14th century, when it passed to their heirs.[16] Norman tenants holding land in the region included the Lyvet family at Lupset.[17]

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