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Pontefract (pŏnˈtĭfrăkt, pŭmˈfrĭt) [key], town (1991 pop. 28,621), Wakefield metropolitan district, N England. It is an industrial city; furniture, iron products, and textiles are made. Pomfret cakes are licorice lozenges made there. West of Pontefract is a racecourse. Situated on the edge of coal fields, Pontefract grew around a castle built in the 11th cent. on the site of a Saxon fort. It was the scene of the death of Richard II, was taken in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, and was besieged four times in the civil wars.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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