Wakefield, city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 74,764), N central England, on the Calder River. Wakefield has been a center of the cloth industry from the 14th cent. Other manufactures include wools and synthetics, chemicals, machine tools, mining machinery, engineering, soft drinks, and beer. The city is also a railroad junction and farm center, with an important cattle market.

The site was occupied by the Danes and Saxons; Richard, duke of York, was defeated and slain in the battle of Wakefield in 1460. The Towneley Plays (see miracle play ) originated there. Notable buildings are All Saints' Church (mainly 15th cent.), the chantry chapel on the bridge over the Calder (c.1350; restored 1847), and the grammar school (1591). A technical college is also in Wakefield.

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