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The Hermitage

A Grade I Listed Building in Pontefract, Wakefield

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Latitude: 53.6906 / 53°41'26"N

Longitude: -1.3099 / 1°18'35"W

OS Eastings: 445667

OS Northings: 421793

OS Grid: SE456217

Mapcode National: GBR MT9R.6R

Mapcode Global: WHDC6.VHDK

Entry Name: The Hermitage

Listing Date: 15 November 1988

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1135427

English Heritage Legacy ID: 342700

Location: Wakefield, WF8

County: Wakefield

Electoral Ward/Division: Pontefract North

Built-Up Area: Pontefract

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Pontefract St Giles with St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Leeds

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Listing Text

SE 4521 NE
(south side)
8/61 The Hermitage


Hermitage. 1386. By Adam de Laythorpe and his son Robert. Hewn out of carbon-
iferous sandstone. Situated below ground under what is now Pontefract General
Infirmary. There are two chambers, side by side but on different levels, out
of the lower one leads a short passage to a spiral staircase descending vertically
to a well. The chamber to the west, known as the Oratory is thought to be the
later of the two, and contains a fireplace with a rock-hewn flue, with a low
stool next to it, a bench, and a bed shelf. In the centre is a large C19 brick
pier. Access is through a pointed-arched doorway, probably reused in C19 from
the nearby site of the Priory of St Richard, founded in 1256. The eastern chamber
is entered by an original basket-arched doorway, rebated for a door and bolt-holes.
From it a barrel-vaulted passage leads to the staircase of 72 steps, with clearly-
marked pick/hammer chisel marks. There are four candle niches. Near the bottom
is a bas relief figure of Death, a skeleton with prominent rib-cage and fore-
shortened legs, carrying a spear. (There is a third chamber, no longer visible,
said to have the letters "DITIS" carved on the lintel). At the bottom is'a basin
filled with water, this being the water-table. Outside the doorway are late
C15 window heads, probably from the Priory Church of St Richard. In front of
the Hermitage are 3 C19 Tudor-arched brick doorways. The security devices
protecting the well are thought to have been intended to prevent the holy water
being taken for withcraft. Pontefract is known to have had a hermit in the early
C13, and the tradition seems to have continued for about three centuries.

Listing NGR: SE4566721793

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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