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History of Wakefield Cathedral - 10th Century

The Tenth Century.

In the forest which covered all the land between the Calder and Aire rivers, three roads met; there was a well, and a settlement and space for worship. The roads were Northgate, Westgate and Kirkgate which ran down to the old Roman Ford across the Calder. They formed a typical Saxon triangular market place with the church in the North East angle of the triangle. Little remains of that Saxon church save the shaft of the open air preaching cross that, in the tenth century, probably stood outside near the well. (A plaster cast of that cross can be found near Bishop Walsham How's effigy.) The Church was dedicated to All Hallows, and that name itself suggests that it was built on the spot where earlier pagan inhabitants had kept alive the memory of their ancestors at a shrine to their local gods. Excavations in 1974 revealed Saxon graves below the foundations of the Norman church, indicating that the Saxon church must have been quite small - its walls well inside the line of the pillars you see today.

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This page (cath10.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013