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Wakefield (city, England)

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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Wakefield, diocese of

Wakefield, diocese of. The see, comprising parts of south Yorkshire, was created in 1888 to cope with the rapidly rising population. It did not, however, include Sheffield, which remained fiercely independent. Like the other new sees of Southwell, St Albans, and redrawn Rochester, created at the same time, it was not a natural unit, but this was no obstacle to the first bishop, William Walsham How (1888–97), who powerfully welded the diocese together, after a remarkable spell as suffragan bishop in east London (1879–88). The cathedral is the former All Saints' parish church, dating mostly from 14th cent. with a 15th-cent. west tower and a 20th-cent. east end by Gilbert Scott.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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