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Wakefield Then & Now (Paperback)

Extraordinary Tales from the Merrie City

Local History

By Michael J. Rochford
Imprint: Pen & Sword Local
Pages: 189
ISBN: 9781473858480
Published: 26th September 2016

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The escaping bear who’d had enough of being a Victorian showpiece; tragedy narrowly averted over the skies of Wakefield when an aeronaut lost control of his balloon in 1827; secret passages and hidden relics; and dark tales of determined apparitions and boggarts are among many enchanting stories told within the pages of Wakefield Then & Now: Extraordinary Tales from the Merrie City.
In this fascinating book about his home city, Michael J. Rochford has gathered dozens of intriguing accounts from the annals of Wakefield folklore, presenting a quirky and insightful historical tour. Captivating images from times long forgotten in the form of early photographs, topographical drawings and romanticized paintings bring the stories to life before your eyes, as modern photographs contrast how things were with how the proud city appears today.
So, take a step into the past and journey through Wakefield, learning about Robert Hood and his wife Matilda; the town’s beloved Cliff Tree; prison breaks; medieval houses; a burning school; Westgate’s long-lost burial ground; shocking floods and tumultuous riots; Victorian winter fairs and Christmas traditions; the butcher’s doorstop that turned out to be a Saxon cross, and much more …

A different Pen and Sword series, "then and now", this one centering on Wakefield, and providing some terrific local colour and interest for people from the area. Brilliant.

Books Monthly, November 2016 – reviewed by Paul Norman

Escaped bears, out-of-control hot air balloons and tales of secret passages - this book has it all. Rochford's enthusiasm for his home city is evident in this book which combines folklore and lively stories with fascinating historical detail.

Wakefield Then & Now paints an intriguing picture of changing cityscape that you'll want to explore too.

WDYTYA? Magazine November 2016
 Michael J. Rochford

About Michael J. Rochford

Michael J. Rochford holds a BA (Hons) and a Master’s degree through the University of Leeds, having studied at Bretton Hall campus in the heart of the Wakefield countryside. He was born at the old Manygates Maternity Hospital and married at Wakefield Cathedral, having worked at ‘Prophet Wroe’s’ Wrenthorpe Mansion, Melbourne House. Michael runs a history research company, Heir Line Ltd (www.heir-line.co.uk), with his wife Caroline, and has edited several published titles on Victorian and military history. He is also a member of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society.