The history of the city dates all the way back to prehistoric times where primitive tools made of stone, bronze, and later on, iron, were found at Lee Moor and Lupet within Wakefield. Occupation of the city during this era transferred from the Romans, the Angles, and the Vikings. Once the Norman conquest of England was underway, Wakefield was laid to waste by William the Conqueror, with the settlement described as such in the Doomsday Book of 1086.
In the Medieval Age, Wakefield gained a reputation for being a lively market town with local folks enjoying great feasts, games, and sports, earning the nickname the Merrie City. It also developed into an inland port where wool and leather products were bought and sold as key elements of the town’s economy. During the Industrial Revolution, corn, grain, glass, soap, and bricks rounded out Wakefield’s trade alongside its thriving coal mining industry.
Modern-day Wakefield maintains its manufacturing sector as an important contributor to its economy, but the distribution and service industries have taken a bigger role in employment. Retail developments such as the Trinity Walk and the Ridings Shopping Centre bolster businesses in the area, while important cultural landmarks such as the Wakefield Cathedral, the old Wakefield Bridge, and St John’s Church stand steadfast as the city’s reminders of its storied history.