Wakefield Civic Society unveiled its latest blue plaque on 7th March 2013 to commemorate the life of Miss Richmal Mangnall (1769-1820).
Miss Mangnall was a pupil at Crofton Hall School, which was then a private boarding school for young ladies. She stayed on at the school as a teacher and took over the school in 1798 as owner and headmistress when the head teacher at the time retired. The school established a good reputation and was later attended by some of the Bronte sisters.
Miss Mangnall wrote a book called "Historical and Miscellaneous Questions for the use of Young People" which was published in 1798 and was intended to stimulate the curiosity of
pupils and make them want to find out more. The book was so successful that in 1800 Miss Mangnall produced a much larger and longer version. This was soon the most popular book of its kind in the country, being a best-seller throughout the 19th century.
Miss Mangnall died on May Day 1820 and is buried in Crofton Churchyard. There is also a plaque on the outer wall of the Church with the inscription "Sacred to the memory of Richmal Mangnall, who departed this life, May Day, 1820".
The Society’s new blue plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of Wakefield, Councillor Elaine Blezard, on Thursday, 7th March at 11.00 am at Crofton Young People’s Centre, High Street, Crofton. The plaque has been paid for by Crofton History Group with additional donations from Constable’s and Pinder’s Charity, Crofton Smoke Signal, and Crofton Parish
This site for the plaque was chosen as it is the original site of the schoolroom where Mangnall taught. The schoolroom was demolished in 2004.
Society president Kevin Trickett said “This is another fascinating piece of our local history that we are delighted to commemorate with our latest blue plaque – our 35th to date – and
we are very grateful to Crofton History Group not only for drawing it to our attention but also arranging donations to cover the cost of the plaque from local groups including Crofton History Group itself. We have plans to take the total number of our blue plaques up to 50 by the end of 2014 (our 50th anniversary year) and this new plaque is a step further towards our goal.”