Today we gave a talk to twenty-one people at the castle on one of Pontefract’s key barons, John de Lacy, who was instrumental in the sealing of, and adherence to, Magna Carta in 1215. John had a varied life, amongst other things serving two kings at both home and abroad, was excommunicated by the Pope, and went on crusade for two years. He died in 1240 at the relatively ’old’ age, for the time, of forty-eight.
Please stay tuned for details of our next talk in September on Heritage Open Days, most likely on Richard II and John of Gaunt.
On Saturday 11th June, we will be delivering a free talk on ‘John de Lacy – Life and Times’ at 2.00pm in the Visitor Centre at Pontefract Castle. This is an opportunity to learn more about the man in general and his contribution to the development and aftermath of one of history’s most iconic legal documents, Magna Carta. We look forward to seeing you there.
We attended a fascinating talk given by Chris Berendt of the Towton Battlefield Society yesterday on ‘How Many Men Fought at Towton’. Chris argued very persuasively that both the number of participants and deaths on both the Yorkist and Lancastrian sides has been greatly exaggerated given the logistics of moving large medieval armies vast distances across the country. Chris argued that a Yorkist army of 10000 men leaving London on the 12th of March 1461, would have taken 15-16 days to arrive on the battlefield, and therefore it is hard to visualise their army being much greater than these numbers. The Lancastrians may have had a few thousand more, but you cannot see any way in which the oft quoted figures of 80000-100000 combatants and 28000 deaths being anything more than a exaggeration by the chroniclers.
On Saturday 11th June, we will be delivering a talk on ‘John de Lacy – Life and Times’ at 2.00pm in the Visitor Centre at Pontefract Castle. This is an opportunity to learn more about the man in general and his contribution to the development and aftermath of one of history’s most iconic legal documents, Magna Carta. Booking for this event is essential and can be made through Eventbrite here; https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/volunteer-talk-john-de-lacy-life-times-11th-june-2022-200pm-tickets-348641063807?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
We have today delivered our first individual/small group tour on the history of Pontefract Castle and some of the key events that happened there throughout the Medieval period, including John de Lacy & Magna Carta, Thomas of Lancaster, War of the Roses and Richard II. If you would like to join us on one of these tours/talks, please get in touch via the ‘Contact Us’ button on the front page of this website.
On the 9th May we attended a fascinating talk given by historian Matthew Lewis at the Towton Battlefield Society meeting on ‘King Henry III – Son of Magna Carta”. The talk gave a brilliant insight into the life of this oft forgotten king who reigned for fifty-six years, the longest period of any English Medieval king, and who in Matthew’s words provided a ‘bridge between the chaos of the reign of his father, King John, and the order of his son who followed, King Edward I.
Thanks to historian and author Sharon Bennett Connolly for meeting with us today and giving us a highly informative tour of Conisbrough Castle – home of the De Warenne’s who also built and owned Sandal Castle. Sharon is working on a new book on Nichola de la Haye who held Lincoln Castle for six weeks against the French in May 1217 until aided by William Marshall which ultimately led to the French defeat. Sharon will hopefully have another new book out in the next few months on ‘The Anarchy” of King Stephen’s reign, and we would heartily recommend getting hold of a copy when published.
On the 26th April we will once again be meeting with historian and author Sharon Bennett Connolly at Conisbrough Castle. Sharon recently published a book on the De Warenne’s – Earls of Surrey and owners of Sandal Castle – and is now working on a new biography of Nichola de la Haye, who held Lincoln Castle against the French in 2017.
Following our highly successful 700th anniversary commemoration of the execution of Thomas of Lancaster, we are pleased to say that a synopsis of the tour is now available on this website. Please click on the ‘Talks and Tours’ link on the right of this page under Media Galleries. We are delighted to say that we are now working on a follow-up tour which will cover the ‘Life and Times of John De Lacy’, Baron of Pontefract and one of the lead protagonists in enacting Magna Carta in 1215. Watch this space for further information including date and times.
We are delighted to announce that from the 19th March 2022, we are now in a position to offer free, individual or small group tours at either Pontefract or Sandal Castles. These tours can be personalised to cover either a general history of either site or a more specific tour covering such events as the Battle of Wakefield or Thomas of Lancaster. To request any such tour please contact us through the ‘Contact Us’ button situated on the ‘Welcome’ page of this site and we will come back to you as soon as possible.