On 23rd July 1215 King John wrote a strongly-worded letter, from a council at Oxford, to the men of Yorkshire, covering all ranks (and by implication John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract), to hand back possessions they had seized from the king, by the 15th August; the same date that London was to be returned to the king. On the 16th July, at Oxford King John had demanded the restoration of his treasure from London plus the formal restoration of peace. The barons had sought to extend their power over institutions such as the Exchequer in addition to presenting further claims for restoration of lands from the king and intervening in the appointment of local officials to secure favourable terms. Unsurprisingly the council ended abruptly with the Barons leaving “with great rancour”.
On 9th July 1297, Edward I ordered the tenants of Thomas of Lancaster’s (Earl of Lancaster and future lord of Pontefract) late father, Edmund, to do homage to Thomas, albeit he was underage, probably nineteen.
In May 1293, King Edward I asked his brother, Edmund, Earl of Lancaster (father of Thomas, future Earl) and Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and lord of Pontefract, to go to France to try to resolve diplomatic problems with the King of France, Philip IV. Quarrels between English and French sailors from Normandy had resulted in the former attacking La Rochelle and Philip’s letters to Edward were discourteous, failing to address him as King of England nor acknowledging him as Duke of Aquitaine.
Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and lord of Pontefract, was with Edmund of Lancaster visiting Gascony when he made his will on or around 25th January 1287 in Bordeaux, although it was later cancelled. In it he left £100 (£97,000 today) each to the poor scholars of Oxford and Cambridge and made reference to £1,000 (£970,000 today) he had deposited at Lincoln Cathedral in case his then five-years-old daughter, Alice, did not marry.
It is surmised that Edmund of Lancaster and Blanche of Artois’ eldest child, Thomas (later Earl of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract) was born on or around 29th December 1277, his name indicating a reference to Thomas Beckett’s murder on this date, one hundred and seven years before.
On 3rd October 1283, the ‘rebel’ Welsh lord Dafydd ap Gruffud, Prince of Wales, was hanged, drawn and quartered in Shrewsbury on the orders of Edward I: the first prominent person recorded to have been executed in this manner. Dafydd and his younger son, Owain ap Dafydd, had been captured on 22nd June and his other son, Llywelyn ap Dafydd, on the 28th of that month. On 15th July 1283, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, had been issued with letters patent to have custody of, and deliver, as hostage, Llywelyn to Richard de Boys. Both of Dafydd’s sons were imprisoned at Bristol Castle; Llywelyn dying in mysterious circumstances in 1287 or 1288 whilst his brother lived at least until August 1325.
On 31st December 1215, King John granted John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, conducts (effectively safe passage) to last a year from the following 2nd January; the very generous terms probably acknowledging de Lacy’s significance to the rebel cause. De Lacy was to surrender Pontefract to the king two days later after mediation by the Earl of Chester.
In early November 1237, John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, along with Simon de Montfort, on the authorisation of Henry III, acted as bodyguards to the papal legate, Otto of Tonengo, whilst he presided over the synod at St Paul’s, which adopted reforms in line with the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. Dissatisfied clerics were wary of their wealth being threatened.
On 20th January 1236, John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was in attendance at the coronation of Henry III’s Queen (Eleanor of Provence). It was at the coronation feast and court celebrations afterwards that John befriended and ‘sponsored’ Simon de Montfort.