• 1528-05-16

    In May 1528, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Somerset and Richmond, and illegitimate son of Henry VIII, was staying at Pontefract Castle when outbreaks of sweating sickness were recorded in the town. William Parr wrote to Thomas Wolsey, Lord High Chancellor, that Henry was in good health but ‘there bee six persons lately disseassed within the lordship of Pountfrete…and that many young children bee sicke of the pokes nere thereabouts.’. Henry was moved to Ledestone, a house belonging to the Prior of Pontefract, three miles from the castle. The place was Ledston Hall or the manor that stood on the present site of the later hall.

  • 1527-12-15

    In December 1527, the Earl of Northumberland wrote to Thomas Wolsey, Lord High Chancellor, after visiting Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Somerset and Richmond, and illegitimate son of Henry VIII, at Pontefract Castle that ‘he was well received that his dulled wit cannot disclose how much he was gratified with the Duke’s good qualities.’

  • 1527-02-11

    On 11th February 1527, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Somerset and Richmond, and illegitimate son of Henry VIII, wrote to King James V of Scotland from Pontefract Castle. Henry and James were cousins (James being the son of Henry VIII’s elder sister, Margaret) with James having inherited the throne at the age of seventeen months after the death of his father at Flodden Field. Henry believed James wanted ‘three or four couple of hounds for hunting the fox’ and sent him ‘ten couple that he has tried’ plus Nicholas Eton, Henry’s yeoman of the hunt, who was to remain in Scotland a month ‘to show the mode of hunting’. James thanked his cousin ‘for his honest present’ sending Henry ‘two brace of hounds for deer and smaller beasts…..and some of the best red hawks in the realm’ for hawking.’

  • 1526-12-25

    On 25th December 1526, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Somerset and Richmond, and illegitimate son of Henry VIII, was with his household at Pontefract Castle. The Council informed Thomas Wolsey, Lord High Chancellor, that henry had ‘kept a right honourable Christmas…..with numbers of worshipful persons have come to visit him.’

  • 1570-12-16

    On 16th December 1570, Francis Mallett, Dean of Lincoln, died at Normanton (6 miles from Pontefract). During Edward VI’s reign, Mallett was principal chaplain and almoner of Princess Mary (from 1544), the future Mary I. To take this position, he had left the employment of Queen Consort, Katherine Parr. He had also been chaplain to Thomas Cranmer in the mid-1530s and to Thomas Cromwell in 1538. He had been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge in 1536 and 1540 and was appointed to the seventh stall in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in 1543, holding it until 1570. Mallett was imprisoned in the Tower of London for celebrating Mass for Mary at Beaulieu in May 1551. Mary, as queen, made him Dean of Lincoln in 1554 and also Lord High Almoner.

  • 1550-12-22

    On 22nd December 1550, Richard of Eastwell, possible illegitimate son of Richard III (or Duke of Gloucester at the child’s conception) and half-brother of Richard’s other known illegitimate children, John of Pontefract, and Katherine Plantagenet, was buried at St Mary’s Church, Eastwell in Kent. Parish records note: ‘Rychard Plantagenet was buryed on the 22. daye of December, anno ut supra. Ex registro de Eastwell, sub anno 1550.’ Eastwell was said to have been boarded with a schoolmaster when growing up and visited four times a year by an unknown gentleman who paid for his upkeep. He claimed that on the evening before the Battle of Bosworth he had been taken to Richard III’s tent, informed that he was the king’s son and told to watch the battle from a safe vantage point. The king then told the boy that, if he won, he would acknowledge him as his son. If he lost, he told the boy to conceal his identity permanently. Eastwell was employed by Sir Thomas Moyle, the lord of the manor at Eastwell, as a gardener and bricklayer; in the rest hour, whilst the other workers talked and threw dice, he would sit apart and read a book in Latin. He was given a house on the grounds, a building called “Plantagenet Cottage” which still stands on the site and a well in Eastwell Park still bears his name.

  • 1526-02-08

    On 8th February 1526, Dr Magnus wrote to Cardinal Wolsey from Pontefract saying that a servant of James V of Scotland had recently arrived there bringing a letter from his master, another from the queen dowager, the king’s mother  ‘conteynnyng boothe onn effecte and purpose That I wolde doo so myche as to send to the said kyngges grace three or foure couple of houndes mete for hunting of the haire fox and other gretter game and also a couple of lyam hounds being suche as wolde ride behynde men on horseback’

  • 1588-04-15

    On 15th April 1588, the Earl of Huntingdon, Lord-President of the North, wrote to the Justices of the Peace of the West Riding assembled at Pontefract regarding the expected Spanish invasion, requesting the provision of arms and erection of beacons.

  • 1529-07-19

    On 19th July 1529, the ‘Beverley Sanctuary Register’ noted that Richard Dawson of Pontefract, a minstrel from the county of York, sought the liberty and protection of St John of Beverley for the murder of Brian Routch, lately of Skipton, also a minstrel.

  • 1587-03-15

    On 15th March 1587, Thomas Austwick was baptized at Pontefract. He was Mayor of Pontefract in 1621 and 1640 and was one of the volunteer defenders of the castle during its sieges. He died in March 1648. His son, Alan, was a lieutenant of horse for Charles I and one of the persons excepted for life at the surrender of the castle.