Pontefract Castle – April

DateEvent
6/4/1199Richard the LionheartOn 6th April 1199, King Richard I, the Lionheart, died. During his 10 years’ reign, he stayed only briefly in England. He is more famously known for fighting in both European wars and Crusades to Palestine. Baron Roger De Lacy of Pontefract Castle was one of his military leaders.
21/4/1194On 21st April 1194, Roger de Lacy, Constable of Chester, legally acquired the lands of Robert de Lacy, viz the honours of Pontefract and Clitheroe, by virtue of an agreement with his grandmother, Albreda (Aubrey) de Lisours.
DateEvent
1/4/1291In April 1291, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was issued with a writ, along with other court nobles and their forces, to meet at Norham where a Scottish delegation was to discuss Scotland’s succession in light of the death, the year before, of Margaret of Norway (the only surviving descendant of King Alexander III of Scotland).
3/4/1253On 3rd April 1253, Edmund de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, and Lord of the Honour of Pontefract, determined to establish a house of Friars Preachers on his own estates after the death of Richard Wych, Bishop of Chichester. Edmund donated land (about 6 acres), probably in 1256, for the building of a Dominican church of Pontefract and left his heart to be buried there (dying in 1258).
5/4/1272On 5th April 1272, Henry de Lacy, future lord of Pontefract, was granted custody of Knaresborough Castle, formerly held by Henry III’s brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall.  
15/4/1296In April 1296, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, founded Whalley Abbey, Lancashire to which his great-grandfather’s foundation of Stanlaw, Cheshire was transferred.
27/4/1279On 27th April 1279, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was appointed as Joint-Lieutenant (locum tenentibus) of England i.e. king’s regent/deputy during King Edward I’s absence in France. This status was in alliance with the Bishops of Hereford and Worcester and the king’s cousin, Edmund, 2nd Earl of Cornwall. Edward departed for France on 11th May in order to take possession of Queen Eleanor’s recently inherited county of Ponthieu and to conclude a treaty with Philip III regarding Edward’s jurisdiction in Gascony.
30/4/1230On 30th April 1230, John de Lacy, Baron of Pontefract, sailed out of Portsmouth with Henry III to secure most of Brittany and Poitou, areas held before 1224. De lacy received the manors of Collingham and Bardesy as reward for this service.
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1/4/1370In April 1370, Edward III ordered John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, to take an army to Gascony to reinforce Prince Edward. He arrived in Gascony at the end of July and met up with his brother. Prince Edward was unfortunately very ill and after the successful siege of Limoges, Edward returned to Bordeaux and learned that his son and heir, Edward of Angouleme, had died. As Edward returned to England with his wife and remaining son, Richard of Bordeaux (later Richard II), Gaunt was left with the task of administering the remains of the principality and organising the funeral of Edward’s son.  
10/4/1308deLacy ArmsWhen a parliament met in April 1308, a group of magnates led by Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and lord of Pontefract, produced a series of three articles of shattering constitutional importance. 'Homage and the oath of allegiance are more in respect of the crown than in respect of the King's person' they declared; drawing, for the first time, an explicit distinction between the king and the office he held.
10/4/1362On 10th April 1362, John of Gaunt inherited the remainder of the Lancaster estate when his wife’s elder sister, Maud, died without issue. This meant that John now had a greater income and inheritance than his elder brother Lionel. Soon after inheriting the duchy, rumours circulated that he had poisoned his sister-in-law.
21/4/1317Royal envoys visited Thomas of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, at Donington between 21st April and 2nd May 1317, and again between 29th May and 12th June 1317.7 It may have been the latter embassy which delivered a writ of summons to the Earl to be at Newcastle on 8th July 1317 for a new campaign; this summons, intended as a final test of the Earl’s loyalty?
23/4/1344On 23rd April 1344,  according to The Complete Peerage, under 'the Founders of the Order of the Garter'  the Order was first instituted (other dates from 1344 to 1351 have been proposed). Henry of Grosmont, first Duke of Lancaster, who was the nephew of Thomas 2nd Earl of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, was the second inductee to this order. After Thomas' execution in 1322, the Honour of Pontefract was eventually restored to Thomas's brother Henry, the father of Henry Grosmont.
23/4/1358On St. George’s Day 1358, a great tournament was held at Windsor in celebration of the English victory at Poitiers and capture of the French king. Unfortunately for Henry, Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, he was severely wounded whilst jousting with a knight.
23/4/1377On 23rd April 1377, Edward III nominated the heirs to the kingdom for the Order of the Garter: his grandson Richard of Bordeaux (later Richard II) and Henry of Bolingbroke (later Henry IV and son and heir of John of Gaunt who had made Pontefract Castle his personal residence). In addition, Edward also knighted his youngest son, Thomas of Woodstock and the young heirs to the earldoms of Oxford, Salisbury, and Stafford and the heirs to the baronies of Mowbray, Beaumont and Percy concluding with knighting his own illegitimate son, John Southeray (by Edward’s mistress Alice Perrers).
28/4/1308On 28th April 1308, the nobility met with Edward II at a convening of parliament. The feeling amongst the lords of the realm had been growing for a while, that Edward II could not meet and govern the needs of the realm. Earlier in the month, the earls had met at Henry de Lacy’s castle at Pontefract to discuss their next steps. The only real supporter of influence for Edward in the country was Thomas of Lancaster. The earls met to draw up a document that was presented to Edward at the parliament of 28th April. Henry de Lacy - who was now 58 and had been the right hand man of Edward I - was a moderating influence of the final document that was drawn up. However on this date, Henry would confront the king on behalf of the peers stating ‘Homage and oath of allegiance are more in respect of the crown that in respect of the kings’s person’. If the king could not be guided by reason, then his subjects had a duty to act to ‘re-instate the king in the dignity of the crown’ - by force if necessary.
DateEvent
2/4/1432On 2nd April 1432, Sir Thomas Swynford, son of Sir Hugh Swynford and Katherine (later Duchess of Lancaster) died in Kettlethorp, Lincolnshire. Thomas had been gaoler of the deposed Richard II at Pontefract Castle.
4/4/1413On 4th April 1413, Sir Robert de Neville died (some sources say) at the age of around ninety, a remarkable age for the time. He was JP for Yorkshire, Sheriff of Yorkshire and Constable of Pontefract Castle sometime before February 1399. His marriage to Margaret de la Pole, daughter of Sir William de la Pole, 4th Earl of Suffolk, (sometime Admiral of England and Baron of the Exchequer), enabled de la Pole to temporarily win his way back into royal favour by connection to one of the north’s leading families. After Neville’s marriage in 1344, he spent long periods overseas fighting with the Black Prince in France (including Crecy 1346, Poitiers 1356), being rewarded with an annuity of 100 marks a year (£79,000 in today's money) . From 1351, he assumed the arduous responsibility for the post of overseer of the prince’s horses, harness and fodder for his campaigns abroad. He even endured a short period of imprisonment for debt in Newgate gaol. Neville accused one of Richard II’s favourites, Edward, Earl of Rutland and Duke of Aumale, of depriving him of the constableship of Pontefract Castle. He was present at Ravenspur with a sizeable body of men in July 1399 to welcome Bolingbroke from exile and provided Henry with an armed bodyguard during the October Parliament. Henry IV sanctioned the marriage of Neville’s granddaughter and heir, Margaret, to his own half-brother, Thomas Beaufort, the youngest of his father’s three sons by Katherine Swynford. On Neville’s death, the majority of his estates descended to Margaret, then Countess of Dorset, but she died childless before April 1424.
15/4/1408On 15th April 1408 (Easter Sunday), Henry IV was at Pontefract Castle, remaining there for the feast of St George. It was the first time in his reign that he was not at Windsor to oversee the Garter festivities in person.
17/4/1486On 17th April 1486 (until the 20th), Henry VII was at Pontefract Castle on his way to York. He had set off from the Priory of St John of Jerusalem near London in mid-March on his first official progress of the North. Although the first armed uprising against Henry, after the Battle of Bosworth, by Yorkist supporters Francis Lord Lovell and Humphrey Stafford, did not occur until Eastertime 1486 (Easter Sunday was 4th April), after Lovell and Stafford had escaped from sanctuary at Colchester Abbey, the new king had been monitoring their activities for some time. An attempt to capture Henry VII at York was apparently foiled by Henry Percy on St George’s Day. Lovell fled to Flanders and the Stafford brothers were forcibly removed from sanctuary at Culham on the 14th May. Humphrey was executed but his younger brother, Thomas, was pardoned.
22/4/1473On 22nd April 1473 (possibly 1476) a signet letter close (a letter sent closed-up and sealed with a signet ring and written on paper not vellum) signed and dated from Pontefract is sent by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, to a group of Westmorland councillors regarding a dispute between some tenants of Ralph Nevill, Earl of Westmorland, concerning leaseholds around Raby and Brancepeth in County Durham. The letter was sold at Christies in 2012 for £21,250.
24/4/1483On 24th April 1483, Richard Duke of Gloucester came to Pontefract Castle prior to meeting Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers and Richard Grey at Northampton on the 29th. It was at Northampton that Gloucester had agreed to meet with his supporter Buckingham, who had a retinue of 300 men, the same as the Duke of Gloucester. After an apparently convivial dinner Earl Rivers and Richard Grey found that their rooms were locked from the outside. In the morning, they were arrested by Gloucester and Buckingham. Following the arrest, Richard and his retinue rode the fifteen miles to Stony Stratford where they dismissed the king's (Edward V) escort and arrested two of his household; the chamberlain Thomas Vaughan and Richard Haute, who along with Earl Rivers and Richard Grey would be subsequently executed at Pontefract in June. It was from that day that Richard's plan to take control of Edward V gathered pace.
25/4/1408On 25th April 1408, whilst at Pontefract, Henry IV delegated to the Earl of Westmorland the right to pardon or punish six rebels captured after the Battle of Branham Moor (on 19th February)
27/4/1473On 27th April 1473, in a letter dated at Pontefract, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, granted Richard Knaresborough an annuity of six marks (£5,000 in today's money).
29/4/1484On the 29th April 1484, Richard III arrived at Pontefract Castle on his northern progress of that year, before heading off to York. From there, Richard would go on to Middleham, Barnard Castle, Newcastle and Durham which he would reach on the 14th May.
30/4/1474On 30th April 1474, in letters dated that day at Pontefract, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, ordered £29 12s (£20,300 in today's money) worth of seafish from Thomas and Robert Burdon for his household and £54 (£37,000 in today's money) of sheep and cattle from Matthew Metcalfe.
DateEvent
7/4/1537On 7th April 1537, Lord Darcy, Constable of Pontefract Castle during the previous year’s Pilgrimage of Grace, was committed to the Tower of London, accused of treason.
8/4/1537On 8th April 1537, Henry VIII ordered the Duke of Norfolk to seize the lands and papers of Lord Darcy, Constable of Pontefract Castle during the previous year’s Pilgrimage of Grace.
16/4/1537On 16th April 1537, Lord Darcy, Constable of Pontefract Castle during the previous year’s Pilgrimage of Grace, was examined at the Lord Chancellor’s house regarding accusations of treason for his (in) actions in the rebellion at Pontefract. His opening remarks to his examiners were defiant:’ I am here now at your pleasure; ye may do your pleasure with me. I have read that men that have been in cases like with their prince as ye be now have come at the last to the same end that ye would now bring me unto. And so may ye come to the same.’ He accused Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and most probably the Duke of Norfolk but directed his most bitter challenge to Thomas Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal : “ Cromwell, it is thou that art the very original and chief causer of all this rebellion and mischief, and art likewise causer of the apprehension of us that be noble men and dost daily earnestly travail to bring us to our end and to strike off our heads, and I trust that or thou die, though thou wouldst procure all the noblemen s heads within the realm to be stricken off, yet shall there one head remain that shall strike off thy head”.
DateEvent
1/4/1645Sir Thomas Fairfax In the first week of April 1645, Parliament's Sir Thomas Fairfax entrusted the siege of Sandal to Sir John Savile of Lupset. While the Parliamentary besiegers were at prayer one day in April, the castle garrison attacked them killing 42 men, taking more than 50 prisoners and capturing many weapons. Sir John was so dejected by this reverse that he lifted the siege and joined the main Parliamentary force in Yorkshire then engaged in the siege of Pontefract Castle. The picture is of Sir Thomas Fairfax in Cassell's Illustrated History of England published 1865, which was taken from an authentic portrait.
4/4/1645On 4th April 1645, three companies, consisting of thirty Royalist men each, sallied forth from the castle and attacked the besiegers. The Parliamentary besiegers had converted different houses and barns in the town, and the houses of the aldermen, who had fled to the castle, had been occupied. In this successful sally forth, Alderman Rusby's house and barn were assaulted and one captain and three privates were killed. The rest dispersed and the house and barn were set on fire while sentries near the low church were also attacked and compelled to retreat with the loss of one taken prisoner. Following this, the besiegers drew up their forces and lined the hedges from the park to Denwell with infantry. Their standards were erected at the top of Skinner Lane and the castle garrison, seeing this, directed its cannon against them and beat them down.
4/4/1649Pontefract Castle KeepOn 4th April 1649, days after the surrender of the castle, Parliament issued an order for the castle's immediate demolition. John Harrison was paid £80 (over £14,000 in today's money) to demolish the Round Tower and £34 (£6,000) for demolishing the two skreens from the Gate House to the Round Tower, and thence to the Treasurer Tower. The total of all the disbursements for the demolishing of the castle amounted to £777, 4 shilling, 6 pence (nearly £140,000 in today's money).
5/4/1645On 5th April 1645, a party of horse under the command of Washington and Beale, and forty musketeers, under the command of Captain Smith, attacked the Parliamentary forces besieging the castle. The horses compelled the Parliamentarians to retreat into the town and to double the number of their cavalry and return and renew their attack, supported by 100 musketeers lining the hedges. Though the Parliamentary forces kept up heavy fire, the royalist party stood its ground and captured two butchers coming into the town loaded with meat for the market, thus providing the castle with fresh meat.
5/4/1649Pontefract Castle MapOn 5th April 1649, the demolition of Pontefract Castle began. The demolition was undertaken in an orderly manner. First, was the pulling down of the Round Tower, then the Barbican wall and the levelling of Neville's Mount. Attention was then turned to the Queen's Tower and the King's Tower; then went the curtain walls, the chapel, the great hall, the remaining towers in succession. John Harrison having made good progress with the Round Tower, received a further commission to destroy the two screen walls next to the Round Tower leading down by the existing steps to the Gate House. Several contractors were employed, and the amounts paid to them varied. John Harrison had £80 10s. for demolishing the Round Tower; and £34 for demolishing the two screens from the Gate House to the Round Tower; Thomas Thurston; £10 for levelling Neville's Mount; Thomas Tayler; £35 2s. 6d. for taking down the timber in the Constable Tower and the Chapel; Simon Procter received; £104 5s. 6d. for demolishing the King's and Queen's Towers; Edward Handson had £1 10s for taking down a screen and George Rennard got 10s for pulling crooks out of the walls. The various materials were all sold. The lead produced £154 7s. 2d.; the wood £201 7s. 10d.; the iron £37 2s. 4d.; the glass £1; in all, £1779 17s. 4d. (£320,000 today). Out of this the commissioners paid £777 4s. 6d. for demolition; they handed over, £1,000 to the Mayor and Corporation for the purposes specified in the petition (St. Giles's Church was repaired and beautified out of this money, which also provided a new vicarage), and they gave the balance of £2 12s. 10d to the Government. However, there is no doubt that the ''place of public worship" referred to in the town's petition of March 1649, was the old parish church of All Saints, which had been damaged during the sieges, when it was held as an outwork by the garrison and subjected to constant bombardment by the besiegers. But nothing of the thousand pounds appears to have been spent on the ruined building, and though about 1660, a considerable sum was collected in Yorkshire for its repair, no repair was ever made, and, with the exception of the transepts, restored in 1831, the church remains as it was left at the end of the Civil War.
6/4/1645On 6th April 1645, the Royalist garrison, having attended divine service on Easter Sunday, was ordered to arms (Nathan Drake, a contemporary chronicler of the siege, must have used the Julian calendar as in the Gregorian system Easter Sunday would have been 16th April). Strong parties were sent in different directions to make a combined and general attack on the enemy's positions. Captains Washington and Beale commanded the horse attended by fifty musketeers under Captain Munroe. Captain Flood commanded another body of fifty musketeers. To each of these bodies were added twenty-five men, volunteers who served under the four colonels within the castle. The first party sallied forth out of Swillington Tower, up Northgate and made a long and desperate attack upon the enemy's positions which were bravely defended. The other party went out of the lower gate to the Low Church and, having dispersed the guards, it turned up the south side of the town by the Halfpenny House to the enemy's trenches where an attack was made. While these parties were engaged with the enemy they were partly protected and assisted by the fire of their friends in the castle. The principal loss fell to the besiegers, having 130 killed besides the wounded. The besieged had only two men killed and two wounded and took one prisoner, a quantity of muskets and swords and one drum. On the same evening, a party of 100 men sallied forth up Northgate and thence into the market place where they kept up a severe fire, blowing up about twenty men, many of whom were killed and the rest so badly burned that there was little chance of recovery.
7/4/1645On 7th April 1645, the Royalist garrison made another sally to Baghill where it killed one man and took another prisoner plus two horses. The musketeers from the castle protected them and by a vigorous fire killed eight or ten men in the trenches. The following day, the garrison repeated the attack against the Parliamentary works at Baghill, but on the whole were unsuccessful. The besiegers, having reinforced their numbers, compelled the party from the castle to retreat, which they did without loss. Lieutenant Moore was wounded by a shot in the arm. At this time, a body of troops, under the command of Sir John Savile, which had been at Sandal Castle, came to strengthen the besiegers. They were principally stationed at the New Hall and during the remaining part of the siege suffered a great deal from the sallies and the fire of the garrison.
9/4/1617On 9th April 1617, King James I, on his progress to Scotland, rested at Pontefract for two nights at the New Hall, a mansion of Edward, Earl of Shrewsbury. During his stay, he inspected the College of St Clement recently established in the castle, for a Dean and three Prebendaries.
10/4/1645The besieged Royalists at the castle continued their attacks on the besieging forces on the 10th April 1645. About twenty Parliamentarians were killed during the day and in the night the cannon was discharged twice, loaded with grape shot, into the trenches at Baghill where the cries of the besiegers indicated the slaughter inflicted. While standing near the gate of the of the Barbican, Alderman Thomas Wilkinson was killed by a Parliamentarian shot from Baghill.
13/4/1645On 13th April 1645, Parliamentary forces besieging the castle  were observed to have drawn up three or four troops of horse as if they intended to form a body for some important enterprise. In spite of heavy losses, it seems that the besiegers were steadily increasing their strength through reinforcements. Shots were fired killing two men and wounding four others. The besieged were endeavouring to protect their cattle, which they sent out to graze in the adjoining meadows, by firing from the towers while the besiegers shot at the cattle compelling them to be driven back into the castle again for security. The cattle would be a means of fresh meat and milk for the Royalists and so the longer they were kept alive the better. A party of Parliamentarians attacked Swillington Tower but  heavy fire of musketry from the tower compelled it to retreat and  the cattle were secured.
14/4/1645On 14th April 1645, three wagonloads of ammunition were brought to further strengthen the position of the Parliamentary besiegers. At the time, the Treaty of Uxbridge between King and Parliament had failed and it was believed that it was Charles' intention to raise the siege at Chester and to detach a part of his forces to recover his authority in Yorkshire. An army of 3,000 Scots lay at Leeds, thirteen miles away, and a general engagement was expected in this part of the country between the Parliamentary forces and the Royalists under the command of Prince Rupert, nephew of Charles I. Parliament had made an alliance with the Scottish covenanters, having accepted the Solemn League and Covenant towards the end of 1643. It was accepted that the Scots at Leeds were prepared to join the other Parliamentary forces, drawn from Knaresborough, York, Cawood, Selby and Pontefract. Also on the 14 April, a party of twenty musketeers without any formal commander, except one of their companions William Wether, attacked a barricade, which the besiegers had erected near the New Hall: driving the men away. The attack began to demolish the structure and continued until the the enemy's cavalry were seen ready to charge. The party retreated to the castle without loss. The same night, William Wether, with six of his companions, fell on the enemy's trenches near Broad Lane end and killed three men and an officer in a black coat and buff scarf, supposed to be Colonel Eden. They dispersed the rest and returned safely to the castle.
15/4/1645On 15th April 1645, various attacks were made by the garrison but without much loss to the Parliamentary besiegers. On this day, the Royalist garrison suffered the loss  of Colonel Tindall, Lieutenant Colonel Middleton and other officers as well as many soldiers of lesser rank.
16/4/1645A vigorous and successful sally was made on the 16th April 1645. Two parties of fifty Royalist musketeers went out; one, under Captain Hemsworth, went out of the lower gate to the trenches near Alderman Lunn's house and the other under Captain Munroe went from Swillington Tower up Northgate to the enemy's upper trenches. Fifty volunteers drawn from four divisions assisted these. A party of horse under Captain Beale and Cornet Speight (a cornet was the lowest commissioned officer in a cavalry regiment) was stationed near Baghill to prevent the horse of the Parliamentarians giving any assistance to their infantry during the attack. The two parties assaulted their enemy's trenches and compelled them to retreat to another trench near the bridge. The loss to the besiegers was about fifty men killed, wounded or taken and the next day the Parliamentarians were seen to carry away seven wagons loaded with wounded men.
18/4/1645Scots and English armies embraceOn 18th April 1645, Parliamentarian reinforcements of 600 Scottish troops, under the command of Colonel Montgomery, arrived at Pontefract Castle to assist with the ongoing siege. The garrison kept up heavy fire from the castle; several were killed including Captain Hamilton and several officers. The day was market day and the besiegers drew out a considerable body of cavalry and musketeers on Baghill to protect the butchers and others coming into the town and also to prevent the garrison obtaining a supply of fresh provisions. The  besieged Royalists, however, by  well-directed fire from the towers dispersed these men who quit their station The same day, a party of Scots from Monkhill was unsuccessful in driving away a party of musketeers sent from the castle to protect the grazing cattle. The besieged discovered about forty oxen and cows belonging to the enemy, grazing in the fields. A body of men under Captain Beale and Cornet Speight and another infantry under Majors Bland and Dinnis sallied forth, seizing all the cattle and returning to the castle without any loss. The picture is of unknown source but was published in The Story Of Scotland, First Press and Scottish Daily Record Group, 1999-2000.
19/4/1603On 19th April 1603, according to the historian Richard Holmes in his book 'Pontefract: its Name, its Lords, its Castles', King James I, on his journey from Edinburgh to London to claim his throne, came to Pontefract. The castle was included in jointure property (reverting to a wife after her husband's death) of his wife, Anne of Denmark.' Anne, unfortunately, did not survive James. Holmes remarks: 'As was the case in other places where he stayed, the dirty habits of his followers seem to have brought upon the town a visitation of the plague, which broke out on September 2nd 1603, as is marked by an entry in the church books "Plague begonne" . The plague gradually increased in virulence during September (10 deaths/vs 11 in same month the previous year), raged violently during October (57/11), November (67/7) and December (32/8), then somewhat abating in January (18/7) and February (10/6) and nearly died out in March (13/9).' 
19/4/1645On 19th April 1645, the besieged Royalists set fire to the lower side of Monkhill and at three different times compelled the Parliamentarians to retreat from their positions.
20/4/1645On Sunday 20th April, the Scots supporting the besieging Parliamentary forces set fire to the upper part of Monkhill and began entrenchments from Bondgate Mill towards their barricades at Cherry Orchard Head and from thence raised several strong works to the top of Monkhill. The besieged, in order to annoy the enemy on Baghill, began to raise a mount within the Barbican which became known as Neville's Mount. On this they intended to plant the only large cannon they possessed. The besiegers, seeing this structure, continued a steady fire against the men but the work continued and was completed without suffering any damage on this and the following day. The besieged fired several cannon on this day, one of which shot through the Parliamentary barricade behind the School House where it was supposed to have done much damage. By mistake, the Scots took a party of their own men to be Royalists and fired upon them, killing a major before realising their mistake.
22/4/1645On 22nd April, the Scottish troops aiding the Parliamentarians marched away through the Park and were replaced by troops commanded by Sir John Savile. From this time, the besiegers regularly brought up parties to Baghill putting them behind hedges and in trenches. Keeping a constant watch on the garrison they poured in their shot and opened fire at every available opportunity, which the besieged in like manner returned. In these attacks, lives were lost on both sides but it does not appear that the besieged  Royalists were ever able to sally beyond the enemy's positions as from this time they were completely surrounded.
25/4/1645In late April 1645, on receiving information that the King had raised the siege at Chester and obtained some advantage over his enemies, the besieged Royalists began to hope that they would  be speedily relieved. What bolstered this hope was the information from a woman who had been taken to William Wether. She said that the besiegers would remain only two or three more days before the castle and that the troops of Parliament would be collected together to watch the approach of the royal army. It seems unlikely that a woman would have information on the plans of the besiegers but the besieged were eager to believe her and had high hopes that the siege of Pontefract Castle would be raised in the near future. This information was true as regards Chester but the conclusions drawn from it were never realised and the besiegers continued to surround the castle.
26/4/1645The Parliamentary besiegers received a reinforcement of 150 men on 26th April 1645. They came by way of Ferrybridge to the New Hall where they kept up a strong guard. During the night, they sent 100 men from the upper town to Baghill where they 'threw up' a trench. While the besiegers were employed in preparing for their own security, the besieged sallied forth in large parties to prevent them. About sixty men, commanded by Captain Smith and Lieutenant Savile, sallied forth out of Swillington Tower, up Northgate where they greatly alarmed the Parliamentarians who took to arms, both in the town and through all their trenches. A brisk fire was kept up on both sides for half an hour and the besieged retreated without any loss. At the same time, another party sallied out of the east gate and drove the besiegers from their sentries to their works near the New Hall. The besiegers carried on their works on Baghill and kept a hundred musketeers stationed there; they were regularly relieved by the same number from the upper town. The fire of the besiegers was so vigorous and constant that the besieged were closely confined. They could not send their cattle to graze without extreme danger. The garrison now began to suffer and fresh meat was a luxury. Some of the besieged seeing three hogs, which had strayed from Broad Lane, rushed out of the garrison and drove them into the castle. Men were willing to risk their own lives to gain a little fresh meat. During the night, the Parliamentarians worked in completing the trenches. A hundred men were replaced by a hundred and fifty from the town the following morning and they continued with the same work the whole of the day.
27/4/1645On 27th April 1645, a party of the Parliamentary besiegers horse assembled about noon and marched through the Park to Ferrybridge. On seeing this, a party of brave men led by a soldier called Lowder rushed out of the castle without a formal commander and assaulted the Parliamentary troops  under the command of Sir John Savile. Having killed or wounded as many of the enemy as equalled their own number of men they retreated safely back to the castle.
28/4/1645During the night of 28th April 1645, the Parliamentary besiegers employed at least 300 men on their entrenchments at Baghill. The next morning, the Royalist garrison, hoping to keep some of their cattle alive, put them out to graze but were compelled to drive them back in with the loss of one cow and two horses. The governor of the castle hearing nothing satisfactory of the King's affairs, and seeing the increasing force of the enemy, decided to send four of his officers to Newark to inform his majesty of the state of the garrison and to obtain, if possible, some relief.
29/4/1645During the night of 29th April 1645, four  Royalist officers departed from the castle, accompanied by twenty musketeers, and attacked the enemy up Northgate while their friends pushed forward and cleared the lines.
30/4/1645On 30th April 1645, the Parliamentary besiegers relieved the guard at Baghill with at least 150 men and through the day a heavy fire was kept up on both sides. The besieged Royalists had one horse killed in the Barbican and the enemy had several men killed and wounded by the musketry from the Round Tower. During the night, the besiegers burnt two houses; one at Monkhill and a smaller one by the castle walls.
30/4/1646On 30th April 1646, it was resolved by the House of Commons that Royalist Sandal Castle should be made untenable as a military garrison having being besieged three times in 1645 by Parliamentary forces.
DateEvent
1/4/1707On 1st April 1707, Pontefract Town Council ordered that the lead pipes ‘yet ungot between Broad Land End and the Castle’ be used towards the repairs of the Conduit in Market Place indicating that Pontefract Castle had once been supplied with water from the town via Micklegate, Market Place and Ropergate. On the same date, a General Town Meeting held in the Moot Hall resolved that ‘the Constables doe Imediately repayre the Pillory and make it sufficient before Easterday next’. The pillory (a wooden device securing the offender’s head and hands whilst subject to public abuse) was probably in Pontefract’s Wool Market known as Hemp Cross or Hide Cross in earlier times. The town’s stocks (for holding the offender’s feet and ankles), which stood near the porch of St Giles’ Church, survived until about 1872.
DateEvent
29/4/1892Pontefract Castle 1900-1910On 29th April 1892, a display of artefacts and antiquities was opened after the construction of a small museum at Pontefract Castle. A similar collection is now in the castle's visitor centre.
DateEvent
3/4/1957Pontefract Castle MotteOn 3rd April 1957, Pontefract Castle was first scheduled as an ancient monument by the Ministry of Works (later the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, then English Heritage and now Historic England).
16/4/1939On 16th April 1939, before the outbreak of World War II, six thousand people attended a National Service Rally in Pontefract Castle grounds. The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer reported that this “rendered conscription unnecessary”.