Pontefract Castle – July

DateEvent
3/7/1282On 3rd July 1282, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, agreed with Roger de Mowbray, 1st Baron Mowbray, to exchange lands resulting in a consolidation of areas to the northern and south-eastern parts of Henry’s Pontefract estates.
8/7/1281On 8th July 1281, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, provided testimony to the Crown about the surrender of Welsh 'rebel', Ifor ap Gruffud.
10/7/1237On 10th July 1237, John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was made Constable of Chester and Beeston Castles.
12/7/1288On 12th July 1288, Alice de Lacy, daughter of Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was granted letters patent of the castle, town, manor and Honour of Halton in the county of Chester, for and during her life with reversion after her death to the king and his heirs.
22/7/1240On 22nd July 1240, John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract Castle, died. He was one of the 25 barons who forced the royal sealing and overseeing of the enactment of Magna Carta in 1215.
22/7/1298On 22 July 1298, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, in the First War of Scottish Independence, led the first line of English cavalry at the Battle of Falkirk against the Scots under William Wallace. Scottish casualties were heavy and although Wallace evaded capture, he soon resigned as Guardian of Scotland. Reputedly, Edward I’s huge army for this campaign was in the order of 26,000 men and 3,000 cavalry.
26/7/1214On 26th July 1214, John de Lacy, later to be lord of Pontefract, was made Keeper of Castle Donington, Leicestershire. This was returned to him by King John in lieu of his surrender of hostages, including his younger brother.
DateEvent
1/7/1300On 1st July 1300, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was made Commander of the 1st Division of the King’s Army by Edward I on his Scottish campaign. This position had been similarly conferred on Henry in June 1298.
4/7/1318On 4th July 1318, the Earl of Pembroke, Hugh Despenser the Younger, 1st Baron Badlesmere, the Archbishop of Dublin, and the Bishops of Ely and Norwich went from the court’s HQ at Northampton to meet Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract. They agreed to a cancellation of royal grants that had breached the Ordinances of 1311 and that Roger d’Amory, Hugh d’Audley (Despenser’s wife’s sisters’ husbands) and Baron William Montague should only be allowed at court when summoned for military service.
4/7/1399On 4th July 1399, Henry Bolingbroke landed at Ravenspur, Humberside from France with a small band of exiles attempting to overthrow King Richard II
6/7/1310On 6th July 1310, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was made Steward of the Manor of Deeping in Lincolnshire.
6/7/1388On 6th July 1388, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, ratified the Treaty of Bayonne (Trancoso) renouncing his rights to the throne of Castile. The marriage of the heirs of both John I of Castile and Gaunt was agreed to with both created as ‘Prince and Princess of the Asturias’ and succeeding John I. All the sons of Pedro I still in prison were to be released and those in exile allowed to return to Castile. There was also an obligation for the King of Castile to pay compensation to Gaunt of 600,000 gold francs.
7/7/1307On 7th July 1307, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was present at the deathbed of Edward I at Burgh-by-Sands, six miles northwest of Carlisle, on the king’s journey to Scotland. He was one of only three people to whom letters were written by the royal household concerning Edward’s death; the others being Queen Eleanor and Edward, Prince of Wales.  
9/7/1398On 9th July 1398, Henry Bolingbroke was at Pontefract Castle with his father, John of Gaunt, on his travels around the country. He had been ordered by Richard II to settle a dispute with Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk and ex-Earl Marshal, concerning ‘slanderous’ allegations of murder Henry had made against Mowbray. The settlement would be by way of a duel at Coventry in the autumn.
11/7/1372On 11th July 1372, Edward III’s fourth surviving son, Edmund of Langley, married his elder brother John of Gaunt’s (lord of Pontefract) wife younger sister, Isabella of Castile. She was the daughter of the late King Peter of Castile meaning that Edmund and his heirs were now ‘reserves’ in line for the Castilian throne behind Gaunt.
12/7/1383On 12th July 1383, after the Scots had attacked Wark Castle on the border, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, held talks with their king’s heir, Earl John of Carrick, at Muirhouselaw with a truce agreed on 17th July to last until 2nd February the following year.
13/7/1322On 13th July 1322, Edward II sent the following order from York to Thomas Deyvill, Keeper of the Castle and Honour of Pontefract: ‘To Thomas Deyvill, keeper of the castle and honour of Pontefract, and of certain lands in the king’s hands beyond the water of Ouse, co. York. Order not to intermeddle further with the lands of Roger de Novo Mercato in Womersley, and to restore the issues thereof and Roger’s goods and chattels found there.’
13/7/1381On 13th July 1381, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, was at Berwick on his way back to London from Edinburgh, recalled by a letter from Richard II after riots in the capital. Gaunt was also trying to meet up with his wife, Constance, who had fled the troubles and had been hiding at Knaresborough Castle.
14/7/1364On 14th July 1364, John of Gaunt, by right of his wife Blanche (third cousin), became the new lord of Pontefract and received by royal charter a confirmation of all the privileges which his father-in-law, Henry of Grosmont, the 1st Duke of Lancaster, had had before him.
14/7/1385On the 14th July 1385, Richard II visited Pontefract Castle, on his first military campaign as leader, to engage the invading Scots who, bolstered by a French army of 1,000 men-at-arms and 600 bowmen under General Jean de Vienne, were attacking northern England. He arrived at York on the 16th. John of Gaunt was preparing to meet Richard at Durham after assembling men and supplies from Pontefract.
14/7/1399On 13th or 14th July 1399, Henry Bolingbroke reached Pontefract with an estimated sixty supporters, after landing at Ravenspur on the Humber estuary some two weeks before. As he progressed across Yorkshire, his followers increased with records showing thirty-seven knights and esquires and attendants joining him. At Doncaster, on the 16th of the month, he was similarly acclaimed by the Earl of Northumberland and his son, Henry 'Hotspur' who had become disillusioned with Richard II's administration of northern England.
16/7/1369On 16th July 1369, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, proceeded to Calais in readiness for a raid into Artois. Edward III could not follow Gaunt as Queen Philippa was ill, leaving Gaunt being shadowed by Charles V’s Normandy troops. Gaunt failed to take the port of Harfleur and assumed a stand-off with the Duke of Burgundy near Ardres with neither side risking a battle.
16/7/1377On 16th July 1377, Richard II was crowned at Westminster Abbey in an abbreviated ceremony to reflect his young age and then carried to Westminster Hall for the coronation banquet. John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, presided as Lord Steward. Richard was to die at Pontefract Castle twenty-three years later.
17/7/1373On 17th July 1373, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, landed at Calais with 6,000 men-at-arms and archers. With the assistance of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and the Duke of Brittany, the army marched towards Bordeaux hoping to engage with the French forces of Charles V in order to recover Aquitaine. On reaching Bordeaux, around December, the exhausted English army found a city devastated by famine and plague. Unanswered pleas, in January 1374, to Edward III for finance and reinforcements, compelled Gaunt to return to England.
17/7/1394On 17th July 1394, seven weeks after the funerals of Mary de Bohun (his daughter-in-law)) and the earlier one of Constance of Castile (his wife), John of Gaunt held a meeting at Pontefract Castle along with: his brother, Edmund, Duke of York; his nephew, Edward, Earl of Rutland; and his brother Thomas, Duke of Gloucester. Probably, Henry Bolingbroke was also in attendance meaning that according to the entail of Edward III, the first, second, fourth and sixth in line to the throne were all present. A letter was sent to Richard II disclaiming any rumours of John of Gaunt plotting to obtain the crown for himself or his son.
18/7/1317A meeting was arranged by Edward II for Nottingham on 18th July 1317, regarding peace with the Scots, to which Thomas Earl of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, and other magnates were summoned, but, as before, the Earl was absent. He excused himself as being unwell. Edward had accused the Earl of convoking illicit gatherings and of retaining very large numbers of men, thus disturbing the kingdom and frightening the people. Lancaster had denied this: he replied that he retained men only to uphold the King’s peace and lordship he would come with his whole force to Newcastle on 11th August 1317 as he had been summoned to do.
20/7/1318On 20th July 1318, a second conciliatory mission meets Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, comprising much the same personnel as the first one earlier that month but with Roger Mortimer replacing Hugh Despenser the Younger. Negotiations were centred around Edward II’s observance of the Ordinances imposed on him in 1311.
20/7/1381Throughout June 1381, the Peasant's Revolt had brought chaos and turmoil to the kingdom of the young King Richard II. As John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract Castle, was the quasi-ruler of England during the young king’s minority, much of the anger of the mob would be directed at him, for John, to pay for the war in France had replaced the graduated rate of tax by the poll tax, which levied a tax of one shilling per head (£31 in today’s money) across the whole population. It was only due to the bravery of Richard II confronting the protesters that the revolt was defeated but not before Savoy Palace, the grand London home of John of Gaunt, was totally destroyed. Fortunately, John was in Berwick, but his second wife, Constance, had fled north to seek refuge at Pontefract Castle, only to be refused entry by the constable. We can perhaps speculate that the reason for this was that John of Gaunt’s mistress, Katherine Swynford, having been sent north to Pontefract, was already in residence. We know that John was in residence at Pontefract from the 20th to 21st July 1381 and had already sent his household there, arranging for firewood and the best wine to be delivered to the castle.
23/7/1326On 23rd July 1326, Henry of Lancaster, brother of the executed Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and later to be lord of Pontefract when Edward III returned the earldom to him, was made Joint Commissioner of Array in the counties of Warwick, Leicester, Nottingham and Derby by Edward II. The king was now under enormous pressure to mobilise his defences against possible invasion by France or Roger Mortimer and his mistress, Queen Isabella.
25/7/1328On 25th July 1328, Sir Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, who later deposed Edward II and now ruled effectively as king with Edward’s widow, Queen Isabella, during the minority of Edward III, arrived at Pontefract Castle on his travels from Berwick to York.
25/7/1377On 25th July 1377, John of Gaunt was at Pontefract, probably with his mistress Katherine Swynford. With the death of Edward, the Black Prince in 1376, John was the most powerful man in the land. Edward III died in 1377 and with the war with France not going well, one of his last acts had been to dissolve Parliament which had refused the Crown’s request for funds. John would begin to undo all the work Parliament had done, making many enemies in the process, whilst making himself defender of both the Crown and royal power. On the 25th July, he granted Katherine the wardship and marriage of the heiress of Bertram de Sauneby in recognition of the 'good and agreeable service' she had and continued to render to 'our dear daughters'.
25/7/1386On 25th July 1386, John of Gaunt’s (lord of Pontefract) fleet carrying 7,000 men arrived at Corunna in Galicia, north-west Spain, on his mission to claim Castile. Cleverly picking the Galicians’ celebration of the feast of St James, the English forces met with little, if any, resistance and the holy day was cited as significant in underpinning Gaunt’s claim as Castile’s rightful King. A short stay at Corunna before taking the sacred town of Santiago de Compostela, reinforced, in Gaunt’s eyes, his legitimate claim to Castile.
25/7/1394On 25th July 1394, James I of Scotland was born at Dunfermline Abbey, Fife. James had been sent to France for safety over fears about the succession to his father, Robert III, who died in 1406 (James’ elder brother, David, having starved to death in prison in 1402).Captured by pirates en route to France at Flamborough Head (some say off the coast of Norfolk) on 22nd March 1406 and handed over to Henry IV, James was held captive by the English for eighteen years in numerous locations until a ransom of £40,000 (£25.7 million in today's money) and his marriage in February 1424 to Joan Beaufort (Joan a cousin of Henry VI and niece of Thomas Beaufort, 1st Duke of Exeter, and Cardinal Henry Beaufort), secured his release. James was crowned King of Scotland at Scone Abbey on 21st May 1424 (some say 2nd). James was held prisoner in Pontefract Castle and this seems to have been during the latter stages of his captivity in England around May-August (possibly even up to early December although James was in Durham during this month) 1423. At Pontefract, English and Scottish ambassadors agreed to his release in exchange for an Anglo-Scottish truce. James’ ransom of £40,000 sterling in ‘expenses’ (nearly £51 million in today's money), to be paid off over six years, was set against the redemption of twenty noble hostages. Significantly, this was a deliberately generous reduction of the ransom first sought for James in 1416 and was far short of what had in fact been spent on his residency, wardrobe and retinue.
25/7/1399On 25th July 1399, Sir John Pelham, one of John of Gaunt’s (lord of Pontefract) retainers, wrote to him at Pontefract from Pevensey Castle where he was the Constable: ‘My dear Lord……thank you (for) your comfortable letter that ye sent me from Pontefract that come to me on Mary Magdalene day (22nd July); …I was never so glad as when I heard by your letter that ye were strong enough with the grace of God for to keep you from the malice of your enemies…… I am here by laid in manner of a siege with the county of Sussex, Surrey and a great parcel of Kent, so that I may nought out of none victuals get me but with much hard. Wherefore my dear if it like you by the advice of your wise counsel for to get remedy of the salvation of your castle and withstand the malice the shires aforesaid. And also that ye be fully informed of their great malice workers in these shires which that haves so despitefully wrought to you, and to your castle, to your men and to your tenants for this country have yai (sic) wasted for a great while. Farewell, my dear lord, the holy Trinity you keep from your enemies, and ever send me good tidings of you. Written at Pevensey in the castle on St Jacob day last past.’ This letter is purported to be the oldest private letter in the English language.
28/7/1338On 28th July 1338, Robert de Bosevill, Constable of Pontefract Castle, was appointed as king’s justice in the commission in the West Riding in the county of Yorkshire.
DateEvent
8/7/1423On 8th July 1423, the Calendar of Patent Rolls recorded that William Welles was appointed “to take and provide beeves, muttons, fish, capons, hens, chickens, geese and other victuals belonging to the offices of the caterer and of the poultry for the household expenses of the king of Scots during his journey to Pontefract, and for his return to London”. James I of Scotland (king in absentia) was taken to Pontefract for negotiations regarding his release from English captivity.
10/7/1423On 10th July 1423, safe conduct was granted to William de Fowlis, secretary of Archibald, Earl of Douglas, to travel to Pontefract to treat for a final peace between Scotland and England.
12/7/1444On 12th July 1444, a Charter of Confirmation was made at Pontefract by, John, 7th Earl of Sutherland: ‘Charter of Confirmation by John, seventh Earl of Sutherland, to Alexander Sutherland, lord of Torboll, of the lands of Torboll. Confirmation, by John, seventh Earl of Sutherland, narrating that he had seen and caused to be read before him at Pontefract in England, a resignation made by Nicholas of Sutherland, lord of the castle of Duffus, at St. Andrew's chapel, of the lands and tenements of Thurboll with the pertinents, namely, lands to the worth of £40 lying within the earldom of Sutherland and shire of Inverness, into the hands of Robert, Earl of Sutherland, as his overlord, whereupon the Earl granted them to Henry of Sutherland, son of Nicholas, in fee and heritage, to him and his heirs male from the Earl and his heirs, for payment of ward and relief and for rendering three suits at the court of the said Earl in Sutherland.’
21/7/1476On Sunday 21st July 1476, the bodies of Richard, 3rd Duke of York and his son Edmund, Earl of Rutland, were exhumed at the Priory of St Richard near Pontefract Castle, both killed at Wakefield some sixteen years before. Their coffins were placed beneath cloths of gold coverings bearing a white satin cross with so many burning candles surrounding the caskets that the church’s doors had to be kept open and some windows removed. A life-sized effigy of York kneeling in prayer above his coffin, was dressed in dark blue gowns trimmed with ermine, the mourning clothes of a king. His claim to have been King by Right of England and France was reinforced by an angel holding a crown just above his head.
22/7/1476On 22nd July 1476, the Fotheringhay Procession left Pontefract with the bodies of Richard Duke of York (former lord of Sandal Castle) and his son Edmund Earl of Rutland, who had both been killed at the Battle of Wakefield in December 1460. These bodies had been interred in the Franciscan Friary of St Richard, which was located on the site of the present day Valley Gardens. Led by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the procession passed through Doncaster, Blyth, Newark, Grantham and Stamford reaching Fotheringhay on the 29th July.
24/7/1454On 24th July 1454, Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, son-in-law of Richard Duke of York, was apprehended and imprisoned in Pontefract Castle. Exeter believed he had been overlooked for the Protectorship of England, granted to York on the 27th March ‘by advice and assent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the Commonality of England’ by virtue of Henry VI’s six months’ continuing incapacitation. Exeter was released in mid-March 1455 after Henry’s recovery.
27/7/1476On 27th July 1476, the Fotheringhay Procession of Richard, Duke of York’s corpse, passed through Grantham on its way from the Priory at Pontefract, led by Edward IV. A later historian making notes on Grantham and its church, recorded: ‘His coffin lay on a funeral car drawn by seven horses, the figure of an angel robed in white, stood at the foot of the bier, bearing in his hand a crown, to signify that had he lived he would have reigned……His widow held the Lordship of Grantham and its Soke, and owned the George hostelry as her private property, which she left in remainder to Fotheringhay Priory, her husband and her own burial place. She may have joined the funeral procession from her house, the George…’
DateEvent
5/7/1561On 5th July 1561, Edward Rusby (or Rustbie) was married to Grace Alline in Ackworth Parish Church. Rusby was later to be Mayor of Pontefract in 1582 having resided at Hundhill in the 1570s.
12/7/1537On 12th July 1537, Robert Aske, one of the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace, who had besieged Pontefract Castle the previous year, was drawn through the main streets of York on a hurdle prior to execution on a special scaffold erected outside Clifford’s Tower. Rather than experience a traditional hanging, Aske was reputedly hanged alive in chains being slowly suffocating to death and taking several days to die.
14/7/1503On 14th July 1503, Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VII, arrived at Pontefract on her way from Richmond Palace to Scotland to meet her husband, James IV. The marriage had been completed by proxy on 25th January that year at Richmond Palace with the Earl of Bothwell as proxy for the Scottish king. She was met by deputations seven, four and two miles from Pontefract and escorted to the town to be received by its mayor, burgesses, inhabitants and ‘the abbot in pontifical and all the convent’. She left on the 15th for York.
19/7/1529On 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.
22/7/1537On 22nd July 1537, Lord Darcy, Constable of Pontefract Castle during the previous year’s Pilgrimage of Grace, who had been beheaded for treason three weeks before, was posthumously degraded from his rank as Knight of the Garter and his vacant stall bestowed upon Thomas Cromwell, who had drawn up the charges against him and had then been one of his judges.
28/7/1540On 28th July 1540, Catherine Howard married Henry VIII, nineteen days after Anne of Cleves' marriage was annulled and on the same day as the execution of Thomas Cromwell for high treason. Catherine was first cousin to Anne Boleyn and had been a lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves. Later in the marriage, Henry found out about Catherine's purported infidelity while the court was staying at Pontefract Castle.
DateEvent
1/7/1645On 1st July 1645,  the besieged Royalist garrison saw the Parliamentarians  carrying faggots and scaling ladders down to the church which raised their suspicion of an intended assault. The guards were then doubled and at about 12 o'clock most of the troops were under arms, ready to receive any attack made by the Parliamentary forces. However the opposition remained in their works during the night. The number and strength of the besiegers rendered any sally by the garrison more dangerous to themselves than to the Parliamentary forces and from this period the besieged made no sallies against the enemy's works. On the other hand,  Parliament's Colonel  General Poyntz did not wish to expose his men to danger and so each party watched the other rather than carry on any vigorous enterprises.
2/7/1644Battle_of_Marston_Moor,_1644On 2nd July 1644, Cromwell was victorious at the Battle of Marston Moor at Tockwith, near York. Some of the Royalist survivors escaped the battlefield and took refuge at Pontefract Castle where they joined the garrison under the command of Sir Richard Lowther.
3/7/1645On 3rd and 4th July 1645, and at different times, a brisk fire of musketry was maintained on both Parliamentary and Royalist sides. Towards evening, the  Parliamentary forces' horse, which had been drawn up in the West Field for most of the day, began to depart to their quarters. However a considerable body remained all night and kept up considerable fire.
4/7/1648On 4th July 1648, it was reported by The Parliament Committee for Advance of Money (set up in November 1642, and ceasing in 1656, to produce voluntary loans and subsequently compulsory assessments for the fight against Charles I and from 1645 to uncover the concealed resources of Royalist ‘delinquents’) that Captain William Armitage of Netherton had raised forces and money for the King at Pontefract Castle. He had been taken prisoner to Featherstone by Sir Henry Cholmley’s regiment along with thirty men and horse.
6/7/1648On 6th July 1648, Parliamentarian Colonel Sir Edward Rossiter wrote from Nottingham to William Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons: ‘It hath pleased God to give us a seasonable victory over the Pontefract forces, an increasing, active, and resolved enemy. . . The timely advance of Sir Henry Cholmely with those under his command — stopping their retreat by his lying on the North side Trent — gave us this opportunity of fighting them. My present indisposition occasioned by my wounds received in this sharp engagement will not give me leave to present you with an account thereof in writing. I have therefore sent my Captain- Lieutenant to give you a full narrative of the whole business.’. The Commons Journals also noted that on 6th July 1648: ‘A letter from Colonel Edward Rossiter ….giving notice of the great victory it has pleased God to bestow upon the forces under his command against the Pontefract forces under the command of Sir Philip Mouncton (sic), general, on the 5th July 1648, in Willoughby fields.’ The battle in Nottinghamshire, close to the Leicestershire border, had seen Royalist soldiers from Pontefract Castle on their way to relieve the siege of Colchester, defeated by a combined Midlands’ force of Parliamentarians.
7/7/1648On 7th July 1648, Parliamentarian Sir John Bourchier wrote to William Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons desiring that two of the collectors of the Revenue might be credited in their accounts with two sums of £59 (£10355 in today’s money) and £50 (£8800) respectively advanced by them for setting forth the Yorkshire forces sent against the enemy at Pontefract.
8/7/1645On 8th July 1645, Parliament's  Colonel General Poyntz went down to the Barbican and asked to speak to the governor of the garrison. The governor's son said his father was not there. General Poyntz demanded the surrender of the castle and said that if they did this within three days they would obtain honourable terms. If they delayed eleven or fourteen days, they might expect nothing but to walk with a white rod in their hands as soldiers did in the Low Countries. The governor's son replied 'that the castle be kept for the King and that if they stayed 14 days and 14 after that, there were as many gentleman in the castle as would make many a bloody head before they parted with it'. Soon after this, General Poyntz said goodnight and went away.
9/7/1645On 9th July 1645, the besieging Parliamentary forces began a fence from their works opposite Swillington Tower, along the hedge to Denwell Lane and from this position they greatly annoyed anyone coming from the castle to cut grass.
10/7/1645On 10th July 1645, the besieged Royalist garrison received an account of the engagement between Sir Thomas Fairfax and General Goring, when it was said that Goring routed Sir Thomas and that Taunton was taken. A drum came from Newark to know whether the castle had surrendered as the Parliamentary forces had spread the rumour that Pontefract Castle had yielded to them. The drum had been kept a prisoner overnight in the house of a Mrs Washington whose husband was in the castle. The drum and Mrs Washington went to the castle where the message was passed on and Mrs Washington, while pretending to shake hands with an acquaintance, gave him two letters. These letters named the day and hour when Sir Marmaduke Langdale intended to come to the garrison's relief and confirmed the account of Goring's victory over Sir Thomas Fairfax. Thus the garrison was encouraged and still continued to annoy the Parliamentary forces as much as possible.
11/7/1656On 11th July 1656, Mary Fisher of Pontefract, and another preacher, Ann Austin, were the first Quakers to visit the English North American colonies arriving in Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Colony on board the Swallow. Having already converted the island of Barbados’s Lieutenant Governor to Quakerism, their reception by the New England Puritans was decidedly more hostile and they were imprisoned for five weeks, undressed in public and examined for signs of witchcraft with their books and pamphlets burned, then deported back to Barbados. A 1658 mission ‘testifying to the Universal Light’ (her words) to the Ottoman Empire to explain Quakerism to Sultan Mehmed IV was received attentively and ‘he was very noble unto me and so were all that were about him’.
12/7/1645On 12th July 1645, Royalist troops received a letter that Sir Marmaduke Langdale had set off with his own forces and 4,000 Irish to raise the siege of Pontefract Castle. The letter was designed to raise spirits and produced the effect intended and the castle agreed to suffer any privations rather than submit to disgraceful terms. If relief did not come, they would consume all food in the castle, set it on fire and either cut their way out through the enemy or nobly fall. After this, two flags of defiance were flown, one from the King's Tower and one from the Round Tower.
13/7/1645On 13th July 1645, letters were received from Sandal Castle, which gave news of Marmaduke Langdale's approach. The Parliamentary forces had raised some fortifications near Ferrybridge, on Brotherton Marsh and some cannon were taken there to secure the pass. The Parliamentary forces  had an alarm in the night and both horse and foot remained under arms till morning. About four o'clock, they were seen in the West Field drawn up as though ready for an attack. This was the direction in which Langdale had come before to relieve the castle and it was hoped that he was approaching. At this time, the plague prevailed in the town and, as a result of this, Parliament's  General Poyntz withdrew his troops from the town and formed a camp in the West Field, where the general himself henceforth always slept. News that the Skipton horse had pushed through Wakefield and by Sandal in order to join Sir Marmaduke Langdale gave alarm to the Parliamentary forces.
15/7/1645On 15th July 1645, rumours of impending relief reached the Royalist castle and some of the garrison ventured into the orchard obtaining a considerable supply of apples. Two were killed and others wounded on this venture. In the afternoon, a drum was sent to the castle saying that General Goring and Langdale were routed, and that Cromwell, Fairfax and Rossiter were coming to the besiegers' assistance. The last hope of the garrison was now destroyed and they found themselves surrounded by enemies it was impossible to vanquish.
16/7/1645

On 16th July 1645,  Parliament's Colonel General Poyntz sent a letter to the governor of the castle, again summoning him to surrender the castle, and that if he did he might gain honourable terms. The honourable terms were to this effect “That whereas they had heretofore sent to summons the castle which was still rejected, but now taking into consideration the great care and love so many gentlemen soldiers in the castle, and the misery they lived in, the effusion of so much innocent blood which was likely to be made, and many a sackless man in it, they thought once more to summons them, and give them to understand that if they pleased to come to a treaty about surrendering the same they would treat them upon honourable terms with conditions fitting for such a garrison and would give hostages for the same" To this, the governor replied “That it was a matter of too great consequence to treat or give answer at first but he would confer with the knights and the gentlemen of the castle and return an answer as speedily as possible”

17/7/1645On 17th July 1645, Royalist Colonel Lowther sent a letter to Colonel General Poyntz that they were ready to discuss surrender as soon as the place and time was appointed. The besieging Parliamentary forces decided to take their time about discussions as they heard from a garrison captain that the castle had provisions for only 5 days or slightly more. The besiegers intended to starve out the garrison, then to strip the soldiers and pillage the castle.
19/7/1645On 19th July 1645,  Parliament's Colonel  General Poyntz, Colonel Overton and nine officers came to the Barbican Gate and the committee from the castle (including Sir Richard Hutton, Sir Thomas Bland and Sir John Ramsden) went with them to a tent located at a close under Baghill, a little above Broad Lane End. At length, the committee of the besieged Royalist garrison  declared that they were determined to fight it out rose and departed. The besieging Parliamentary forces hoped that an adjustment would be made the next day.
20/7/1645On 20th July 1645, the Royalists and Parliamentarians met and a treaty was made and signed for the surrender of Pontefract Castle. The siege had lasted nearly five months and the besieged Royalists had shown great courage. The treaty stated that 'the castle is to be delivered up to the parliament tomorrow at 8 o'clock with everything therein, save that the officers are allowed to carry away what is properly their own, so that it exceeds not what a cloak bag will contain, and the garrison are to march to Newark'. Thus ended the second siege of Pontefract Castle during which the Parliamentarians lost 469 soldiers whilst the besieged lost 99 persons. The local gentry who had assisted in the defence of the castle obtained permission to return to their homes, but continued to be closely watched by the Parliamentarians and were all heavily fined for their obstinate adherence to the Royalist cause.
20/7/1648On 20th July 1648, a Council of War at Pontefract Castle agreed: These ensueing orders are agreed vpon att a Councell of Warr in Pontefract Castle July 20th 1648. First Itt is ordered & agreed vpon that after the armeinge of the Goun, Coll John Marris his regmt of Foot that Coll Vernon shall haue the supernumerary fixt armes for the armeinge of his regmt for the vse of this Garryson & to redeliu them fixt againe to the said Coll Vernon. 2dly Itt is agreed vpon & ordered that May0 Edward Goare compound as mayor of all the horse blonging this Garryson & that he shall have Authorizmt from vs for that purpose. 3dly Itt is agreed vpon & ordered that Capt Willm Goure compound as Mayor of all the Foot quartered in the Towne of Pontefract for the defence of the same And that the said Capt. William Goare shall have Authorizmt from vs for that purpose. 4ly Itt is agreed vpon & ordered that noe Constables or Countryeman brought into this Garryson for want of his or their assessmts shall be detained by any reason nor p’tence whateu’ they haueinge giuen satisfaction to the treasurers for their or his assessmts without speciall order from vs for that purpose. 5ly Itt is further ordered & agreed vpon that noe man whatever bringeinge into this Garrison any man for the want of his assessment or shall receave any moneys from any man or towne for thuse of this Garryson but that he or they giue account therof within four howeres to the Goun or Treasurers appointed for that affect. 6ly Itt is further ordered & agreed vpon that Sir Hughe Cartwright be muster minster of all horse & foote belonginge this Garryson & that he shall haue power for that purpose from vs. 7ly Itt is ordered that Coll’ Roger Portington & Coll’ James Washington be assistinge to the Treasurers Sir Hughe Cartwright & Mr Nevile for the receivinge all moneys brought in for thuse of this Garryson all acompts therevnto belonginge. 8ly Itt is further ordered & agreed vpon that if any officer, Gent' or souldier shall be found negligent vpon any dutye comaunded him by his superyor officer or shall goe off his gaurd without order from his Comaund or any wayes be disabedyent to him in his Lawfull martiall Comaunds that he the offender shall forfeite one dayes pay be disarmed at the head of the troop or foote Companie wherin he serveth & shall be imprisoned for foure & twentye howers & his dayes pay be disposed of to his fellow souldrs of that troop or Companie wherein he serveth. John Harris        Roger Portington            Wm Gower V. Cromwell       Ed. Gower                          Fran. Reresby Rich. Byron       Vriah Legh                         Edw. Bond E. Vernon          Radcliffe Duckenfeild      C. Congreve
21/7/1627On 21st July 1627, John Savile was created 1st Baron Savile of Pontefract. He had been MP for Lincoln, Sheriff of Lincolnshire, Knight of the Shire for Yorkshire, custos rotulorum of the West Riding of Yorkshire (principal justice of the peace in an English county), Privy Councillor, Comptroller of The Household and receiver of the revenues from recusants in the north. He had a long-standing feud with Thomas Wentworth (later Earl of Strafford) which included a famous dispute in Parliament. Savile built Howley Hall in Batley (he was buried in Batley Church in September 1630) and tradition says that Rubens stayed there and painted a view of Pontefract for him.
21/7/1645On 21st July 1645, Pontefract Castle was surrendered to Parliament by its Royalist garrison.
22/7/1679On 22nd July 1679, after the passing of the Act of Uniformity (1662) against popish recusants intent on re-establishing Roman Catholicism and conspiring against the life of Charles II, an affidavit was presented to the Sessions at Pontefract: ‘As for Mr Thomas Hippon and Alis Hippon, they become bound before Mr Whyte to appear at this Session, as popish recusants. As for Mr John Hippon, Margaret Thimbleby and Alis the wife of John Spinke, they are non est Inuentus’ i.e. not yet found in this jurisdiction.
24/7/1645Thomas Fairfax On 24th July 1645, there was the first mention of Pontefract Castle in the Journals of the House of Commons when Colonel General Poyntz's letter was read announcing its capture. A debate followed, concluding with Sir Thomas Fairfax being ordered by the House to be made military governor.
28/7/1645On 28th July 1645, Pontefract was mentioned in Parliament when papers and letters taken at the castle were referred to the Committee for the King's Cabinet letters.
31/7/1648On 31st July 1648, the Proceedings of the Committee of both Houses of Parliament at Derby House recorded: ‘The same to Sir Henry Cholmeley. We are informed that the (enemy’s) garrison of (Royalist) Pontefract make incursions far into the surrounding country for spoil and plunder, and that many who thought themselves secured by our forces employed in blocking it up are taken and made prisoner by that garrison. We desire you to improve, with your best care and diligence, all the forces there under your command in order to straiten the enemy and secure our people in the parts adjacent from the danger of their incursions.’
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4/7/1752On 4th July 1752, Sir Robert Monckton-Arundel, 4th Viscount Galway, was born. He served as MP for the family seat of Pontefract in 1774 and from 1780-1783, then giving up his seat following his appointment as envoy to the Elector Palatine. However, on this appointment not materialising, he was elected to the York constituency in 1783. Failing to re-gain Pontefract in 1790, he was successful in 1796 and resigned his seat in 1802. He was appointed a Privy Councillor in 1784 and was Comptroller of the Household (ancient position in the royal household including helping with the auditing of accounts, arranging of royal travel and adjudicating upon offences committed within the bounds of the palace) from 1784-1787.
29/7/1772On 29th July 1772, around noon, John Wesley opened a meeting room in Pontefract which had been established by his followers. Castle Chain House was taken by John Shepherd, partly as his accommodation and for use by travelling preachers with the rest used as a place of worship. The first Methodist chapel was built in Pontefract in 1789 and, in 1796, the town was made the head of a considerable circuit of twenty-four preaching places with two stationed preachers, covering an area from Barnsdale to Wetherby.
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1/7/1879On 1st July 1879, public passenger train services began at Baghill railway station (on the Sheffield to York line) greatly increasing access to Pontefract town and castle for Victorian visitors. The castle, by this time, was often viewed as a romantic ruin and pleasure garden with tennis courts and ornamental rose gardens. Tanshelf railway station near the centre of the town had opened eight years earlier giving easy access to Pontefract Racecourse. This station had closed in 1967 but was opened on 11th May 1992 when the line between Wakefield Kirkgate and Pontefract Monkhill was re-opened. Pontefract’s other railway station, Monkhill was opened by the Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole Railway in April 1848.
1/7/1893On 1st July 1893, ‘The Spectator’ magazine reported: ‘Lord Randolph Churchill, speaking at Pontefract on Saturday last, made a very happy point by saying that Mr. Gladstone’s new financial resolutions would condemn Ireland to penal,—he meant, he said, “ financial,”—servitude for six years. This is, indeed, precisely what the Parnellites think of the step taken. They have issued an address to their Irish friends in the United States, imploring their support to resist and defeat this withdrawal of all financial power from the Irish Legislature for this long period, which they regard as fatal to any genuine kind of Home-rule………. The Pontefract by-election ended in the return of the Gladstonian by the narrow majority of 32, Mr. T. W. Nussey receiving 1,191 votes, against 1,159 given for Mr. Elliott Lees, the Conservative.’
16/7/1890On 16th July 1890, the second annual Pontefract tennis tournament, with five events, commenced in the grounds of the castle.
28/7/1884On 28th July 1884, Pontefract Castle was officially re-opened to the public following extensive renovation works to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the town's incorporation as a municipality under the charter of Richard III.
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7/7/1928On 7th July 1928, a tennis tournament was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle with play not concluding until dusk.
14/7/1919WW1 tank PontefractOn 14th July 1919, a World War I tank (tank No. 289) was awarded to Pontefract by General Benson in recognition of the town’s having subscribed over £2m in War Loans: it was kept at the castle, being removed on 26th September 1934 to Nevison’s Leap and later cut up for salvage in World War II.  
15/7/1928On 15th July 1928, a parade and drum-head service was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle attended by 1,000 members of the St John Ambulance Brigade from all parts of the West Riding. Brigadier-General C.R. Ingham Brooke led the proceedings.
22/7/1966On 22nd July 1966, Ferrybridge Henge and two round barrows were first listed and protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument: List Entry Number: 1005789. A Neolithic henge near Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire (grid reference SE47462424), it is close to the A1 and M62 and Ferrybridge power station. Ferrybridge Henge is the furthest south of Yorkshire's henges, and is the only one in West Yorkshire.  There was activity on the site before the current henge in the form of circular monuments and hengiform monuments dating from 3500 BC to 3000 BC. Ferrybridge Henge dates from around 3000 BC to 2500 BC. Around 2000 BC–1500 BC, during the early Bronze Age, barrow burials were performed on the site. Inhumations were discovered with grave goods such as ceramic pots and flint tools. The area was probably abandoned from about 1500 BC to 500 BC when there was some reoccupation by Iron Age farmers. The henge was not cultivated and may have been retained as a shrine for the Iron Age people of the area and later during the Romano-British period. An Iron Age sword scabbard was discovered in the inner henge ditch as well as a Roman coin. That burials continued in the area around the henge in the Saxon period despite the presence of a Christian cemetery nearby has been taken as evidence of pagan beliefs prevailing in the area. Ferrybridge Henge and its surrounding area were used as farmland during the medieval period. The site was excavated by West Yorkshire Archaeological Services in 1991. In 2007, a suspected extension of the henge was unearthed near Pontefract. It was discovered when archaeologists were investigating a site intended for the construction of a row of houses; once the archaeological survey was complete, the construction went ahead. Ferrybridge Henge is a circular site and is about 180 metres (590 ft) in diameter. The henge is surrounded by two ditches and a bank. The inner ditch is 10 metres (33 ft) wide and 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) deep. There is a 15-metre (49 ft) wide berm between the inner ditch and a 15-metre (49 ft) wide limestone bank. Separating the bank from the outer ditch is another berm, also 15 metres (49 ft) wide; the outer ditch is 12 metres (39 ft) wide and 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) deep. This layout is typical of other henges. The site has two entrances, one in the north east and one in the south west.  
30/7/1902On 30th July 1902, Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates recorded: ‘ Mohill Union (County Leitrim, Ireland) – Paupers sent from Pontefract to Mohill, Withdrawal of Grant of Five Shillings Outdoor Relief by the Pontefract Guardians.’