Pontefract Castle – September

1/9/1192Coat_of_arms_of_John_de_Lacy,_Lord_of_Pontefract_Castle1On 1st September 1192, John De Lacy, Baron of Pontefract, Earl of Lincoln was born. He stands in history as a leading Baron in forcing King John to agree to Magna Carta.
23/9/1199On 23rd September 1199, Roger de Lacy, nominal lord of Pontefract, was made castellan of Chinon on King John’s campaign to France to hold onto his Angevin lands. Chinon was of major strategic importance to the king’s Angevin empire, commanding the borders of Anjou and Poitou and overlooking Touraine. Pontefract Castle was subsequently released back to Roger by the king albeit his eldest son, John, was held hostage by the king as surety for his loyalty.
25/9/1177On 25th September 1177, Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, accompanying the Earl of Essex and Count of Flanders, died on crusade to the Holy Land. This was Henry’s second crusading venture having campaigned in 1158 and most probably being exempted from taxation that year on account of this action.
1/9/1255In September 1255, Sir Edmund de Lacy, Lord of Pontefract, performed a crucial service to Henry III in being part of a royal and noble party conducting Alexander III, king of Scotland who was still a minor, and his wife, Margaret (Henry’s daughter) to meet Henry. Rumours had been circulating for some time that the royal couple had been treated poorly by their Scottish guardians, Robert Ross and John Balliol.
5/9/1255On 5th September 1255, Edmund de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was styled Earl of Lincoln albeit there is some doubt as to whether he was actually invested as Earl as he predeceased his mother, Margaret de Quincy, but not his father, John de Lacy, who was Earl of Lincoln jure uxoris (by right of his wife).
10/9/1299On 10th September 1299, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, attended the marriage at Canterbury of Edward I and Margaret of France, daughter of Philip III and sister to Philip IV. Eleanor of Castile, the first wife of Edward I, had died in 1290. This marriage, and the arranged later marriage (25th January 1308) of Prince Edward to Philip IV’s daughter, Isabella, were both factors in Edward I’s securing the return of Gascony to him. De Lacy was charged by the king in determining who should receive the cloths which had been used over the heads of Edward and his new wife.  
11/9/1277On 11th September 1277, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was with Edward I at Rhuddlan after the surrender of Welsh 'rebel' leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. Edward had sent some 2000 soldiers to Anglesey to deprive Llyweyln of ‘his granary’ giving him no alternative. De Lacy and the Earl of Warwick were the only magnates with Edward after most of the royal infantry and cavalry had been released after the successful Welsh campaign and were on hand during the building of the new castle at Rhuddlan and negotiations for the terms of Llywelyn’s surrender.
14/9/1237On 14th September 1237, John de Lacy, Baron of Pontefract, and several other lords were in attendance with Henry III at York when he met Scotland’s king, Alexander II (Henry’s brother-in-law), to see Alexander renew his homage to Henry for his English lands. The Treaty of York was signed on the 25th September.
20/9/1213On 20th September 1213, at Tickhill Castle in South Yorkshire, King John granted John de Lacy his inheritance (his father Roger having died in 1211) of five northern baronies but imposed a 7000 marks’ relief (£9.6m value today) repayable within three years. The king refused, however, to hand over the de Lacy castles at Pontefract and Donington and required him to pay for their garrisons. De Lacy was also told that should he join with the king’s enemies, he would lose all his lands forever.
22/9/1200On 22nd September 1200, Roger de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was with King John at Lincoln as witness to William the Lion’s, King of Scotland, public submission and act of homage to John.
23/9/1217On 23rd September 1217, John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was ordered to oversee the restoration of Carlisle Castle by Alexander II, king of Scotland, and later on the 6th November accompany Alexander to meet Henry III.
1/9/1317Arms_of_Lancaster A muster had been planned by Edward II for 15th September 1317 at Newcastle, with a preliminary assembly at York or Northallerton. However, Thomas Earl of Lancaster, from his castle at Pontefract, refused to let any troops pass on to York, saying that, as he was Steward of England, if the King wished to take up arms against anyone he ought first to notify the Steward. On 1st September 1317, senior clergy and nobles (including the archbishops of Canterbury and Dublin, five bishops and the earls of Pembroke and Hereford) met Earl Thomas of Lancaster  at the Priory of Pontefract to try to effect a reconciliation between the king and Thomas. Thomas promised that he would not ride with his army nor molest anyone, would attend the next parliament in January 1318 in a peaceable manner and show King Edward II (at this time in York with Queen Isabella) due reverence. Thomas was also to remove his guards from all roads and bridges south of York. In return for this concession, Edward granted Thomas safe passage to Lincoln the following January and dismissed the majority of his own guard whilst travelling back to London.
1/9/1323On 1st September 1323, William Melton, Archbishop of York, issued a ‘second Comand forbidding publicque veneration to Thomas, Earle of Lancaster’ who had been executed for treason at Pontefract the previous year.
3/9/1312Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, failed to appear (as commanded by the king) on 27th August at Westminster, and it was not until 3rd September that he, and the Earls Hereford, and Warwick approached the city. For the previous fortnight, the Earls had delayed at Ware in Hertfordshire, probably to gather their forces, and now they came towards the capital horsed and armed. Reports suggested that Lancaster alone brought with him a thousand horsemen and 1,500 foot; Hereford had a strong retinue of Welshmen, and Warwick more men from his earldom. Rumours multiplied. Some said that the King had proclaimed a parliament in order to take Lancaster, but that the Earl, knowing this, had brought his retinue as a safeguard: later in the month, two Londoners were imprisoned because the King had heard that, should the city be besieged by Lancaster, they and their accomplices were to open the gates and facilitate Edward’s capture in his own city. The King’s letters patent, sent to the Bishops of Norwich, and Bath and Wells, the Earl of Richmond, and two others, on 3rd September, ordering them to prevent the Earls coming to parliament in this way, went unheeded, and the barons were soon in the city.
6/9/1380On 6th September 1380 (renewed on 2nd May 1381), John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract Castle, was appointed the King’s Lieutenant in the Scottish Marches with the authority to negotiate and enforce truces and supervise English defences. Gaunt’s only claim to territory in this area was his castle at Dunstanburgh and his new post was a particular snub to the Percy influence, and that of other magnates in the North.
7/9/1319At this time Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, was not entirely out of favour with Edward II for, on the 7th September 1319, he successfully petitioned the king for the return of lands in Bamburgh parish which had been escheated after the defection to the Scots of Sir John de Middleton, the Earl’s tenant there.
8/9/1309On 8th September 1309, in response to the threat of Robert the Bruce’s growing military strength in Scotland, Edward II summoned a muster of forces at Berwick with Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, appointed the King’s Lieutenant and keeper of the kingdom ‘custos regni’ in the king’s absence.
11/9/1338On 11th September 1338, it was recorded that “the keeper being at Windsor, Henry Vavasour, William Scot, John de Eland and Robert de Bosevill, Constable of Pontefract castle, are appointed to execute the premises in the liberties of queen Philippa of the honors of Pontefract and Tikhull and in the soke of Snayth, co York”. De Bosevill incurred many debts and had to relinquish many of his bequeathed possessions in order to negate them. At the Feast of the Assumption at the Priory of St Oswald at Nostell, in 1330, he took away a large quantity of malt and other property of the priory and murdered a servant of the Prior; cutting off his head and hanging it on a bridge. De Bosevill died in 1362.
12/9/1368On 12th September 1368, Blanche of Lancaster, daughter-in-law of Edward III by her marriage to his son, John of Gaunt, died. During her nine years’ marriage to John, she had spent much time at Pontefract and with the death of her older sister, Maude, without issue in 1362, her husband had inherited various titles.  
13/9/1374On 13th Sept 1374, John of Gaunt ordered the rebuilding of the Great Tower at Pontefract Castle, using stone quarried nearby.
15/9/1317In September 1317, at York, Edward II was advised by his court favourites, Hugh Despenser, William de Montagu, Roger Damory and Hugh Audley to attack Pontefract Castle in retaliation for Thomas, Earl of Lancaster’s agents’ occupation of two royal castles (Knaresborough and Alton) in the constableship of Roger Damory. Only the intervention of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, prevented bloodshed. Relations between Edward and Lancaster had been worsening since the execution of Piers Gaveston in 1312 and Edward’s disastrous Bannockburn ‘expedition’ of 1314.
17/9/1319Whilst at Berwick, Edward II, around the 17th September 1319, aware of the Scots invading far south into England, summoned his council to decide whether to continue the siege or to turn south and confront them. Divisions were at once apparent. The southern magnates wanted to remain until town and castle fell, while the northerners, whose lands were in more immediate danger, advised the king to raise the siege and pursue the raiding Scots. Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, who may well have known of the closeness of the Scots to his own estates around Pontefract, sided with the latter party. Because the King favoured the southerners’ view the Earl angrily gathered his forces and left the siege. (Lancaster was almost certainly still at Berwick on 16th September, when he witnessed a royal charter, and he must have left on that day.) Edward followed, afraid to stay without the Lancastrian contingent. There is no obvious hint of any open collaboration with the Scots, though the Earl’s behaviour obviously lent itself to rumour, and it was undeniable that his retreat led to the raising of the siege. The Vita Edwardi Secundi states that Edward’s reconciliation with Lancaster was only skin-deep, having Edward stating “When this wretched business is over, we will turn our hands to other matters. For I have not yet forgotten the wrong that was done to my brother Piers”
20/9/1300Around the 20th September 1300, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was charged by Edward I to accompany Hugh Despenser on an ambassadorial mission to the papal curia to represent the king in peace negotiations between England and France and in resolving Edward’s overlordship of Scotland.  
20/9/1319On 20th September 1319 (some sources say the 12th), at the Battle of Myton, a makeshift army of Yorkshire clergy and townspeople was completely defeated by Sir James Douglas and Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, two of King Robert Bruce’s most able commanders. Nicknamed the Chapter of Myton or The White Battle due to the number of clergy involved, the Scots failed to capture Queen Isabella, their main objective, but were able to press south and to reach Castleford, just north of Pontefract. Reputedly, the English losses were 1,000 killed including 300 ‘priests’ (the Chronicle of Lanercost puts the number of priests killed alone at 4,000 with another 1,000 drowned in the Swale!).
20/9/1322On 20th September 1322, Edward II granted the Constableship of Lincoln Castle to Alice de Lacy as her right and inheritance with the Earldom of Lincoln restored to her in December of that year. In order to effect her release from prison, she had had to pay an indemnity of £20,000 (£15.6m in today’s money) to the Crown.
21/9/1327On 21st September 1327, Edward II was ‘murdered’ at Berkeley Castle on the orders of his wife Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer. With the king's death, Isabella’s new estates were worth 20000 marks (£18.3 million in today's money), an income greater than even Thomas of Lancaster at the height of his powers. Indeed one of the estates Isabella now controlled was Pontefract castle.
21/9/1368On 21st September 1368, Thomas Swynford, son of Sir Hugh Swynford and Katherine (later Duchess of Lancaster) was born. Some have questioned whether he was an illegitimate child of John of Gaunt, receiving 100 marks (over £77,000 in today's money) in his will. In 1390, Thomas served with Henry of Derby (later Henry IV) in Calais and later Prussia. In addition to being Constable of Pontefract Castle, in 1402 he was Sheriff of Lincoln, Captain of Calais by 1404 and was later involved in negotiating a treaty with France and Flanders.
21/9/1371Constance_of_CastileOn 21st September 1371, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, married Constance of Castille. It was his second marriage and, whereas his first marriage had been for love, this  marriage was for ambition. By this marriage, he became King of Castile and Leon, and he was addressed by that title from that point on. After this, the lords of Pontefract grew in strategic, military and political importance in the country.  
22/9/1345On 22 September 1345, Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and younger brother of the executed Thomas of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, died at Leicester Castle. He had been head of the regency council for the new king, Edward III,  Captain-General of all royal forces in the Scottish Marches and had been one of the advisers of seven-year-old Prince Lionel, keeper of England, when Edward had gone to Flanders in July. He had been blind for the last 15 years of his life.
24/9/1317On 24th September 1317, the Earls of Hereford and Pembroke were commissioned to release all those who had been arrested as followers of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster (lord of Pontefract) and to protect him and his men until the coming parliament in late January 1318. Lancaster, having given up the custody of the bridges which he had been holding against the king, then returned in peace to Pontefract while Edward II paid off his army and on 29th September  started southwards again.
29/9/1309The Chronicle of Lanercost records that on 29th September 1309: ‘Howbeit, after the feast of S. Michael some kind of peace and agreement was patched up between the King of England and his people, on condition that the king should do nothing important without the advice and consent of the Earl of Lincoln (Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract); but from day to day the king, by gifts and promises, drew to his side some of the earls and barons.’
29/9/1314The household book of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, preserved in the record of Pontefract, shows the amount of disbursements for domestic expenses for one year from Michaelmas (9th Sept) 1314 to 29th September 1315. Thomas had now amassed such great wealth and estates that he was virtually the most powerful man in England. An indication of his wealth can be seen from a year's expenses totalling £7,957 13s. 4 1/2 d (£8.7 million in today's money). This  compared to the King Edward II's expenses for one year of £8,310 9s (£9.04 million in today's money).
29/9/1316The Chronicle of Lanercost records that: ‘After the feast of S. Michael on the 29th September 1316, the Earl of Lancaster (lord of Pontefract) with his adherents marched toward Scotland as far as Newcastle in compliance with the king's behest; but the king declined to follow him as they had agreed upon together, wherefore the earl marched back again at once ; for neither of them put any trust in the other.’   
29/9/1399On 29th September 1399, a delegation headed by the Earl of Northumberland, visited Richard II in the Tower of London, for the second time, seeking the king’s resignation; Richard having deliberated over a copy of his resignation overnight. Richard was later to become Pontefract Castle’s most famous prisoner. Later that day Henry Bolingbroke (at Richard’s request) visited Richard and informed him he must resign simply and without conditions except for being able to retain the lands he had acquired in order to endow an anniversary for his soul in Westminster Abbey.
30/9/1399On 30th September 1399, the record of (soon-to-be Pontefract Castle’s most noteworthy prisoner) Richard II’s resignation was presented and read out to Parliament in Westminster Hall by John Burbach, a doctor of laws. The ‘Manner of King Richard’s Renunciation’ records the reasons for such as: ‘the things he had done which were contrary to the crown…the vengeful sentences given against the lords and other points, including the will which he had made before he went to Ireland’. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s request for the assembly’s approval was greeted with cries of ‘Yes, yes, yes’. Parliament was dissolved and a new assembly called for the 6th October in the name of Richard’s successor, Henry Bolingbroke (soon to be Henry IV).
6/9/1483On 6th September 1483, Richard III conferred Pontefract’s first Charter of Incorporation, creating John Hill as the first mayor of the borough the following July.
8/9/1483On 8th September 1483, Richard III’s son, Edward of Middleham, was knighted and invested as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in York Minster. He had left Middleham around the 19th August to join his parents at Pontefract on 24th August and formally given these titles on that date. Edward’s health was so poor that he had had to be conveyed in a chariot on this journey. Richard’s nephew Warwick and his bastard son, John of Pontefract (or Gloucester), were also knighted at this time.
10/9/1400On around the 10th September 1400, after a disastrous Scottish expedition for which Henry IV expected Robert III of Scotland to do homage to him, but failed, Henry’s shortage of provisions for his army caused a retreat via Newcastle, Durham and Northallerton to arrive at Pontefract. There he issued writs summoning a parliament to meet at York on 27th October.
10/9/1469On 10th September 1469, Edward IV was released from custody at Middleham Castle. The Earl of Warwick had withdrawn his support for Edward following the latter's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville and had, in fact, defeated the king at the Battle of Edgecote Moor. However, once he had Edward in captivity, Warwick literally did not know what to do with him and by September 1469 Edward was released and permitted to go to Pontefract. During these September days at Pontefract, Edward made plans for his future. He summoned the chief lords of his council to come immediately to Pontefract and they arrived with several hundred men horsed and armed. Edward and his supporters, including the Duke of Suffolk, Duke of Buckingham, Earls of Essex and Arundel, Lords  Buckingham, Dacre, Mountjoy and a thousand horse, made for London where they were heartily welcomed into the capital.
13/9/1409Isabela_richard_weddingIsabella of France was Queen Consort of England as the second spouse of King Richard II. She married the king at the age of six and was widowed three years later. She later married Charles, Duke of Orléans when he was twelve and she was sixteen. Isabella died in childbirth at the age of nineteen on 13th September 1409.
21/9/1478Between 21st and 25th September 1478 at Pontefract Castle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, presided, with Edward IV, over a commission of oyer and terminer (an inquiry into treasons, felonies and misdemeanours committed in specific counties).
21/9/1483On 21st September 1483, Richard III and Queen Anne left York having witnessed their son’s investiture as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, to travel to Pontefract, staying there until early October. It is likely that news of potential uprisings in the south reached Richard at this time.
22/9/1465On 22nd September 1465, a nearly thirteen-year- old Richard, brother of Edward IV, Duke of Gloucester and steward of the Duchy of Lancaster north of Trent with official residence at Pontefract Castle, was a principal guest at the enthronement (and later immense feast) of George Neville, the new Archbishop of York, at Cawood Castle, the palace of such archbishops. Seated with Richard were his elder sister Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk, the Countesses of Westmorland and Northumberland and two of the Earl of Warwick’s daughters, Isabel and Anne; the latter to be Richard’s wife and queen.
22/9/1483On 22nd September 1483, whilst at Pontefract Castle, Richard III, hearing news of southern discontent, removed Robert Morton, a nephew of Bishop John Morton, from his post as Master of the Rolls of Chancery, a key administrative position. On this day, Richard also wrote to Southampton and probably other south coast towns telling the mayor to prevent the wearing of livery badges within the town, concerned about such ports being incited to rebel from foreign shores.
23/9/1483On 23rd September 1483, whilst at Pontefract Castle, Richard III, hearing news of southern discontent, seized all the possessions of Lionel, Bishop of Salisbury, one of Elizabeth Woodville’s brothers.
7/9/1533On 7th Sept 1533, Elizabeth I was born. Elizabeth, towards the close of her reign, repaired Pontefract Castle, and rebuilt the Chapel of St Clement within it.
7/9/1619On 7th September 1619, Parliamentarian Major General John Lambert was born at Calton Hall, near Kirkby Malham, Yorkshire. He was promoted Commissary General of the Northern Association in January 1645, effectively deputy to Thomas Fairfax, Captain-General and commander of the New Model Army. Lambert was wounded during the first siege of Pontefract Castle when Marmaduke Langdale’s Royalist relief force made the Parliamentarians retreat. He was a leading figure in the compilation of the Instrument of Government, the ‘constitution’ of Cromwell’s Protectorate in England, and on Charles II’s Restoration was exempted from execution as he had not participated in Charles I’s trial due to his absence at the third siege of Pontefract Castle.
26/9/1644On 26th September 1644, Royalists billeted infantry and cavalry troops in Pontefract. The cost on the town can be deduced from contemporary records to be around £21. 13s. 4d. (£2547 in today's money) for one day and night. This would be a huge expense for the town if troops were there for extended periods.
10/9/1887On 10th September 1887, the ‘Sheffield Independent’ reported that: ‘On Saturday, an assault-at-arms (display of skills performed as public entertainment) was given at Pontefract Castle grounds by a number of men from the Pontefract Regimental District by permission of Colonel W Byram CB’.
10/9/1889On 10th September 1889, the Historical Museum at the Old Guard House at Pontefract Castle was finally closed.
26/9/1934On 26th September 1934, a World War 1 tank (tank No. 289), on display at Pontefract Castle since 1919, was removed from the castle to Nevison's Leap. The tank was eventually cut up for salvage in World War II.