Sandal Castle – 12th Century

DateEvent
6/1/1148On 6th January 1148, William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey, was killed at the Battle of Mount Cadmus in Anatolia whilst accompanying his second cousin, Louis VII of France on the Second Crusade, and the Sandal estate passed to Isabel de Warenne, who married the younger son of King Stephen, William of Blois. When William died in 1159, Henry II was on the throne of England and he immediately married Isabel to his illegitimate half brother Hamelin de Plantagenet. The earliest buildings of stone at Sandal are likely to be the work of Hamelin.
2/2/1141On 2nd February 1141, William de Warenne , 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, fought at the Battle of Lincoln. The battle was fought between the forces of King Stephen and the Empress Matilda, during the eighteen years' civil war from 1135-1153, known as the Anarchy. William was a supporter of King Stephen, who was captured during the battle, imprisoned and effectively deposed whilst Matilda ruled for a short while. De Warenne and his brother were one of many earls fleeing before the enemy’s opening (and vastly superior) cavalry charge.
24/3/1146On 24th August 1146, near Vezelay in France, William de Warenne - 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - took the cross and committed himself to the Second Crusade 
1/4/1164In April 1164, Hamelin de Plantagenet(de Warenne)  married Isabel, the widow of William of Blois. On this marriage, Hamelin would become the 4th Earl of Surrey (some historians show him as the 5th Earl but both William of Blois and Hamelin are classed as the 4th Earl due to their marriages to Isabel de Warenne, the 4th Countess of Surrey) and took ownership of Sandal Castle. Hamelin was the illegitimate half brother of Henry II, being born in 1130 in Normandy, France to Geoffrey of Anjou and Adelaide d’Angers. Hamelin would be responsible for the building of Conisbrough Castle  and it is likely that the first stone castle at Sandal is his work. Indeed the de Warenne lands in England were vast and rich  and Yorkshire played a special role in their lives.
9/4/1139On 9th April 1139, a peace treaty was signed between King Stephen and King David I of Scots which included the marriage of Ada de Warenne to Prince Henry of Scotland. Ada born around 1120 to William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey , (and the owner of Sandal castle) and Isabel de Vermandois, was the great granddaughter of Henry I of France. Her niece, Isabel de Warenne, would marry King Stephen’s younger son, William of Blois. Being so connected, her marriage became of national importance and, therefore, when a peace treaty was signed between King Stephen and King David I of Scots on 9th April 1139, Ada’s marriage to Prince Henry was included in the terms of the treaty.
17/4/1194On 17th April 1194, Hamelin de Plantagenet - 4th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - carried one of the three swords at the second coronation of Richard I at Winchester Cathedral, on Richard's return from Germany.
23/4/1144On 23rd April 1144, the Castle of Rouen, the Duchy of Normandy’s capital city, garrisoned by William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, surrendered to Count Geoffrey of Anjou, husband of Empress Matilda, after a three months’ siege. Geoffrey was soon invested as Duke of Normandy, ceding Gisors and the Vexin to Louis VII of France in return for his recognising Geoffrey as the new Duke.  
11/5/1138On 11th May 1138, William de Warenne, the 2nd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, died and was buried in Lewes, Surrey. William had been born circa 1071 and had taken control of the castle in 1088. His father William, the 1st Earl of Surrey, was one of William the Conqueror's most trusted barons, who on his death was either the third or fourth richest magnate in England. It is assumed that the builder of the first Norman castle at Sandal was William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey. The earthenwork defence could well have been finished before his death in 1138.
27/5/1199On 27th May 1199, Hamelin de Warenne attended the coronation of King John at Westminster Abbey. The photo shows King John's tomb effigy in Worcester Cathedral.  William de Warenne, later 5th Earl of Surrey, and son of Hamelin was also present. William would take ownership of Sandal Castle in May 1202 and would be loyal to King John throughout his reign, being one of the counsellors, by whose advice, the king agreed to Magna Carta on 15th June 1215.
1/6/1119In June 1119 (the actual date is unclear), William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey was born in Normandy.  The son of William de Warenne and Elizabeth de Vermandois, he would take ownership of Sandal Castle in 1138.
1/8/1141On 1st August 1141 the Empress Matilda began to besiege the palatial castle of Bishop Henry of Winchester. The defenders threw burning material from the ramparts which began to set the whole city ablaze. At the same time, Queen Matilda (King Stephen's wife)  was now approaching Winchester with an army of her own, which included William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey, and owner of Sandal Castle. Following the Empress Matilda's flight from Winchester, William de Warenne would capture Robert, Duke of Gloucester - Matilda's half- brother - which would prove very useful as a bargaining agent in obtaining the release of King Stephen, who had  been captured at the Battle of Lincoln, earlier that year.
20/8/1119On 20th August 1119, William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, fights for Henry I at the Battle of Bremule against Louis VI(the Fat) of France. Henry’s victory helped to repel Louis’ designs on English estates in Normandy.
14/9/1141On Sunday 14th September 1141, the Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross, William de Warenne , 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was part of the army of Queeen Matilda of Boulogne,  the wife of the imprisoned King Stephen who had been captured at Lincoln in February of that year. Queen Matilda’s forces defeated those of the Empress Matilda at Winchester. Robert, Earl of Gloucester, one of the key supporters of the Empress Matilda, was captured, placed into the custody of William of Ypres and imprisoned at Rochester  Castle. William of Malmesbury wrote of Gloucester: "Such consciousness of his lofty rank did he breathe, that he could not be humbled by the outrage of fortune." He was later  exchanged for King Stephen who was returned to the throne on 1st November 1141, having been released from Bristol Castle but leaving his wife and son, Eustace, as hostages to guarantee good faith. However, this did not end the civil war which would drag on until 1153.
28/9/1106On 28th September 1106, William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, was with Henry I at the Battle of Tinchebrai and, for his support, William was granted Wakefield. At Tinchebrai, he commanded a division of Henry's invading and victorious royal army in Normandy against Duke Robert Curthouse of Normandy,  Henry’s older brother. This resulted in Curthouse’s capture and imprisonment in England and Wales until his death in 1134. In order to administer and secure his lands, de Warenne's  castle at Wakefield acted as a tax-gathering point and a defensive stronghold for the manor. This manor stretched five miles southwards towards Barnsley and ten miles westwards to the headwaters of the Calder in Sowerbyshire. The first castle was built on Lowe Hill in Thornes Park, nearer to Wakefield town; but was a weaker defensive position than Sandal. It could have been an 11th century royal castle of modest proportions or a 12th century castle built initially for a lord, but subsequently for the constable when the castle at Sandal was built. There is no direct evidence about which person ordered the construction work to begin on converting the earth-and-timber Sandal Castle to stone; however, the first mention of the castle is in 1240 when it is likely that the stone-built castle was nearing completion.
11/10/1159On 11th October 1159, William of Blois, 4th Earl of Surrey, died. William had taken ownership of Sandal Castle in 1148. William's parents were Stephen, Count of Boulogne, and Matilda Contessa de Boulogne. William had been born circa 1137 but did not want to be king, so his father Stephen acknowledged his cousin Matilda’s son, Henry, as his successor. The two centuries between the death of William of Blois in 1159 and the last Earl of Surrey in 1347 mark the period when the timber castle at Sandal was reconstructed in stone and received its full complement of buildings, which lasted until their destruction in the Civil War.
25/10/1154On 25th October 1154 , King Stephen died and, when the reign of Henry Plantagenet,  Henry II, began on 19th December 1154, Henry allowed William of Blois, 4th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, to retain the earldom of Surrey in right of his wife Isabel de Warenne. Many historical records (and indeed on this site) note the confusion around whether there were seven or  eight earls of Surrey who owned Sandal Castle. The answer is in fact seven, as both William of Blois and Hamelin de Plantagenet were both classed as the fourth earls due to their marriages to Isabel de Warenne, the 4th Countess of Surrey.