Sandal Castle – 13th Century

DateEvent
1/1/1269In 1268/69, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was involved in a dispute with Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, over rights to certain pasture lands. Both earls prepared for their forces’ confrontation but Henry III compelled them to refer their case to the courts, with a decision made in favour of de Lacy.
11/2/1225On 11th February 1225, William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was a witness to the definitive reissue of Magna Carta by Henry III.
15/3/1203On 15th March 1203 (some sources say 1204), William de Warenne - 5th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - was granted permission to hold a yearly fair at Wakefield.
7/4/1270The only part of Sandal Castle that can be dated exactly is the Barbican Tower, which was outside the main defensive keep but inside the defended courtyard. In the financial accounts of the local officials for the year 1270-71, it is mentioned that there is a supply of timber for building and scaffolding at the barbican. The Barbican Tower formed a stepping stone between the courtyard and the keep. Any attackers had to cross a drawbridge to reach it, then pass through its first gate that was protected by a portcullis, then turn through a right-angled passage, before having to deal with at last one other portcullis-protected gate within the tower. They would then have to cross a second drawbridge to reach the drum towers at the base of the keep. Finally, they would then have to ascend a stone staircase up the motte before reaching the keep, whilst being attacked from above.
16/4/1247In April 1247, John de Warenne, son of William de Warenne, (who had succeeded to his father's estates in 1240), married Alice de Lusignan, King Henry III's half sister. This marriage created resentment among the English nobility who did not like seeing a rich earl married to a penniless foreigner. John was the most warlike of all the Warenne earls and was largely responsible for the design of Sandal Castle in it's finished state.
17/4/1264On 17th April 1264, John de Warenne was garrison commander at Rochester castle, supporting Henry III in the Second Barons' War. At the start of the troubles in 1258, John had supported the King but later in 1261 changed sides to support Simon de Montfort, then two years later changed back to supporting the King at the Battle of Lewes in May 1264.
27/4/1296On 27th April 1296, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, commanded the only major field action of that year in the war between Edward I and the Scots.  This was the Battle of Dunbar when the Scots were comprehensively defeated. Some estimates put the Scottish dead at 10000 with 100 lords, knights and men at arms taken prisoner. Roxburgh, Jedburgh, Edinburgh and Stirling were soon to surrender to Edward’s forces over the next two months. The Chronicle of Lanercost records: ‘On the fifth of the kalends of May, at the ninth hour of Friday … when the Earl of Warenne and barely a fifth part of the King's army were preparing to go to bed, they [Scots] showed themselves boldly on the brow of a steep hill, provoking their enemy to combat. And although their columns were in close order and strong in numbers, before it was possible to come to close quarters [with them], they broke up and scattered more swiftly than smoke.’ 
7/5/1202Conisbrough CastleOn 7th May 1202, Hamelin de Plantagenet died. He was the illegitimate half brother of Henry II and a loyal supporter of the king. He provided a strong defence in Yorkshire against Scottish raiding parties. In 1164, he married Isabel de Warenne, who owned Sandal Castle. Hamelin was a significant builder and military innovator as his castle at Conisborough shows. The earliest stone castle at Sandal is likely to be his work.
8/5/1202King JohnOn 8th May 1202, Hamelin de Plantagenet, is succeeded by his son William de Warenne, the 5th Earl of Surrey. William now becomes owner of Sandal Castle. William remained loyal to King John throughout his reign, being one of the few nobles who did. William is one of the four nobles whose name appears on the Magna Carta for King John: "John by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, count of Anjou....greeting. Know that we, inspired by God and for the salvation of our soul........and the reform of our kingdom....... and of the noble men, William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warenne, William earl of Arundel...."
11/5/1264On 11th May 1264, Henry III arrived at Lewes which was in the keeping of his supporter John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, prior to the Battle of Lewes during the Second Barons’ War. The previous month, de Warenne and Roger de Leybourne had been besieged by the 6th Earl of Leicester’s (Simon de Montfort) forces at Rochester Castle.
14/5/1264On 14th May 1264, John de Warenne, the 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was present at the Battle of Lewes in support of King Henry III against the forces of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester. King Henry was captured along with his son, Prince Edward, his brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and various lords and Scots barons. With Henry’s capture at the battle, John would flee to the continent for at least a year, with his estates being confiscated, although they would be subsequently returned. John had been a strong supporter of Henry in the first Barons' War but had switched to Simon de Montfort, only to return to the king. He had opposed the initial baronial reform plan in 1258 but did capitulate to take the oath of the Provisions of Oxford.  
27/5/1240On 27th May 1240, William de Warenne - the 5th Earl of Surrey - and owner of Sandal Castle, died in London. William had been the son of Hamelin de Plantagenet and his wife Isabel, the 4th Countess of Surrey. William had been present at the coronation of King John and had been one of the few barons to continue to support John - his cousin - throughout his reign. Indeed when a general rebellion was feared in 1212, John had committed to him the custody of the northern shires. He was buried at Lewes Priory in Sussex. He was succeeded by his son John de Warenne at the age of nine years old. John became a ward of King Henry III and was raised at court.
11/6/1258On 11th June1258, a parliament including John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, met at Oxford with the nobles asking Henry III to reaffirm his commitment to the Great Charters and appoint a Justicular (soon to be Hugh Bigod, younger brother of the Earl of Norfolk) to help sort out the king's financial troubles. Although Henry agreed to put the new arrangements in place, de Warenne (married to the kings half-sister Alice de Lusignan) and William de Valence, the king's half-brother, opposed them. The outcome of these discussions was the royally sealed document, the Provisions of Oxford, and despite his reservations, de Warenne (a Henry supporter at the time) was one of the twenty-four member panel/council (half chosen by the king, half chosen by the barons) overseeing the Provisions’ enactment. The Provisions not only required the king to be advised by the council but the overseeing of the entire administration of Parliament and the reforming of the king’s and queen’s households. In attempting to avert civil war, it was a similar, albeit not as onerous, restriction of royal authority as the Magna Carta of 1215.
15/6/1215On 15th June 1215, William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal castle, was one of the advisers and supporters of King John advising the King to accede to Magna Carta. He was in stark contrast to John de Lacy of Pontefract Castle who was one of the 25 rebel barons united in their dislike of John  actively trying to force the King to observe Magna Carta. The following year, William left King John and supported Prince Louis of France's (later King Louis VIII) claim to the English throne. The claim of Prince Louis failed and William subsequently sided with King John's son Henry III.
19/6/1270On 19th June 1270 at a hearing in Westminster Hall concerning manorial rights, John de Warenne’s, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, followers overwhelmed Alan de la Zouche and his eldest son, causing serious harm to de la Zouche the elder who later died of a fever, brought on by his wounds, on 10th August. On fleeing, de Warenne was taken to Reigate castle by Prince Edward (later king), fined ten thousand marks (over £9 million in today's money ) and purged by the oath of twenty-five knights at Winchester.
20/6/1264On 20th June 1264, all of the lands of John de Warenne - 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - were seized by  Simon de Montfort who now had control of King Henry III. All estates, which included Sandal Castle, and with the exceptions of Reigate and Lewes, were given into the custody of Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester. The Sussex lands were given to the Simon de Montfort's second son, also called Simon de Montfort.
30/6/1253At some time in 1253 - no sources give an exact date - John de Warenne - 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle -  was convicted of unjustly enclosing common land in Wakefield and was ordered to remove the fences he had just erected.  John was known as a strict and unpopular landlord.
30/6/1268At some stage in 1268 - some sources credit this to 1269, although there is no exact date for either - John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was involved in a land dispute with Henry de Lacy, Lord of Pontefract. This quarrel was in danger of escalating into a private war, with both sides raising armies until King Henry III intervened and the royal justices determined that the pastureland in question belonged to Henry de Lacy.
30/6/1286On 30th June 1286, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey, was born. He succeeded his grandfather, John de Warenne (his father having been killed in a tournament when he was only six months old), in September 1304 as Earl of Surrey, becoming a ward of Edward I.  He was eight years old when his mother died. In 1306, he was married to King Edward I's granddaughter, Joan of Bar, when she was only ten. The marriage was unsuccessful and Joan was largely abandoned by her husband who had been trying to divorce her since 1313. John would have numerous illegitimate children during his life and would take ownership of Sandal Castle in 1304 at the age of eighteen. De Warenne’s aunt, Isabella de Warenne was married to John Balliol, who became king of Scotland in 1292.
30/6/1289At some stage in 1289 - the date is unclear - John de Warenne - 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - and Henry de Lacy - Earl of Lincoln and owner of Pontefract Castle - formed part of a commission that was set up to hear complaints by the Scots of extortions committed by northern sheriffs.
6/7/1296On the Octaves of Apostles Peter and Paul (6th July 1296), magnates and prelates of Scotland assembled a parliament at Stirling. The Chronicle of Lanercost records: ‘They insultingly refused audience to my lord the Earl of Warenne, father-in-law of the King of Scotland, and to the other envoys of my lord the King of England ; nor would they even allow so great a man, albeit a kinsman of their own king, to enter the castle.’
12/7/1203On the 12th July 1203, Isabel de Warenne,  the widow of Hamelin de Plantagenet and the 4th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, died and was buried next to Hamelin in the Chapter House at Lewes Priory.
22/7/1298On 22nd July 1298, John de Warenne , 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was present at the Battle of Falkirk which would prove a decisive English victory in Edward I's conflict with the Scots.
1/8/1242In August 1242, Edmund de Lacy, later lord of Pontefract, and John de Warenne, heir to the earldom of Surrey and Sandal Castle, both in royal custody due to the ‘premature’ deaths of their fathers, were granted a gift of two deer by Henry III. This was indicative of their esteem within the royal household.
4/8/1265John de Warenne , 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, had returned from his exile on the continent following the defeat of Henry III at Lewes in 1264. On 4th August 1265, John was present at the climactic Battle of Evesham when Henry III would finally defeat Simon de Montfort and his supporters.
9/8/1277On 9th August 1277, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was one of many nobles, after Edward I and Queen Eleanor, to lay stones on the spot where the high altar of Edward’s new Christian abbey, near Northwich, on the banks of the River Weaver, was to be built. It was intended that Vale Royal (Edward’s preferred name for the abbey) was to be the largest of its kind in Britain, larger than it’s sister house at Fountains, Yorkshire.
22/8/1296On 22nd August 1296, Edward I appointed John de Warenne, 6th earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, Warden of the kingdom and land of Scotland. Scotland was to be governed by an English administrative network of predominantly English sheriffs, soldiers and constables. Edward I remarked wryly ‘a man does good business when he rids himself of a turd’. Seemingly despairing of the new position, de Warenne was soon offering the role to others and spent most of his time in northern England, including Sandal, to be as far away as possible from the Scottish weather!
3/9/1296On 3rd September 1296, King Edward I appointed John de Warenne - 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle (and victor at the Battle of Dunbar), to be Scotland’s new colonial governor based in Berwick. Scotland was to be governed by an English administrative network of predominantly English sheriffs, soldiers and constables. Edward wryly remarked: “a man does good business when he rids himself of a turd”. Seemingly despairing of his new position, de Warenne was soon offering the role to others and spent most of his time in northern England as far away as practically possible from the Scottish weather.  
10/9/1299On 10th September 1299, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, attended the wedding performed by Archbishop Winchelsea, at Canterbury Cathedral, of the sixty-year-old Edward I to the seventeen-year-old Margaret of France, Philip IV’s sister. Eleanor of Castile, the first wife of Edward I, had died in 1290.
11/9/1297On 11th September 1297, John de Warenne, 6th earl of Surrey, gave the order for the English forces to cross the narrow, wooden bridge over the Forth at Stirling to attack the outnumbered Scottish forces, on the northern shore, led by William Wallace and Andrew Murray. De Warenne had delayed the crossing for several days to allow for negotiations, sure that the Scots would choose peace over war in the light of recent English victories and their obvious military superiority. The ensuing slaughter at the Battle of Stirling Bridge of the half-formed, stranded and enclosed English army on the northern side resulted in many deaths including Hugh Cressingham, treasurer of the English administration in Scotland. De Warenne, on the southern shore ordered the bridge destroyed and retreated immediately to Berwick.
13/10/1225On 13th October 1225, William de Warenne , 5th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, married Maud Marshall, with whom he would have a son, John. Throughout his life, William was a strong supporter of King John, and it was only in 1216 when he had been appointed as Warden of the Cinque Ports did he briefly  desert John and supported Louis of France. However, within a year, he would be  a committed supporter of Henry III. William had taken ownership of Sandal Castle in 1202, being the son of Hamelin de Plantagenet and Isabel.
22/11/1200William_I_King_of_Scots_SealIn November 1200, Hamelin de Warenne was present at Lincoln when William, King of Scotland, came to pay homage to King John and swear fealty to him.
15/12/1286On 15th December 1286, William de Warenne, son of John de Warenne - 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - was killed at a tournament in Croydon, just 6 months after the birth of his son and heir, John, who would become the seventh and last Earl of Surrey and last of the de Warenne's to own Sandal Castle.