Sandal Castle – 14th Century

DateEvent
31/1/1308On 31st January 1308, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was one of the principal signatories to the Boulogne Agreement. This document sought to assert the signatories’ duty to guard the king’s honour and rights of the Crown and redress any wrongs that had been committed against such and the people. Its successor Boulogne Declaration’s three articles in April 1308, invoked the “doctrine of capacities” stipulating that the subjects of the realm owed allegiance to the Crown not to the person of the king. Any abuse of the king’s position should be corrected by his subjects. Piers Gaveston, Edward II’s court favourite, was also implicitly attacked in the document (with his removal tacitly suggested) and the king was obliged to adhere to his coronation oath.
1/2/1327On 1st February 1327, John de Warenne, the 7th and final Earl of Surrey, was present at the coronation of Edward III. However, with the accession of Edward III, John would lose his estates, including Sandal, as they reverted to royal control, only regaining them in 1334. When the earl died in June 1347, Sandal and his other Yorkshire lands passed to the king. The titles of Earl Warenne and Earl of Surrey lapsed on his death.
2/2/1316In February 1316, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey,  began divorce proceedings against his wife, Joan, although there is no historical record of this having ever been finalised. John would have many illegitimate children with Maud de Nerford and Isabel de Warenne.
1/3/1322On 1st March 1322, Edward II at Tutbury issued a writ of aid to his brother, Edmund of Kent, and to John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and last of the Warennes to own Sandal Castle, to besiege Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, at his castle at Pontefract. John was also given the task of arresting Lancaster. Thomas would flee Pontefract only to be defeated and captured on the 17th March at the Battle of Boroughbridge.
22/3/1322John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey,  who had lost Sandal castle to Thomas of Lancaster in a private war in 1317, was amongst the hastily-convened nobles who met, tried and passed judgement on Thomas Earl of Lancaster in the Great Hall of his magnificent fortress at Pontefract. On 22nd March 1322, Thomas was executed on a hill outside his castle with his face facing north towards Scotland with whom he was accused of conspiring. With two or three clumsy strokes, Thomas was beheaded and his head held aloft for Edward II to see.
31/3/1309By late March 1309 - the exact date is unclear from any source - Edward II was in a stronger position than the year previously and may have been advocating the return of Piers Galveston from Ireland. The earls were still not fully behind the king and met at Dunstable in late March, under the auspices of a tournament, to discuss the situation. This gathering was probably led by Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster - the owner of Pontefract Castleand the most powerful nobleman in England. Thomas was now becoming the most vocal of Piers Gaveston's opponents, and at this meeting in Dunstable, John de Warenne - 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - agreed to serve Lancaster with eighty men-at-arms.
7/4/1317In April 1317,  John de Warenne, owner of Sandal Castle, had a bitter quarrel with his neighbour at Pontefract, Thomas Earl of Lancaster. A squire in John de Warenne's service abducted Alice de Lacy, the wife of Thomas, from her manor at Canford in Dorset, to John's castle at Reigate in Surrey. Questions were raised by contemporary chroniclers over the degree to which Alice may have been complicit in the kidnap. The disreputable Warenne is thought to have carried out the abduction in order to humiliate Thomas, who had helped block de Warenne's divorce. In the summer of 1317, Thomas took his revenge by capturing Sandal and Conisbrough Castles and occupied their lands.  The castle would remain in Thomas' hands until his defeat at the Battle of Boroughbridge on 16th March 1322. John regained the castle in 1326 but it was only granted to him until his death, when it reverted to the Crown. John  died in 1347, and the castle passed to the king.
25/4/1341On 25th April 1341, Archbishop Stratford of Canterbury, was refused entry to Edward III’s parliament in the Painted Chamber at Westminster, sparking the so-called ‘Crisis of 1341’. Stratford had lambasted the king for his ‘tyrannical’ behaviour and forbade the payment of clerical taxation; even threatening excommunication. Edward had charged the archbishop with treason and informed the pope that the archbishop’s exile was being considered. John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, bravely smoothed the way for Stratford’s welcome back into the king’s favour by arguing that the parliament as then constituted was illegitimate as some attendees should not be present and some who should be leading proceedings were barred.
10/5/1312Scarborough_CastleOn 10th May 1312,  John de Warenne, lord of Sandal Castle,  started to besiege Scarborough Castle along with the Earls of Pembroke, Percy and Clifford. John was normally loyal to the king but Edward II's 'antics' with Piers Gaveston had proved too much for him.
19/5/1312Scarborough_CastleOn 19th May 1312, Piers Gaveston, the favourite knight of King Edward II, surrendered Scarborough Castle after only 9 days, due to having no food. Gaveston had been left there by Edward while he raised support in the North. The besieging forces included John de Warenne, owner of Sandal Castle, who had become exasperated with the King's obsession with  Gaveston. John was not party, however, to the subsequent execution of Gaveston.
22/5/1306On 22nd May 1306, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was knighted by Edward I, along with the Prince of Wales, the future Edward II.
25/5/1306On 25th May 1306, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey, and owner of Sandal Castle, married eleven-year-old Joan of Bar, daughter of Henry III, Count of Bar, and Eleanor of England, eldest daughter of Edward I. De Warenne’s troubled marriage to Joan bore no children but he had several illegitimate ones by his mistress, Matilda de Nerford. He began divorce proceedings against Joan in February 1316 but there is no evidence this was completed. He tried for many years to divorce Joan, even citing he had had an affair with Edward II’s sister (Joan's aunt), Mary, a nun. Near the end of his life, he took another mistress, Isabella Holland, sister of Thomas Holland, later Earl of Kent. His will included: “I bequeath to Isabel de Holand, my compaigne, my gold ring with the good ruby, the five gold rings placed as stars which are in my golden eagle, so that she put other rings in their place, such as she shall please, the complete principal vestments for my chapel, with the complete fittings for the altar, my censer of silver gilt and enamel, my golden cup with a little [English: “Ewer”] of silver gilt, all my beds, great and small, except those which I have bequeathed to othera [sic, plural], the great dish, the silver pot for alms, three plates for spices, all my vessels of plain silver, as in dishes, saucers, basins, washing dishes, chargers, cups and goblets, except those which I have bequeathed to others in this Testament,”
5/6/1334The Chronicle of Lanercost records that: ‘Louis de Beaumont, Bishop of Durham, [died] … In his place the monks of Durham elected one of their con-fraternity, Sir Robert of Greystanes, a man in every respect worthy of such a dignity and a doctor of sacred theology. When he came before the king and besought his grace for the baronies and lands belonging to the bishopric, the king received him graciously enough ; but in the end replied that he had sent his own clerk. Master Richard de Bury, Doctor in Theology, to the court of my lord the Pope upon certain important affairs of the realm, and that among other things he had requested him that Richard might be made Bishop of Durham ; but, in the event of his not obtaining what he asked from the Pope then he would willingly grant him [Robert] all the grace he craved. This reply notwithstanding, that monk went before his Archbishop of York, was consecrated by him, was afterwards installed, received the submission of the clergy of the diocese, and performed other acts pertaining to the office of bishop. After this, the aforesaid Master Richard returned from the Pope's court bringing with him to England a bull wherein it was set forth that the Pope had granted him the bishopric of Durham, and that he might be consecrated by any bishop whom he should choose. And consecrated he was in England, but not by the Archbishop of York. Thus were there two bishops consecrated for one bishopric ; but one of them, to wit the monk, shortly after went the way of all flesh ; whereby Master Richard remained as Bishop of Durham, and held a most solemn festival on the day of his installation, to wit, the fifth day of June in the year 1334. My lord the King of England was present, also the Queen, my lord King Edward of Scotland, two English earls, to wit, the king's brother the Earl of Cornwall and the Earl of Warenne (owner of Sandal Castle) four Scottish earls, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Carlisle and a great multitude of clergy and people.’
10/6/1314On 10th June 1314, John de Warenne - 7th Earl of Surrey - was at Sandal Castle. John had been told the previous month that he could not be legally separated from his wife Joan of Bar, whilst since 1311, John had been living openly with his mistress, Maud de Nerford. It was on this date i.e 10th June 1314, that John de Warenne wrote from Sandal Castle to Walter Reynolds, Archbishop of Canterbury, as follows; "To the honourable Father in God and our dear friend Walter by the grace of God Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England, his son John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, greeting and due honour. Sire, in respect to that which we have learnt by your order, be pleased to understand that we are and shall be ready to do everything that Holy Church can demand by law and in reason, and upon divers other points we shall answer you in time, in such a manner that no man shall be able to blame us rightfully or with reason: and, Sire, if you wish us to do anything that we can, be pleased confidently to command us, and we will do it to the utmost of our power. Adieu, Sire, and may God preserve you. Given at our castle of Sandale the 10th day of June."
12/6/1334On 12th June 1334, John de Warenne - 7th and last Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - was in Newcastle, to witness his cousin, Edward Balliol, cede much of Scotland south of the Firth of Forth, to King Edward III. It was in 1334 that John finally recovered ownership of Sandal Castle from royal hands. He would continue in ownership of Sandal Castle until his death in June 1347.
14/6/1309A tournament provided an ideal opportunity to convene large numbers of magnates and knights without arousing suspicion, but it was also of concern to a ‘beleaguered’ monarch. On 14th June 1309, letters close were issued to the following six Earls, and to no others, forbidding them to tourney: Gloucester, Herford, Warwick, Lancaster (of Pontefract), Warenne (of Sandal) and Arundel.
16/6/1317Around 14th June 1317, the people of Bromfield and Yale, in North Wales, wrote to their lord, de Warenne ,Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, to tell him that they had been threatened by Thomas of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, who had written to them to say that he meant to have their land and that if they behaved well towards him he would be a good lord to them, but that he would have the country ‘une manere ou autre’. They appealed to Warenne for help, saying that they could do nothing against such a great power and begged him to ask the king to order the Justices of Wales and Chester and the sheriffs to go to their aid. De Warenne forwarded a copy of this petition to the King on 14th June, expressing surprise that the Earl should act in this way. He asked for speedy help from the justices and the king’s men in those parts for the defence of his lands and the king’s honour. A minute of the council’s decision on the matter survives. De Warenne was to be told to go to Bromfield to guard his own lands if he wished, while Lancaster was to be informed of de Warenne’s message to the king and ordered to refrain from breaking the peace in that region; letters close to this effect were sent to Lancaster on 16th June.
29/6/1347House of YorkOn 29th June 1347, John de Warenne, the 7th and final Earl of Surrey (some historians show him as the 8th Earl) died at Conisbrough Castle and was buried in Lewes Priory, East Sussex. The earl's land, including Sandal Castle, reverted to the crown. John had lost his possessions during his dispute of 1317 with Thomas Earl of Lancaster and, on the subsequent execution of Thomas in March 1322, the lands became the Crown's ownership. It was not until 1326 that John regained some of his lands, and only in 1334 that he regained the castles at Conisbrough and Sandal, but only on the proviso they remained with him until his death, when they would again revert to the Crown. On the death of John, Sandal passed to Edward III who granted it to his fourth son Edmund Langley, Duke of York. It would be from this lineage that the castle would come into the possession of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and become his key base in the North during the Wars of the Roses 1455-1485.
17/7/1328The Chronicle of Lanercost records that on the 17th July 1328: The ‘young king [Edward III] gave his younger sister, my lady Joan of the Tower, in marriage to David, son of Robert de Brus, King of Scotland, he being then a boy five years old. All this was arranged by the king's mother the Queen [dowager] of England, who at that time governed the whole realm. The nuptials were solemnly celebrated at Berwick on Sunday next before the feast of S. Mary Magdalene. The King of England was not present at these nuptials, but the queen mother was there, with the king's brother and his elder sister and my lords the Bishops of Lincoln, Ely and Norwich, and the Earl of Warenne (owner of Sandal Castle) Sir Roger de Mortimer and other English barons, and much people, besides those of Scotland, who assembled in great numbers at those nuptials.’
7/8/1318On 7th August 1318, Thomas of Lancaster and King Edward II had temporarily resolved their differences, meeting somewhere between Lpoughborough and Leicester and exchanging a 'kiss of peace'. Within two days, those barons that opposed Lancaster presented themselves before him and were 'received into his grace' - with a notable exception of John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle. It would appear that King Edward II abandoned John de Warenne in the interests of peace, leaving Lancaster to pursue his private feud with John, which had seen Lancaster's wife Alice abducted by one St Richard de St Martin - a knight in John's retinue, whilst Lancaster opposed John's divorce from his wife Joan. The feud which had seen Lancaster capture John's castles at Sandal and Conisbrough, would now see Lancaster hunt down John and imprison him at Pontefract Castle. John was forced to come to terms with Lancaster, coming to an agreement in 1319, which meant giving up most of his Yorkshire estates, including Sandal. King Edward II state that Lancaster could hold the estates during John's lifetime, but they would revert to John's heirs on his death. John also acknowledged that he owed Lancaster a debt of £50000, although none was ever collected.
20/8/1321On 20th August 1321, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was pardoned by Edward II for anything done against the Despensers earlier that year. The Despenser War (against Hugh the Younger and Hugh the Elder) led by the Marcher Lords, Roger Mortimer and Roger de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, and aided by Thomas Earl of Lancaster, was a baronial revolt against Edward II’s court favourites and the king himself.
29/8/1319On 29th August 1319, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, entered Scotland with Edward II on his unsuccessful campaign to repel the advance of Robert the Bruce into England.
27/9/1304On 27th September 1304,  John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey, died at Kennington in Kent, soon after returning from Scotland, and was interred at Lewes Priory with the service conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. John, the son of William de Warenne and Maud Marshall, had taken ownership of Sandal Castle in 1240 and would marry Alice de Brun de Lusignan in 1247, which would cause resentment amongst other nobles as she was penniless. On his death, his grandson, John de Warenne, would take ownership of Sandal becoming the 7th and last Earl of Surrey.
1/10/1310In October 1310, Edward II decided the time was right  to deal with the deteriorating military situation in Scotland. In February 1310, the Lords Ordainers had been established: a diverse group of twenty-one elected by an assembly of magnates. They consisted of eight earls, seven bishops and six barons, their natural leader being Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and Baron of Pontefract. Probably deciding a Scottish battlefield was a safer place for Gaveston than a meeting of English magnates, Edward II headed north. However, hardly any nobles were prepared to support him; the only exceptions being the Earl of Gloucester and John de Warenne, the seventh and last Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle.
31/10/1321On 31st October 1321, John de Warenne - 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - was with King Edward II, at the fall of Leeds Castle in Kent. The castle had been besieged following Queen Isabella coming under attack from the battlements when she sought shelter on her pilgrimage to Canterbury. John was now clearly back in the king's favour, but his lands in Yorkshire - including Sandal Castle - which had been given up when he had been forced to come to terms with Thomas Earl of Lancaster in 1319, would for the time being, remain in the king's hands, even after John would be one of the lords that would pass the death sentence on Lancaster in March 1322 at his trial in the Great Hall at Pontefract Castle. John would spend the summers of 1322 and 1323 campaigning in Scotland.
2/12/1307On 2nd December 1307, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, opposed Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, and court favourite of Edward II, at a tournament at Wallingford. Later, after Gaveston’s execution, Edward II forbade de Warenne to attend tournaments at Newmarket on the 17th January 1313 and Brackley on the 16th September that same year.