Sandal Castle – 15th Century

DateEvent
2/1/1461Margaret of AnjouFollowing the Lancastrian victory at Wakefield, Lancastrian forces  joined  the Queen Consort, Margaret of Anjou, and her army of northern and Scots mercenaries at York. The Lancastrian commanders then planned to liberate King Henry VI from his Yorkist 'gaolers' in London. In early January 1461, the whole army headed south along the Great North Road. The Lancastrians had much of the nobility in their ranks and marched under the banner of the Prince of Wales with the emblems of the white swan and ostrich feather. The northern mercenaries were, unfortunately, generally no more than a rabble and widespread pillaging on their way south severely damaged what little favourable public opinion the Lancastrians held in the country.  These actions would be a key factor in the events that were to follow at the second Battle of St Albans and Battles of Mortimers Cross and Towton. Also, on this date, Cecily, Duchess of York, and her children Margaret, George and Richard heard news of the Duke of York's death and post mortem insults inflicted upon his body and Cecily sent her two sons off to safety in Burgundy (Utrecht) via an unspecified port in the Low Countries.
9/1/1452On 9th January 1452, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle, was at Ludlow and issued a formal protest of his loyalty to Henry VI and denial of any treasonous plans. He offered to take an oath to Bishop Reginald Boulers of Hereford and John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury if they would come and administer it.
12/1/1454On 12th January 1454, Queen Margaret presented a bill of five articles to the council requesting that a regent (Margaret herself) with ‘whole rule of this land’ be appointed until her husband, Henry VI recovered from his mental incapacity. This regent would have right to appoint ‘the chancellor, the treasurer, the privy seal and all other officers of this land, with sheriffs and all other officers that the king should make….(together with the power)…to give all the bishoprics of this land and all other benefices belonging to the king’s gift..’ This was Margaret’s bold move to try to prevent Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) assumption of power during (and beyond?) Henry’s incapacitation and the impending threat to the interests of her four-months-old son, Prince Edward.
18/1/1425On 18th January 1425, Richard Plantagenet’s (Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle), uncle, Edmund Mortimer, died of plague after having been sent to Ireland. Richard now assumed the titles of Earl of March and Ulster and the Mortimer lands in Wales and border territories. These lands, however, were held in trust by Mortimer’s widow, Anne Stafford by reason of Richard’s ‘nonage’ (minority).
28/1/1457On 28th January 1457, Henry Tudor was born at Pembroke Castle in Wales. It would be Henry on 22nd August 1485, who would bring the Wars of the Roses to a conclusion with his decisive defeat of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, thus ending the period of Yorkist rule and heralding the commencement of the Tudor dynasty, and with it, the loss of Sandal castle’s pre-eminent place in the government of the north.
2/2/1461Battle-of-Mortimers-CrossOn 2nd February 1461, a Yorkist force, under Edward the Earl of March (soon to be Edward IV), defeated a Welsh Lancastrian force at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross.
3/2/1452On 3rd February 1452, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), wrote from Ludlow to the citizens of Shrewsbury enlisting help in detaining the Duke of Somerset: ‘It is well known unto you….whilst the kingdom’s sovereign lord stood possessed of his lordship in the realm of France and duchy of Normandy; and what derogation, loss of merchandise, lesion of honour and villainy, is…reported generally unto the English nation, for loss of the same…..through the envy, malice and untruth of the Duke of Somerset…who ever prevails and rules about the king’s person.’
7/2/1460On 7th February 1460, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and still Lieutenant of Ireland despite his fleeing from the Battle of Ludford Bridge the previous October, summoned a Parliament to meet at Drogheda, in a session which lasted until 21st July. York had retained the support of the country’s Parliament including the influential Fitzgerald family; James Fitzgerald, 6th Earl of Desmond having been godfather to York’s son George in 1449. During York’s rule, the Irish Parliament declared itself legally independent from England, effectively making York King of Ireland.
9/2/1455On 9th February 1455, Richard Duke of York - whose northern stronghold was Sandal castle - was stripped of his Protectorate by the now recovered Henry VI. He was also stripped of the Captaincy of Calais which was again awarded to Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset. York’s ally, Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, was also removed from his position as Chancellor.
9/2/1456On 9th February 1456, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle, and Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, arrived for the next Parliamentary session at Westminster appearing with large armed retinues as if in anticipation of arrest by their opponents.
10/2/1441Richard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) son, Henry, was born at Hatfield, on Friday 10th Feb 1441.
11/2/1451On 11th February 1451, Henry VI dissolved parliament, had Thomas Young (Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle), parliamentary champion suggesting York be Henry’s heir) sent to the Tower and confirmed York as Lieutenant-General of Ireland for the remaining seven years of his term; hoping that York would return to Irish exile as soon as possible.
11/2/1456On 11th February 1456, John Bocking, a servant of wealthy Norfolk knight, Sir John Fastolf, wrote to his master regarding the second protectorate of Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle. York had attempted to impose a controversial financial retrenchment (act of resumption) on the royal household in order to bring its finances under control. Bocking commented: The resumption, men trust, shall forth, if my lord of York’s first power of protectorship stand, and else not……The queen is a great and strong laboured woman, for she spares no pain to sue her things to an intent and conclusion of her power.’ Queen Margaret, thwarted in her bid to assume the regency during her husband’s illness, was, nevertheless, doing all she could to oppose York.
15/2/1442On 15th February 1442, as his first contingent of soldiers hired from England for six months headed home having completed their service, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and Lieutenant-General of Normandy, sent John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, to London for more men and money.
16/2/1452On 16th February 1452, Henry VI and the Duke of Somerset left London to block Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) path to the city from Ludlow. York was heading to the capital with a force several thousands strong in order to remove Somerset as Henry’s chief adviser. Henry’s accompanying fifteen other nobles included: the dukes of Buckingham, Exeter and York’s old ally, Norfolk.
17/2/1461Earl of Warwick, Richard NevilleAs news spread of the destruction brought about by the Lancastrian army on its march south, the Earl of Warwick, unsure if the Lancastrians would soon appear, left London with a Yorkist army and King Henry VI in tow. Warwick set up a defensive perimeter around St Albans and on 17th February engaged with the Lancastrian army. In the Second Battle of St Albans the Yorkists were routed. Warwick and many of the Yorkist commanders managed to escape but, in the confusion, left behind Henry VI who was found under a tree. Two Yorkist knights who were charged with guarding the king had stayed with Henry VI and were captured and ordered to be beheaded by Henry's seven year old son, Edward.
17/2/1472On 17th February 1472, Sir John Paston II reported to his brother concerning the impending marriage of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, to Anne Neville. Richard’s brother, George, Duke of Clarence, was particularly anxious regarding his sister-in-law’s marriage as, under law, he was his wife Isabel’s co-heir. George and Isabel had taken the widowed Anne into their care (charge) and, as the Crowland Chronicle stated: ‘…had the girl hidden away so that his brother would not know where she was, since he feared a division of the inheritance…The Duke of Gloucester, however, was so much the more astute, that having discovered the girl dressed as a kitchen-maid in London, he had her moved into sanctuary at St Martin’s.’
20/2/1436On 20th February 1436, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, belatedly signed his contract with the council to serve with 500 men-at-arms and 2500 archers in France for a year as Lieutenant-General of Normandy. He was not appointed full governor as he had desired and hence had no authority over Duke Humphrey of Gloucester at Calais. Supposedly, he was to receive £30,000 (over £23 million in today’s money) per annum.
21/2/1460On 21st February 1460, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and Lieutenant of Ireland, formally confirmed his sixteen-years-old son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, as Chancellor of Ireland ‘to exercise the office in person or by his sufficient deputy for whom he is willing to answer, taking yearly the accustomed fees, wages and rewards, profits and commodities, due and accustomed to that office of old.’
22/2/1452On 22nd February 1452, Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) forces were close to those of Henry VI near Northampton. York had been marching upon London in order to remove the Duke of Somerset (and other ‘traitors') as Henry’s chief adviser. York refused to disband his army and moved towards Kent aiming to rouse the same rebels who had demanded much the same of Henry in 1450. Having the gates of London barred to him, York, the Earl of Devon and Lord Cobham were confronted by Henry’s vastly superior forces at Dartford.
25/2/1425On 25th February 1425, the title of Duke of York was restored, having been stripped because of Richard of Cambridge’s treason and execution in 1415. Richard, Earl of Cambridge (father of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle) was the second eldest son of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York. When his elder and childless brother, Edward, 2nd Duke of York, was killed at the Battle of Agincourt, young Richard Plantagenet later inherited the title, with the attainder on his gaining all of the dukedom’s rights and lands lifted as he reached adulthood.
25/2/1447On 25th February 1447, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), accepted, from Henry VI, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester’s estate of Great Wratting, Suffolk, two days after his ally’s questionable death. York was not the only noble whose compliance was ‘bought’ with generous grants from Gloucester’s estates.
25/2/1456On 25th February 1456, Richard, Duke of York, was sent an emphatic and strongly worded letter to his castle at Sandal : ‘We on the 25th February in our said parliament, with the advice and assent of the lords spiritual and temporal being in the same parliament, have discharged you from the responsibility or change and name of Lord Protector and Defender. We order you not to intervene at all in any further responsibility or charge and name of the protector and defender of our aforesaid kingdom of England and our principle councillor and name of the aforesaid. For we wish you to be completely discharged of the responsibility or charge and name of the aforesaid.’ Albeit discharged of ‘kingly’ powers, York was expected to deal with a new crisis in the realm: Scotland’s James II‘s incursion into Cumbria. James did reportedly offer to help York in his claim to the English throne. This pattern of expecting York to meet a crisis in government and then being side-lined was one he was unable to break.
26/2/1461King_Edward_IVOn 26th February 1461, after the Lancastrians' victory at the Second Battle St Albans their army marched on the capital but, with their notorious reputation  now common knowledge,  Londoners closed the city gates. Rather than trying to take the capital by force, the Lancastrian army turned north to regroup and plan its next course of action. It now  began to march north to the city of York. The Earl of Warwick now convinced Richard Duke of York's son, Edward,  to proclaim himself king; the Duke of York was dead and under the Act of Accord, Edward, his heir, could claim the throne on Henry VI's death. Albeit Henry was still (presumably) alive, Edward, Warwick and their supporters claimed the throne by virtue of  Henry VI and his followers  breaching the agreement by causing 'unrest, inward war and trouble, unright wiseness, and the shedding and effusion of innocent blood'. The Yorkists called on the citizens of London to accept Edward as king and save them from the 'dissolute' Lancastrians. Edward was now acknowledged (at least in London) as Edward IV, King of England. These events would lead in the following weeks to the climactic battles at Ferrybridge and Towton where the future of the crown would be decided.
27/2/1452On the 27th February 1452, Richard Duke of York- owner of Sandal Castle - arrived at Dartford with an army of 23,000 men ahead of a meeting with King Henry VI who had marched down from the Midlands with an army of approximately the same size.  Henry was always nervous of Richard's intentions, perhaps on many occasions with no substance, but he was always looking to protect his own favourite, Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset. Henry sent a delegation to Richard - which interestingly included, Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury and his son, Richard, Earl of Warwick who would both fight with York against the king in forthcoming years -  to ascertain what were York's demands. York's demand was simply the removal of Somerset from the king's side and that he be arrested.  York would be told that Henry had agreed and would arrest Somerset on which news Richard  disbanded his army on March 1st. This probably goes a long way to emphasising that at this stage, Richard had no intention of seizing the throne, for if he did, there would be no reason for him to take this course of action.
29/2/1452On 29th February 1452, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle, crossed the River Thames to Dartford. Having been refused entry to London, Richard was now pursued by Henry VI’s Royalist army commanded by Lord Bonville and the Duke of Buckingham. The loss of France, York’s intense rivalry with the king’s adviser, the Duke of Somerset, Richard’s stance on (as he saw it) an inefficient, unwieldy and corrupt Government and his lack of a meaningful governmental role had placed him as the leader of the ‘loyal opposition’.
1/3/1452On March 1st 1452, Richard Duke of York - owner of Sandal Castle - disbands his army at Dartford on hearing that King Henry VI had agreed to his demand to arrest Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset. Richard would subsequently meet Henry in the king's tent, only to find that he had been deceived and that Somerset stood at Henry's side. Richard was seized and taken prisoner in front of the man who would now be his arch rival. Somerset had won another victory over the Duke of York.
1/3/1484Ob 1st March 1484, Elizabeth Woodville’s agreement with Richard III, lord of Sandal, saw her emerging from sanctuary at Westminster Abbey with her daughters, her youngest son, Richard, having been ‘let go’ the previous June. Some say that Elizabeth had no alternative than to come to terms with her brother-in-law, others that she did not believe him guilty of the murder of her two sons, the ‘Princes in the Tower’, considering Richard had promised to protect her daughters and find suitable husbands. Richard’s later large financial grant to his supporter, Sir James Tyrell, for secret business in the Low Countries, has been seen by some Ricardians as evidence of the two Princes secreted abroad with possibly Perkin Warbeck (aka Richard of York) invading to claim the throne over thirteen years later.
3/3/1452On 3rd March 1452, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle, had to submit to going to Henry VI's camp at Welling, where he and his current backers, the Earl of Devon and Lord Cobham, vainly presented a list of charges against Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset to the king. One source claims that Edward did arrest Beaufort but Queen Isabella made him release him.
5/3/1452On 5th March 1452, Richard, 3rd Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle, was forced to ride through London’s streets to the altar of St Paul’s Cathedral and recite an oath of fealty to Henry VI. Only a week earlier, York’s army had reached Blackheath with York demanding the arrest of Henry’s close adviser, Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. After accepting Henry’s promise of Somerset’s arrest (not fulfilled) and disbanding his army, York swore never again to take up arms against Henry, duly come whenever he was summoned and expose any plots against the king he became aware of. A chastened York withdrew to his fortress at Ludlow on the Welsh border.
16/3/1485On 16th March 1485, Queen Anne Neville, wife of Richard III, lord of Sandal, died at Westminster, probably of tuberculosis. An eclipse on this day was read by some as an omen of her husband’s fall from heavenly grace and rumours even circulated of his having poisoned her in order to marry his niece, Elizabeth of York.
20/3/1471In late March 1471, after having returned from exile and landed at Ravenspur on the River Humber, Edward of York moved his army around the Marquess of Montagu’s forces at Pontefract and arrived at Sandal Castle, the scene of his father's death. Despite, at this stage, having a far greater force composed of local militias (estimates say 6,000 to 7,000 men) than Edward, Montagu chose to track him as he moved south. Seemingly, even Pontefract Castle's bailiff deserted Montagu for the returning king, taking the castle's funds with him.
23/3/1454On 23rd March 1454, a delegation of twelve lords of church and state attended an incapacitated Henry VI at Windsor Castle to try and seek his opinion on whom should replace Cardinal Kempe as chancellor: a decision solely within the king’s prerogative but vital if the machinery of government was still to function. The ‘balanced’ delegation represented the interests of both Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle) who sought the regency in the king’s absence and Queen Margaret and the court. Despite many attempts throughout the day to elicit a clear response from Henry, ‘they could obtain no answer’. This episode was the prelude to York’s election as chief councillor and protector and defender of the realm four days later.
24/3/1442On 24th March 1442, John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, contracted in London on Richard, Duke of York’s, lord of Sandal, and Lieutenant-General of Normandy, behalf for an army of 2500 to serve in France for six months as replacements for earlier soldier returnees. Unfortunately for York, recruits were far fewer than planned.
25/3/1414On 25th March 1414, Thomas Clifford , 8th Baron Clifford, was born. The Clifford family seat was at Skipton. Thomas, who would be killed at the first battle of St Albans on 22nd May 1455, was the father of John Clifford, a key protagonist at the Battles of Wakefield and Ferrybridge and accredited with the slaying of Edmund Earl of Rutland following the former.
25/3/1458On 25th March 1458, Richard, Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle, was part of the ‘hypocritical’ Love Day parade from Westminster Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral organised by Henry VI in his attempts to end the ongoing rivalries in his kingdom. York, himself, was ordered to compensate the 2nd Duke of Somerset’s family to the tune of 5,000 marks (£3.8 million in today’s money) for his killing at the Battle of St Albans three years before. The Earl of Warwick was required to compensate Lord Clifford for his father’s loss; the Earl of Salisbury was forced to negate some debts owed to him by the Percys and all three Yorkist lords had to pay £45 a year (over £51,000 today) to fund prayers at St Albans Abbey for those killed in action at the battle. Only one sanction (against Lord Egremont) was stipulated against the Lancastrian court party. Henry led the parade followed by Queen Margaret holding York’s hand then Salisbury holding hands with Somerset and Warwick with the Duke of Exeter. Unsurprisingly, hostilities broke out within months with the Battle of Blore Heath eighteen months later resulting in around 3,000 killed.
27/3/1454Richard Duke of YorkOn 27th March 1454, whilst Henry VI was in a fit of deep melancholia and unable to speak, the Lords in parliament agreed to elect Richard Duke of York Protector of the Realm and Chief Councillor. Richard's base in the north was Sandal Castle. It would be fair to say there were many Lords that held grave concerns about York's suitability as Protector. However, at this stage, those fears were not realised and York attempted to be both fair and tough and non-partisan in all his dealings. Richard would subsequently be killed at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460.
28/3/1461On 28th March 1461, Lord John Clifford, who three months prior had slain Edmund Earl of Rutland on Chantry Bridge in Wakefield, was himself killed at the Battle of Ferrybridge, the pre-cursor to the Battle of Towton on the following day. Nicknamed ‘The Flower of Craven’, Clifford was killed at Dintingdale by the Yorkist vanguard contingent after taking off his gorget (armoured neck protection) either through heat or pain, only to be hit in the neck by an arrow.
28/3/1463On 28th March 1463, records of the Privy Seal office and the Exchequer noted: ‘wellbeloved Alice Martyn of our City of London, widow,…….in receiving and keeping of our right entirely beloved brothers, the Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester (later Richard III and lord of Sandal) from danger and peril in their troubles unto the time of their departing out of our realm into the ports of Flanders..’ Although it is unclear when Alice exactly undertook these duties as Cecily Neville sent her sons for safekeeping to Burgundy, Edward IV granted an annuity of one hundred shillings (£5,000 today) to Alice for her care of his brothers.
30/3/1454On 30th March 1454, Richard Plantagenet (Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle), presided over a meeting of the council (parliament) at Westminster to try to resolve the paralysed government of Henry VI, caused by his being taken ill in August 1453.
30/3/1485On 30th March 1485, Richard III, lord of Sandal, at the Priory of the Knights of St John at Clerkenwell, in the presence of the Lord Mayor, denied any plans for a marriage between himself and his niece, Elizabeth of York. He instructed the mayor to arrest and punish anyone circulating such rumours. Richard’s wife, Anne of Warwick, had died two weeks previously and Elizabeth had been declared illegitimate in 1483 due to Parliament having declared Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville bigamous and invalid.
3/4/1454On 3rd April 1454, Richard Plantagenet (Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle), in view of Henry VI’s catatonic illness, was officially named as Lord Protector ‘in consideration of the King’s infirmity whereby his attendance to the protection of the realm and church of England would be tedious and prejudicial to his swift recovery’.
3/4/1471On 3rd April 1471, George, Duke of Clarence, arrived from Bristol with around 4000 men joining his brothers, ex-king, Edward IV, and Richard of Gloucester (lord of Sandal) near Burford, Oxfordshire. Seemingly, Richard had made a secret mediation visit to Clarence’s camp in an attempt to boost Edward’s forces on his return from exile. Clarence’s defection from the Earl of Warwick (then supporting Henry VI) supplemented Edward’s army sufficiently for him to head for London to his ‘queen’ in sanctuary.
5/4/1485After his declaration the previous week at Clerkenwell, on 5th April 1485, Richard III, lord of Sandal, sent instructions to the city of York to arrest and punish anyone spreading stories that he was intending to marry his niece, Elizabeth of York.
8/4/1435On 8th April 1435, Lord John Clifford, 9th Baron Clifford, was born. He was the son of Thomas Clifford, the 8th baron, who was killed by the army of Richard Duke of York at the 1st Battle of St Albans. Clifford would have his revenge by the slaying of the second son of Richard, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, on Chantry Bridge, Wakefield, following the Yorkist defeat at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. Clifford would be labelled a ‘tyrant and no gentleman’.
8/4/1483On 8th April 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, had oaths of loyalty taken by various nobles to Edward V after his father’s death (Edward IV) earlier that month. Although reports have been made that Edward died on the 9th April, it is unclear exactly on which date this occurred as, reputedly, news reached the Mayor of York on the 6th of this event with a requiem mass in York on the 8th.
9/4/1445On 9th April 1445, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and Lieutenant-General and Governor of Normandy, arrived at Honfleur from Rouen accompanying Margaret of Anjou on her journey to be married to Henry VI on 23rd April.
9/4/1484On 9th April 1484, Richard III’s son, Edward, died. He was about ten years old and his death threw Richard and his Queen, Anne Neville,  into a state of near madness. As a usurper of the throne, Richard needed an heir to guarantee the security of the succession. Richard had fathered many illegitimate sons including one John of Pontefract, but Edward was the only one who could be accepted as the heir to the crown. His death was therefore catastrophic for Richard. Following his death and realising the danger to his  future succession, Richard had Edward 17th Earl of Warwick and the son of his elder brother George Duke of Clarence ( who had been executed in 1478) and Isabel Neville, sent to his residence at Sheriff Hutton. John de la Pole,  Earl of Lincoln, Richard's nephew and son of his elder sister, Elizabeth, would be preferred to Edward and would be chosen to supersede Edward’s position in the north and he would rule on the king's behalf from Sandal Castle, which had been chosen as the headquarters of the  Council of the North.
12/4/1471On 12th April 1471, the exiled Edward IV held a council of war at Baynard’s Castle with Richard, Duke of Gloucester and lord of Sandal, and his brother, George, Duke of Clarence. Many Yorkist supporters emerged from sanctuary (Commyns stated 2,000) to help Edward in his conflict with the Earl of Warwick and Queen Margaret of Anjou (then in France with her son, Prince Edward). The Battle of Barnet was two days away.
20/4/1483On 20th April 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, set out from Middleham Castle, north-west of York, with only 300 men and accepted an offer from Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, based in his Marcher lordship at Brecon, to meet him en route. Buckingham also apparently had around 300 men. They arrange to meet at Northampton on their way to London after news of the death of Edward IV.
20/4/1484On 20th April 1484, Richard III, lord of Sandal, and Queen Anne were at Nottingham Castle when news reached them of the death of their son at Middleham, Edward, Prince of Wales. The Crowland Chronicle suggested that his death was not anticipated: ‘this only son….was seized with an illness of but short duration…..you might have seen his father and mother in a state almost bordering on madness, by reason of their sudden grief.’ Richard and Anne reached Middleham on 5th May. In addition to the parents’ grief, the destabilising effect on Richard’s reign and Yorkist dynasty was profound.
22/4/1444Elizabeth_of_SuffolkRichard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) daughter, Elizabeth, was born at Rouen on Saturday 22nd April 1444. The photo shows Elizabeth's effigy St Andrew's parish church, Wingfield, Suffolk.
22/4/1472On 22nd April 1472, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, was given papal dispensation to marry Anne Neville as they were related within four degrees: they shared descent from Ralph, Earl of Westmorland, and Joan Beaufort and were both descended from Edmund of Langley.
28/4/1442Edward IVRichard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) son Edward, Earl of March, was born at Rouen on 28th April 1442. He would later become King Edward IV.
1/5/1483On 1st May 1483, Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Edward IV, went into sanctuary at Westminster, the day after Edward V (her son) met Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, and the Duke of Buckingham at Stony Stratford on his way to London.
3/5/1415On 3rd May 1415, Cecily Neville, future wife of Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and mother of two kings of England (Edward IV and Richard III) was born at Raby Castle in Durham. She was the last child (of fourteen) of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Joan Beaufort.
3/5/1446Margaret_of_YorkRichard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) daughter, Margaret, was born at Fotheringhay, on Tuesday 3rd May 1446.
4/5/1471On 4th May 1471, Prince Edward, son of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou, was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury either in the battle or ‘round-up’ afterwards. The Crowland Chronicle states he was killed ‘by the avenging hands of certain persons’ which some have interpreted as a hint at Richard, Duke of Gloucester’s, lord of Sandal, responsibility.
8/5/1436On the 8th May 1436 a Royal Commission named Richard Duke of York , owner of Sandal castle,  as the new Lieutenant-General of France, although Richard would not take up the office until June of that year and the appointment was for a specified period of one year only. Richard was appointed to this role again in July 1440. The fact that Richard was expected to control English lands in France from his own funds whilst, when replaced by Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset and grandson of John of Gaunt, was provided with money from the Crown, would be a source of great enmity to York and one of the prime reasons for the bitter rivalry between the Houses of York and  Beaufort that would drive the Wars of the Roses.
8/5/1483On 8th May 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, was named Lord High Protector of the realm due to Edward IV’s death the previous month and Edward V’s minority. Duties included governance of the country and preparations for Edward V’s coronation. Within seven weeks, Parliament declared Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville invalid and also Edward V’s claim to the throne due to his illegitimacy.
12/5/1453On 12th May 1453, Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) lieutenancy of Ireland was taken from him by Henry VI and given to his rival, the Earl of Wiltshire.
12/5/1480On 12th May 1480, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, was created Lieutenant-General of the North. Already created Warden of the West March by his brother, Edward IV, to defend England’s border regions with Scotland, he could now call commission of array (raise armies) across most of the north of England and was reinforced in his status as ‘Lord of the North’.
17/5/1443The_Murder_of_Rutland_by_Lord_Clifford_by_Charles_Robert_Leslie,_1815Richard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) son Edmund, Earl of Rutland, was born at Rouen on 17th May 1443. Edmund died, age seventeen, just after the Battle of Wakefield. The painting is titled The Murder of Rutland by Lord Clifford by Charles Robert Leslie (1794-1859).
18/5/1455On 18th May 1455, Richard Duke of York and lord of Sandal castle, sent out summonses to his estates for men to rally to his side. This was following Henry VI’s recovery from illness on Christmas Day 1454 and Henry’s subsequent release from the Tower of London of Richard’s enemy, Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset. York had resigned his position as Lord Protector early in the year and events were now to presage the Battle of St Albans four days later. This has traditionally been seen as the beginning of the Wars of the Roses in England.
19/5/1426On Whitsunday 19th May 1426, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), was knighted by the Duke of Bedford along with a young Henry VI and thirty-seven other lords.
21/5/1471On 21st May 1471, seventeen days after Edward IV’s victory at Tewkesbury, Richard, Duke of Gloucester and lord of Sandal, led his brother’s victorious army into London with ex-Queen Margaret of Anjou appearing in a ‘chariot’ not much better than a cart. That night, it is believed Henry VI, her husband, was murdered in the Tower of London; by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, according to Sir Thomas More in his ‘History of Richard III’. Henry’s body was embalmed and taken to Chertsey Abbey but in 1484 brought to Windsor for burial at the command of Richard III. An exhumation of Henry’s body in November 1910 showed a man of 5ft 9in with brown hair matted with blood (according to Professor MacAlister, forensic scientist) possibly indicative of a brutal death.
22/5/1455On 22nd May 1455, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle, along with his Neville allies, intercepted a heavily armed royal party of Henry VI at St Albans, twenty miles north-west of London. Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, had summoned Henry’s nobles (not York et al) to a great council meeting at Leicester earlier that month and this had forced York’s hand as he saw a pre-emptive counterattack as his only choice. The Lancastrian army of 2,000 men, led by the Duke of Buckingham on the orders of Henry VI, was beaten by the stronger Yorkist forces but there were relatively ‘minor’ casualties with estimates of fewer than one hundred deaths, albeit Somerset, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford were killed. The First Battle of St Albans traditionally marks the start of the Wars of the Roses.
23/5/1455On 23rd May 1455, a day after the disastrous Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of St Albans, a wounded Henry VI was escorted back to London encircled by three victorious Yorkist lords: Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), in the place of honour on the king’s right hand, the Earl of Salisbury on his left and the Earl of Warwick bearing the king’s sword before them. This public assertion of Yorkist power and influence was compounded two days later on Whitsunday when York placed the crown on Henry’s head at St Paul’s Cathedral.
25/5/1455On 25th May 1455, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and Protector of the realm, took the role of Constable of England for himself. This role of most senior prosecutor enabled him to initiate trials and executions at very short notice and ensured that neither himself nor his supporters could be subjected to summary trial.
30/5/1461On 30th May 1461, Richard (soon to be), Duke of Gloucester and later lord of Sandal, and his brother George, Duke of Clarence, reached Canterbury on their way from Bruges to Edward I’s coronation in London. Two oxen, twenty sheep, three capons and three gallons of wine were presented to the princes by the townsfolk. By 1st June, the two brothers had reached Billingsgate and joined their mother and sisters at Baynard’s Castle.
1/6/1475On 1st June 1475, the steward (Sir John Pilkington) at Berkhamstead of Cecily Neville, widow of Richard, Duke of York, erstwhile lord of Sandal Castle, obtained a grant to found a chantry chapel for perpetual prayer in All Saints Church, Wakefield. It would have one chaplain with an annual rent of 9 marks (£7600 in today’s money). The first chaplain was James Smethurst and all successors were appointed by the Abbot of Kirkstall.
3/6/1454Two letters to their father, Richard Duke of York, lord of Sandal, have been preserved. Edward and Edmund were 12 and 11 years respectively and in their first letter state: 'We thanke your noblesse and good ffadurhod for our grene gownes nowe late sende unto us to our grete comfort: beseeching your good lordeship that we might have summe fyne bonetts sende un to us by the next sure messig, for necessitie so requireth.' The second letter dated June 3rd 1454 says: 'If it please your Highness to know of our welfare at the making of this letter, we were in good health of body thanked be God; beseeching your good and gracious fatherhood of your daily blessing. And where ye command us, by your said letters, to attend specially to our learning in our young age, please it your Highness to wit, that we have attended our learning since we came hither, and shall hereafter, by which we trust to God your gracious Lordship that it may please you to send us Harry Lovedeyne, clerk of your kitchen, whose service is to us right agreeable: and we will send you John Boys to wait on your good Lordship.' A few years later at the Battle of Wakefield Edmund would be tragically killed aged only seventeen.
3/6/1484On 3rd June 1484, Richard III issued an instruction as follows concerning Sandal Castle: ‘Warrant to the auditor of Wakefield to allow the said John (Woderove) “such sums of money as he shall employ in making of a tower of new in the castle of Sandal”…’
7/6/1436On 7th June 1436, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), newly appointed Lieutenant-General of Normandy, landed at Honfleur with 5,000 men, along with the Earls of Salisbury and Suffolk, to retake fortresses in the Pays de Caux, a chalk plateau in northern Normandy between the Seine estuary and Channel coastline. Philippe of Burgundy’s Armagnac and Burgundian forces were threatening the key port of Calais and surrounding areas.
12/6/1482On 12th June 1482, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), lord of Sandal, was made commander of the English army invading Scotland. This act followed a treaty signed at Fotheringhay the previous day in which the Duke of Albany, Alexander Stewart, declared himself to be King of Scotland and pledged his loyalty to Edward IV, hoping to overturn the rule of Albany’s brother, James III, in Scotland. With Gloucester, Albany marched at the head of one of the largest English armies assembled (20,000 men). Berwick was seized (the last time it would change hands between England and Scotland) and Edinburgh besieged but Gloucester quit the latter on 11th August. Albany became acting Lieutenant-General of the realm but died in a duel in France in 1485.
15/6/1484In June 1484, probably whilst staying for prolonged periods at Pontefract Castle, Richard III visited Sandal and authorised the building of a new tower in the castle. He would later order the building of a new bakehouse and brewhouse. By this time, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, and head of the Ducal Council of the North and, following the death of Richard's son Edward in April 1484, Richard's nominated heir apparent, was ordered to reside permanently at Sandal Castle, rather than one of Richard Neville's other properties. Richard III had drawn up a series of ordinances for the household in the north at Sandal, which detailed 'the hours of God's service, diet, going to bed and rising, and also the shutting of the gates". In terms of breakfast, Lincoln and Lord Morley would sit at one table, the Council of the North at another whilst the children (exactly who is open to question) were to 'dine together at one breakfast'. Deliveries of wine, ale and bread were strictly controlled, with John de la Pole, whilst at Sandal, being treated like the king's servant rather than his nominated heir.
16/6/1483On 16th June 1483, Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Edward IV, in sanctuary at Westminster, handed over her younger son, Richard, Duke of York, to Richard III’s (lord of Sandal) envoy as his brother, Edward V, ‘lacketh a playfelowye’ and needed ‘disporte and recreacion’ (as per Sir Thomas More).
22/6/1449On the 22nd June 1449, Richard Duke of York, owner of Sandal castle, finally set sail from Beaumaris to take up his position as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, almost two years after being appointed to the position.
22/6/1483On 22nd June 1483, Dr Ralph Shaw (or Sha), a Cambridge doctor of divinity and brother of the Mayor of London, Edmund Shaw, delivered an ‘explosive’ sermon from the open-air pulpit at St Paul’s Cross in London. This was to vindicate Richard’s, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, claim to the crown. Shaw announced a ‘precontractual’ marriage/betrothal between Edward IV and Lady Eleanor Butler invalidating Edward’s later marriage to Elizabeth Woodville thereby rendering their children illegitimate and negating any rights to the throne. Shaw’s text from the fourth chapter of the Book of Wisdom quoted: ‘Bastard slips shall not take deep root.’ Bishop Stillington is later said to have confirmed this as he was present at Edward’s and Eleanor’s betrothal. Some sources even claim that Shaw questioned the legitimacy of Edward IV and his brother, George, Duke of Clarence, by reason of their mother’s Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, infidelity; citing Richard, Duke of Gloucester’s resemblance to his father, Richard, Duke of York, unlike his two brothers.
26/6/1484On 26th June 1484, a ten-months’ truce with Brittany was followed by Richard III, lord of Sandal, sending 1000 archers to help it against France. A secret plan was formulated to seize and deport Henry Tudor by treasurer Landois whilst Duke Francis was mentally incapacitated but Tudor was forewarned and escaped from Vannes to the French border.
30/6/1484On 30th June 1484, Richard III, lord of Sandal, and one-time Lord High Admiral of England, inspected the royal fleet at Scarborough to ensure its preparedness against incursions or invasion by the French or Scots and its ability to prevent the secreting of important persons, such as his nieces or ‘conspiring’ nobles, to the continent.
2/7/1440On 2nd July 1440, on the day Henry VI sealed the terms of Charles, Duke of Orleans’ release from Imprisonment, he appointed a new Lieutenant-General and Governor of France, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle) for the second time. York was promised an annual income of £20,000 (£20.3 million in today’s money) to support his position.
4/7/1483On 4th July 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, now proclaimed Richard III, lord of Sandal, with his wife, Anne, arrived at the Tower of London in advance of their coronation in two days’ time. A 10pm curfew was imposed in London with Richard’s soldiers ‘guarding’ the streets.
6/7/1449On the 6th July 1449, Richard Duke of York - owner of Sandal castle - arrives at Howth - a peninsular outside of Dublin - to take up his position as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. It is said that he was 'received with great honour' whilst he had been given complete control over all of the income from Ireland as well as being granted 4000 marks from England for his first two years there, to be followed by an income of £2000 per annum for each year that followed.
6/7/1483On 6th July 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, was crowned Richard III before his Queen, Anne Neville, at Westminster Abbey by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury. Anne’s train was borne by Margaret, Countess of Richmond, mother of the future Henry VII. Albeit generally regarded as a magnificent ceremony, not everyone viewed it as such. A contemporary chronicler, Fabyan, noted: ‘some lords..murmured and grudged against him, in such wise that few or none favoured his party except it were for dread or for the great gifts they received from him.’ At Westminster Hall’s ceremonial banquet, the King’s Champion, Sir Robert Dymock, entered on horseback in armour and challenged anyone to question Richard’s right to be king. The Hall erupted into an acclamation of ‘King Richard’.
7/7/1447Richard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) son, William, was born at Fotheringhay on Friday 7th July 1447.
15/7/1483On 15th July 1483, Richard III, lord of Sandal, appointed the Duke of Buckingham as Lord High Constable of England, a higher rank than given to John Howard, Duke of Norfolk. Cornelius Aurelius, author of the early sixteenth-century account, ‘Divisiekroniek’, written in the Low Counties, claimed that Buckingham was responsible for the fate of Edward IV’s two sons, the noted ‘Princes in the Tower’. Aurelius claimed: ‘the Duke of Buckingham killed these children hoping to become king himself….he had read a prophecy about a future King Henry of England….and he believed himself to be this for he was called Henry. And some say..that this Henry…killed only one child and spared the other….and had him secretly abducted out of the country. This child was called Richard…..he came to Brabant to Lady Margaret his aunt…the widow of Duke Charles of Burgundy.’
19/7/1455On 19th July 1455, a statement was enrolled in Parliament claiming that Henry VI had ‘declared his beloved kinsmen (the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury and Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle) to be his faithful lieges’ with a final demonstration of complete Yorkist control five days later at Westminster when all the lords assembled swore ‘to show the truth, faith and love which they have and bear to his highness’
20/7/1455Richard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) daughter, Ursula, was born at Fotheringhay, Sunday 20th July 1455.
21/7/1484By 21st July 1484, Richard III was establishing the Council of the North with places of residence at Sandal Castle and Sheriff Hutton. The Council was now institutionalised as a formal branch of the royal council proper under the presidency of John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, Richard’s nephew and heir. Its main objectives were to give justice and promote peace throughout the northern shires of Yorkshire, Durham, Cumberland, Westmorland and Northumberland. Edward IV had given his brother, Richard, pre-eminence beyond the Trent in 1472 as ‘Lord of the North’ and the Council possessed both civil and criminal jurisdiction, the power of investigating, commanding the presence of witnesses by subpoena, ordering by decree, giving verdicts and setting penalties. Only some of its members are known: Clarence’s son, the Earl of Warwick; Lord Morley and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland; Lord Scrope of Bolton; Baron Greystoke; Sir Francis Lovell; Sir James Harrington and Sir William Parre. The Council’s budget was 2,000 marks per annum (£1.72 million in today’s money) and was to meet every three months at least at York. The Council remained operational in various forms until 1641. Its regulations included: “These articles following be ordained and established by the king’s grace to be used and executed by my Lord of Lincoln and the lords and others of his council in the North parts for his surety and the well-being of the inhabitants of the same. First, the king wills that no lord nor other person appointed to be of his council, for favour, affection, hate, malice or bribery, shall speak in the otherwise than the king’s laws and good conscience shall require, but be indifferent and in no way partial, as far as his wit and reason will allow him, in all manner of matters that shall be administered before them... [The] council shall meet, wholly if it may be, once in the quarter of the year at least, at York, to hear, examine and order all bills of complaints and others shown there before them, and oftener if the case require. [The] council shall have authority and power to order and direct [in respect of] all riots, forcible entries, disputes and other misbehaviours against our laws and peace...in these parts... [Our] council, for great riots...committed in the great lordships or otherwise by any person, shall commit that person to ward in one of our castles near where the riot is committed... [The] council, as soon as they have knowledge of any assemblies or gatherings made contrary to our laws and peace, [shall arrange] to resist, withstand and punish the same... [We] will and straitly charge all and each of our officers, true liegemen and subjects in these north parts to be at all times obedient to the commandments of our council in our name, and duly to execute the same, as they and each of them will eschew our great displeasure and indignation... "    
23/7/1483On 23rd July 1483, Richard III, lord of Sandal, wrote an agreement protecting the widow (Katherine Neville) and children of the executed Lord Hastings for treason the previous month. No attainder was issued meaning that his family kept their titles and land and Hastings’ brother, Ralph was pardoned on 2nd August.
24/7/1484On 24th July 1484, a memorandum was implemented by Richard III regarding Sandal Castle: ‘That the household begins 24 July 1484 and continues until 29 September 1485 and in as much as this assignment is not payable before the feast of Easter, the King’s grace has assigned £500 (£535,000 today) to be taken from his coffers towards the expenses and wages of the said household, whereof £100 (£107,000 today) is paid to John Downey, the treasurer, by Master Edmund Chadderton at the feast of Saint Lawrence (10 August 1484)…’ An ordinance accompanying these instructions makes for interesting debate and John Fox has surmised that one Item within this ordinance could indicate the survival of Edward IV’s sons, the famed ‘Princes in the Tower’: ‘my lord of Lincoln and my lord Morley be at one breakfast, the children together at one breakfast…’. Lincoln and Morley did not have children and Richard III’s nephew (Edward) and niece (Margaret) by his dead brother, George, should have been named, as also should any of Edward IV’s daughters released from sanctuary to Richard III by their mother, Elizabeth Woodville. Sandal Castle was a secure, comfortable and isolated location within which to house Richard’s nephews away from political intrigue. A further Item within the ordinance stated: ‘That no boys be in the household but such as be admitted by the council..’ leading Fox to suggest possibly that this was to prevent any news of the former Prince of Wales or Duke of York reaching the outside world. Coupled with von Popplau’s comments regarding ‘the king’s children and the sons of princes, which are kept like prisoners’ at nearby Pontefract (see the entry for 1st May 1484), the roles of Sandal and/or Pontefract Castles in tumultuous historical events is ready for even more serious investigation.
27/7/1447On the 27th July 1447, Richard Duke of York - owner of Sandal castle - was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for a term of ten years. The length of this appointment was twice as long as would be normal and would keep Richard well away from the court of Henry VI for a prolonged period. However it is also true to say that the appointment did provide Richard with some stability whilst offering the English-controlled parts of Ireland the same long-term certainty. York would not leave for Ireland however for nearly another two years.
29/7/1483On 29th July 1483, Richard III, lord of Sandal, had, according to Thomas More (drawing on information from Bishop Morton) writing his ‘History of King Richard III’ more than thirty years later, ordered the deaths of his nephews, the fabled Princes in the Tower. Richard headed from London on this date on his royal progress of the North. Richard wrote to his Chancellor, John Russell, from Minster Lovell, on this date: ‘..we understand that certain persons of such as of late had taken upon them the fact of an enterprise, as we doubt not ye have heard, be attached and in ward.’ The ‘enterprise’ some have claimed was part of a Woodville-inspired coup to free the boys from the Tower. More claimed that the Duke of Buckingham, who had, up to this point, been a staunch ‘Ricardian', was so upset by the king’s orders that he rebelled not long afterwards. More’s account had Sir James Tyrell, Richard’s servant, commit their murders; based on a supposed confession by Tyrell in 1502.
30/7/1447On 30th July 1447, Richard Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle, was appointed Lieutenant of Ireland for ten years on a fee of 4,000 marks (£3.05 million in today’s money), followed by an annual salary of 2,000.
30/7/1447On 30th July 1447, a nearly eight years old Anne Plantagenet, first child of Richard, Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle, married seventeen years old Henry Holland, (later Earl of Exeter). Holland was to prove a thorn-in-the-side for York as he remained loyal to Henry VI and was a commander at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460 at which York perished.
30/7/1476On 30th July 1476, the funeral services for Richard, Duke of York’s (former lord of Sandal Castle) re-interment at Fotheringhay along with his son, Edmund, were held at St Mary and All Saints Church. After Masses and sermons, ritual offerings of pieces of gold cloth were made. York’s black warhorse, still alive sixteen years after his death, was ridden into the church by Lord Ferrers carrying an axe with the blade facing downwards. York was buried in the choir and Edmund in the lady chapel. A huge feast followed with reportedly up to 20,000 present. York’s widow, Cecily, apparently was absent for whatever reason.
4/8/1482On 4th August 1482, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, tentatively agreed a truce with the Scots. His army encamped at Edinburgh with the Scottish king, James III, enclosed safely within its castle, Richard saw the futility of a long siege and, therefore, sought terms. The Scots agreed: to repay monies that had previously been sent as an advance dower payment for the marriage of James III’s son to Cecily of York; grant control of Edinburgh Castle to the Duke of Albany; consider ceding Berwick to the English.
5/8/1415On 5th August 1415, Richard, Earl of Cambridge was beheaded for his involvement in the Southampton plot to depose Henry V and replace him with Richard’s brother-in-law and then Mortimer heir, Edmund (great-great-grandson of Edward III and heir presumptive to Richard II). Cambridge and his wife Anne Mortimer were the parents of Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle, who was later to play an integral part in the Wars of the Roses.
10/8/1439Anne_of_York_and_Sir_Thomas_St._LegerRichard Duke of York's  (lord of Sandal Castle) daughter, Anna, Duchess of Exeter, was born at Fotheringhay, on Monday 10th Aug 1439.
11/8/1482On 11th August 1482, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, besieged Berwick Castle against the Scots and all but around 11000 of his troops were sent home with the castle surrendering on the 24th of this month. Berwick thus changed hands for the final time in its long run of sieges since 1296.
22/8/1485On 22nd August 1485,  Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth to establish the Tudor dynasty. The defeat of Richard marked the end of Sandal Castle as a royal residence and for the next one hundred and sixty years, the castle would only be fitfully repaired as a centre of local administration. It became a drain on the royal finances rather than a source of prestige. Under the Stuarts, it would be allowed to decay further.
25/8/1485On 25th August 1485, Richard III, lord of Sandal, was buried without ceremony at Grey Friars, Leicester after being killed at the Battle of Bosworth three days before. Despite unseemly violations to his body post mortem, his body was washed and laid out for public viewing. Some ten years after Richard’s death, Henry VII paid for a modest gravestone to mark his resting place. His grave was lost following the dissolution of the monasteries but Richard’s remains were rediscovered in 2012, authenticated, and were reinterred at Leicester Cathedral in 2015.
26/8/1456On 26th August 1456, Richard, Duke of York, (lord of Sandal Castle), wrote to King James II of Scotland from Durham threatening to confront him in open battle unless he retreated and stopped his border raids into Northumberland. Although relieved of his Protectorate role that year after Henry VI’s recovery from illness, York’s being head of the English army, and not Henry, again showed the king’s impotence.
29/8/1483On 29th August 1483, Richard III’s, lord of Sandal, royal progress reached York, entering under Micklegate Bar where nearly twenty-three before his father’s head had been impaled. The mayor presented the king with a gold cup containing 100 marks (£42,000 today) and another to Queen Anne.
7/9/1450On 7th September 1450, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), reached his fortress at Denbigh having been denied landing or lodging at Beaumaris on his return as Lieutenant of Ireland. York insisted that he had returned solely to emphasise his loyalty to Henry VI. Although appointed on 30th July 1447, York had not left England until June 1449 taking with him his pregnant wife, Cecily, and an army of 600 men. By the mid-1440s York’s financial status was proving troublesome, being owed nearly £39,000 (£47 million in today’s money) by the Crown.
9/9/1460On 9th September 1460, Richard Duke of York landed at Chester and began to march south with his banners emblazoned with the royal arms. As York headed towards Westminster, he would seriously misjudge the mood of his fellow nobles who had no stomach to overthrow an anointed king. With his attempt to take the crown bound for failure, and despite the Act of Accord of 25th October 1460 naming Richard or his heirs as successor to Henry VI, York was now on a collision course with Margaret of Anjou, desperate to protect the succession of her son Prince Edward. York’s fate would be sealed before the end of the year with his death at the Battle of Wakefield.
17/9/1483On 17th September 1483, Richard III instructed the receiver of Wakefield to continue paying 40s a year (nearly £1400 in today's money) to a priest to provide services in the chapel of St Michael, Holmfirth, for the tenants, because of the long distance they would otherwise have to travel to reach the parish church.
18/9/1452On 18th September 1452, the lordship of the Isle of Wight was taken from Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) by Henry VI and granted to the Duke of Somerset. York’s lordships of Builth, Hadleigh and his London residence of Baynard’s Castle were also taken away.
18/9/1483On 18th September 1483, Richard III, lord of Sandal, officially thanked the city of York for its hospitality on his royal progress and making his son, Edward, Prince of Wales, at its Minster and wiped over half the taxes due from the city.
19/9/1456On 19th September 1456, whilst Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), was in London, staying at the adjacent palace of the Bishop of Salisbury ahead of an autumn great council, five severed dogs’ heads were set up on the standard (public water conduit) in Fleet Street. Each dog’s mouth had in it a verse bemoaning the current state of political affairs, with one wishing that the head of the commander of the political leaders was on a spike: ‘ What planet compelled me, or what sign, To serve that man that all men hate? I would his head were here for mine, For he hath caused all the debate.’ Whether York or the Duke of Somerset was the intended target of this poem is open to debate but this public display of disquiet amongst the populace was indicative of the febrile state of the nation.
21/9/1411On 21st September 1411, Richard Duke of York was born at Conisbrough to Richard 3rd Earl of Cambridge and Anne Mortimer. Richard would become one of the most pivotal figures of the first half of the fifteenth century: challenger, Protector and ultimately claimant to the English throne. Richard’s northern base would be at Sandal Castle and Richard would die on the 30th December 1460 at the Battle of Wakefield, in sight of his castle.
22/9/1411On 22nd September 1411, Anne Mortimer (mother of Richard Plantagenet later Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle) died, the day after she gave birth to her son. At almost four years old, Richard became an orphan on the execution of his father, the Earl of Cambridge, for treason. With two childless uncles - Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March (died 1425), and Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York (killed 1415) - Richard Plantagenet inherited Mortimer’s property and claim to the throne. Richard’s guardianship and wardship were under Sir Robert Waterton, Ralph Neville (Earl of Westmorland who paid 3,000 marks -£2.7 million today- for this wardship) and on the latter’s death, his widow, Joan Beaufort, youngest daughter of John of Gaunt and half-sister of the dead King Henry IV. Richard’s marriage to Ralph Neville’s youngest daughter, Cecily, by 1429 completed the first phase of the Yorkist dynastic ramifications on the later Wars of the Roses.
27/9/1450On 27th September 1450, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), met Henry VI at Westminster Palace after his precipitate return from Ireland without royal leave. York had arrived in London with a retinue of thousands and a riot had occurred at Newgate Prison. Henry was prepared to meet York ‘as our true faithful subject and as our well-beloved cousin’ but would not let him incite a witch-hunt against his advisers whom he accused of ‘inestimable extortions’ and oppressions against the English people. York was invited to join Henry’s proposed council to deal with questions of justice but with no superior authority to any other member. York retired disappointed to East Anglia.
2/10/1452Richard_IIIRichard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) son, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was born at Fotheringhay, on Monday 2nd Oct 1452. He would later become King Richard III.
2/10/1484On 2nd October 1484, Richard III appointed John Downey as Treasurer of the Household at Sandal Castle at 2,000 marks per annum (over £1.4m today) to cover the expenses of running such. John had held the same role at Richard’s castle at Middleham.
10/10/1459On the 10th October 1459, Richard Duke of York - owner of Sandal Castle - along with the earl's of Salisbury and Warwick, sent a desperate letter to King Henry VI pledging their loyalty. The Yorkist forces had arrived at Ludford Meadow just outside of Ludlow following news from scouts that a royal army, headed by the king himself, and perhaps twice the size of York's forces, was heading to meet them. There was a real sense of panic in the earl's letter stating that they only sought to end 'such inconvenient and irreverent jeopardies as we have been put in diverse times herebofore'. York would state that they only kept 'such fellowship' (referring to the thousands of men they had with them) for their protection and that they would willingly come to the king's presence, if he would grant them safe conduct. However, at the end of the letter, York does seem to take aim directly at Queen Margaret as he recounts to King Henry 'the opportune impatience and violence of such persons as intend of extreme malice to proceed under the shadow of your high might and presence to our destruction'. The letter as a whole had a different tone to other Yorkist communications and looks to appeal to henry's lifelong love of peace. The change of tome is understandable as they were in a no win situation. If they fought they would commit treason and risk their lives and inheritance of themselves and their heirs. If they ran, they might save their lives but still lose their lands and inheritance.
10/10/1460On 10th October 1460, after the Lancastrians’ defeat at the Battle of Northampton three months earlier, Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) armed escort of 800 mounted men stopped at the gates of Westminster Palace and York dismounted with a sword held aloft before him. York approached the empty royal throne in the Painted Chamber and placed his hand upon it awaiting affirmation of his claim to kingship but was met with stunned silence as the assembled lords had no wish to depose an anointed king.
11/10/1483On 11th October 1483, Richard III, lord of Sandal, was made aware of the Duke of Buckingham’s participation in plots and rebellions that were breaking out. Buckingham had been a trusted and loyal adviser to Richard, being with him at the arrest of Anthony Woodville and instrumental in Richard’s gaining the throne. He had been appointed Chief Justice over Wales and two months before had been commissioned to investigate treasons in London. His role in the so-called murder (or spiriting away) of the Princes in the Tower has been much debated over the centuries with claims of acting at Richard’s command, selfishly seeking the crown himself, or even pursuing Edward V’s ‘rightful’ inheritance, all put forward. A possible motivation for his rebellion is cited as Edward IV’s keeping of thirty-eight manors on Henry Bohun’s death which Buckingham regarded as his inheritance. Buckingham was executed for treason on 2nd November 1483.
12/10/1460On 12th October 1460, an eight-years-old Richard (son of Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle) and his older siblings Margaret and George were at Sir John Fastolf’s home in Southwark awaiting their father. They had been there for four weeks, visited regularly by their elder brother, Edward, Earl of March, as their mother, Cecily, Duchess of York, had left to join her husband on his grand entry into London.
13/10/1459On 13th October 1459, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), fled from the site of the impending Battle of Ludford Bridge with his second son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland through Wales, eventually reaching Ireland. York’s eldest son, Edward, Earl of March, along with the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury and the rest of the Yorkist army made for Devon. Despite York’s forces having fired on Henry VI’s encampment the previous night, York telling his men that Henry was dead and, therefore, these actions were not treasonable, York’s supporters from the Calais garrison defected to the king during the night claiming they had been deceived.
15/10/1484In October 1484, in addition to erecting a new well tower that year, Richard III ordered John Woderobe, the receiver of rents, to have a bakehouse and brewhouse built within Sandal Castle. This new building would serve the household and garrison. The letter read: "John Woderof: A comaundement to John Woderoffe Receivor of Wakefeld to cause a bakehouse and a brewhouse to be bilded within the Castelle of Sandelle by the advise of Therle of Lincolne and other the king's Counselle lieng there and of the Revenues of his office to pay for the same at the king's charges."
16/10/1460On the 16th October 1460, George Neville, as Lord Chancellor, presented a document to Parliament that detailed Richard Duke of York's claim to be the rightful King of England. Richard - owner of Sandal Castle - did not make the mainstay of his assertion that he was descended from Edmund, Duke of York, the fourth son of Edward III, but that the lineage derived from his mother - Anne Mortimer - linked him directly to Lionel of Antwerp, Edward III's second son. Henry he stated was descended from John of Gaunt, Edward's third son. Therefore his claim was better, and he had been deprived of his birthright by Henry VI and the actions of his usurping grandfather, Henry IV. Salic law prevented a claim via a female line in France, but no such law existed in England. Indeed their was a precedent to Richard's claim, in that Henry I had named his daughter Matilda as his heir following the death of his only son, although her cousin Stephen would beat her to the crown. Parliament was in a panic and Henry VI seemed to casually pass the buck back to the Lords, almost as ifs he didn't care or no longer wanted to continue as king. The matter would be resolved by the Act of Accord issued on 25th October 1460.
17/10/1460On 17th October 1460, Henry VI was informed by twenty or more lords spiritual and temporal that Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle) had presented his claim to the throne with the Parliament Roll recording: ‘ It pleased him to pray and order all the said lords to search as best they could for anything which might be objected and laid against the claim and title of the said duke.’ York claimed that Henry VI’s grandfather, Henry IV, had ‘unrightfully entered upon the crown’ which should have the right of York’s ancestors ‘by law and custom’.
20/10/1445On 20th October 1445, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), returned to England at the end of his five-years’ appointment as Lieutenant-General and Governor of Normandy. Expecting to be re-appointed, York was ‘replaced’ by Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset on 24th December 1446 with York spending most of his time administering his estates on the Welsh border.
21/10/1449George_Duke_of_ClarenceRichard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle)  son, George, Duke of Clarence, was born in Ireland, Tuesday 21st Oct 1449.
23/10/1453On 23rd October 1453, after Duchess Cecily’s appeal to Queen Margaret to restore her husband, Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) to favour, York was sent a letter by nine councillors who were amongst those due to meet in November to resolve, amongst other matters, the possibility of a long minority for the infant Prince Edward. The councillors apologised for the oversight of York’s exclusion from the council and hoped he would join it ‘to set rest and union betwixt the lords of this land’. Margaret’s politic involvement in this entreaty is suggested by four of the nine being closely attached to her.
25/10/1460On 25th October 1460, the Act of Accord came into force following the Yorkist success at the battle of Northampton where King Henry VI was once again placed under Yorkist control. Through the Act of Accord, Parliament recognized Richard Duke of York's position (he had a strong claim to the throne and was King Edward III's great-grandson) and stipulated that, on the death of Henry VI, the crown would not pass to his son Edward but to the Duke of York and his heirs. This act would prove the catalyst for the great battles that would follow in the following months at Wakefield, St Albans, Mortimers Cross and Towton.
28/10/1484On 28th October 1484, Richard III, lord of Sandal, ordered the Earl of Oxford’s transfer from imprisonment in Hammes Castle, in the Calais Pale, to the more secure gaol at the Tower of London. John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, had proven a redoubtable opponent of the Yorkists for some time having escaped to France from the Battle of Barnet in April 1471 and, thereafter, orchestrated raids on Calais and the Essex coast, holding St Michael’s Mount for twenty-two months. Imprisoned in 1474 and attainted the following year, Oxford persuaded his gaoler to change his allegiance to Henry Tudor’s cause, thereby escaping and ultimately commanding part of Tudor’s army at the Battle of Bosworth.
31/10/1460On 31st October 1460, Henry VI took an oath to abide by the Act of Accord (giving Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle, and his heirs the crown on Henry’s death). All assembled lords similarly swore to accept Henry as king and York as heir to the realm and York and his sons, the Earls of March and Rutland, promised that they would not do anything ‘to cause or lead to the shortening of the natural life of King Henry VI’. York and his family were protected from claims of treasonable actions and allowed to act in Henry’s stead to ‘repress, subdue and pacify the realm’ against the king’s enemies. Not only was York paid to undertake this role but it effectively permitted him to lead an army against Henry’s wife, Queen Margaret, and her supporters. On this day, the vigils of All Hallows, York removed Henry from Westminster Palace against his will and put him in the Bishop of London’s Palace.
6/11/1450On 6th November 1450, Henry VI opened his parliament in London, a scene for a bitter contest between his regime and the Commons, coalescing around Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle). Allegations of maladministration, corruption and traitorous acts were being bandied around with calls for reform of government; some even pinned to the doors of Westminster Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral. Streams of embittered soldiers and dispossessed refugees from Normandy added to the turmoil. A Bristol lawyer, Thomas Young, petitioned the Commons for York to be nominated Henry’s heir.
7/11/1448Richard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) son, John, was born at Neyte on Thursday 7th Nov 1448.
7/11/1485On 7th November 1485, the first Parliament of Henry VII’s reign began delegitimizing the tenure of Richard III, lord of Sandal, and twenty-eight of his supporters, by attainder. Henry insisted on dating Richard’s attainder to 21st August 1485, the day before the Battle of Bosworth, resulting in all those who had fought Richard’s cause committing treason. Excerpts from the attainder read: ‘….our sovereign lord,…..not oblivious or unmindful of the unnatural, wicked and great perjuries, treasons, homicides and murders, in shedding infants’ blood (our emphasis)…..and abominations against God and man….done by Richard, late Duke of Gloucester, calling and naming himself, by usurpation, King Richard III, ……….within the said county of Leicester…traitorously levied war against our said sovereign lord and his true subjects…..to the overthrow of this realm and its common weal..’
9/11/1477On 9th November 1477, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), lord of Sandal, shortly after Edward, Prince of Wales’ seventh birthday, led the other lords of the Council in offering loyalty to the prince. After a dinner hosted in Edward’s honour, Gloucester is said to have ‘gone on both knees…put his hand between the prince’s hands…to do him homage for such lands as he had of him and so kissed him.’ Edward thanked ‘his said uncle that it liked him to do it so humbly.’
10/11/1455On 10th November 1455, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), was given a commission to hold a parliament, scheduled for the following day, in Henry VI’s place as he was ‘not able to be present in person at our said parliament for certain just and reasonable causes.’ Amongst other problems confronting the nation was a brutal, nearly thirty years’ conflict in Devon between William, 1st Baron Bonville and Thomas Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon.
11/11/1451On 11th November 1451, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, meets at Fotheringhay Castle in the Fens with his allies. This is interpreted by Henry VI’s supporters as a treasonous assembly plotting a coup against the king but was more probably a defensive move by York against the Beauforts’ plans to arrest him.
12/11/1437On 12th November 1437, Henry VI’s Council (based on his grandfather’s in 1406) was formally re-appointed but with reduced powers meaning no important matters were to be decided without the king’s say-so and any disputes referred to Henry. Nineteen councillors were given new commissions by Henry with the Duke of Gloucester’s and Cardinal Beaufort’s names to the fore. Despite Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle) being one of the leading nobles in the realm and his successes in reversing French advances in the Pays de Caux, he was overlooked for inclusion on the Council: a harbinger of future troubles between Henry and Richard!
12/11/1453On 12th November 1453, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), rode into London to attend Henry VI’s ‘great council’, accompanied by his ally the Duke of Norfolk. Ostensibly, York was attending the council to unite the lords of England in a common purpose and to prepare the machinery of government in the eventuality of a long minority of Prince Edward but, in reality, he intended to bring down his rival the Duke of Somerset and bolster his own power base.
14/11/1455On 14th November 1455, three day after Parliament’s opening by Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), a Commons’ representative, William Burley, stated that if Henry VI was incapacitated then York should be appointed to see to the defence and protection of the realm. Two days before, Burley had raised the idea of someone other than Henry as protector so that ‘such riots and injuries (as were occurring in Devon between the Bonvilles and Courtenays) would the sooner be punished, justice fully administered, and the law proceed more properly.’ The realm of England was, at this point, effectively anarchic.
15/11/1460On 15th November 1460, the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland ordered that the gates of Durham be closed and reinforced. After the Lancastrians’ defeat at the Battle of Northampton in July 1460 and Queen Margaret’s fleeing to Wales, then Scotland, the Earls had quickly raised a large Lancastrian army (ies) in the Scottish Marches and were making their way to York and Pontefract. They had ordered Durham’s defences be bolstered as they were wary of the Scots taking advantage of their march south. As Pontefract was only nine miles from Richard, Duke of York’s lands at Sandal, Richard himself gathered a force to face the Lancastrians leading directly to the Battle of Wakefield just over six weeks later. Ironically, Durham was ‘untouched’ as Queen Margaret formed an alliance with the Scots who sent forces south to support the Lancastrians.
15/11/1461By mid November 1461, Edward IV’s first parliament had passed an Act of Attainder against thirty-six Lancastrians for their complicity in the ‘murders’ at the Battle of Wakefield the previous December. The Yorkist interpretation of the battle seemed to indicate a broken Christmas truce or the ambush of a foraging party - no one can say for sure why Richard, Duke of York, left the safety of Sandal castle with his vastly outnumbered forces to meet the Lancastrians - rather than a fair fight. A month later, the Earl of Warwick was appointed to execute the office of Steward of England at the trial of Henry VI and other rebels who had murdered the king’s father, Richard, Duke of York, at Wakefield.
17/11/1455On 17th November 1455, Richard Duke of York, owner of Sandal castle, officially began his second Protectorate. This Protectorate had actually begun following the Yorkist victory at the 1st Battle of St Albans and the capture of Henry VI on 22nd May 1455. Richard had tried to unify the lords and provide good governance, but whereas in his first Protectorate (March 1454 to February 1455), Henry VI had been totally incapacitated, during his second, York was attempting to exercise royal authority without any such urgent demand.
18/11/1453On 18th November 1453, it is believed that Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle) was one of two dukes (Somerset most likely the other) who escorted Queen Margaret from her churching bed to chapel after the birth of Prince Edward the month before. Duchess Cecily, York’s wife, had also been in attendance upon Margaret after the birth. The birth had severely constrained York’s dynastic threat to the royal family.
20/11/1459On 20th November 1459 a parliament was summoned at Coventry by Henry VI and his Lancastrian supporters. The fact that this parliament was in the heart of Lancastrian territory emphasises that the aim was to deal once and for all with the Yorkist lords. Richard Duke of York - owner of Sandal Castle - along with the earl's of Salisbury and Warwick, were not invited. At the parliament all of the key Yorkist leaders were attainted for treason and found guilty by an Act of Parliament rather than by the basic right attributed to Magna Carta for a man to be tried by his peers.By the verdict, York and all those attainted with him, lost every title, every castle, every piece of land and every income they owned. At a stroke, the most powerful nobleman in the kingdom became a penniless common outlaw, along with all his allies.
23/11/1450On 23rd November 1450, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), arrived late to the parliament in London called by Henry VI for the 6th November. York was accompanied by his nephew, John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, and a ‘great multitude of supporters’ with a naked sword borne before them through the city’s streets. York and Norfolk had been plotting to pack parliament with their own supporters to counteract the influence of Henry’s regime embodied in Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset.
25/11/1453On 25th November 1453, the Duke of Somerset was committed to the Tower after Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), had orchestrated his rival’s arrest (through attacks upon Somerset in council by the Duke of Norfolk). With York’s blessing, Norfolk had accused Somerset of egregious military failures in France and Normandy: ‘For the loss of towns or castles without siege, the captains that have lost them (in the past) have been beheaded, and their goods lost’. Norfolk also implied that ‘great bribes’ had been made to some council members ‘to turn their hearts from the way of truth and justice.’
1/12/1450On 1st December 1450, the Duke of Somerset’s lodgings in Blackfriars were attacked by supporters of Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and the Duke of Norfolk. York had been at odds with Somerset for some time, having accused him of military incompetence in France, financial corruption and mismanagement and of giving poor advice to Henry VI. Unfortunately for York, Somerset was a Queen’s favourite.
1/12/1459On 1st December 1459, after Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) open rebellion against Henry VI at Ludford Bridge in October, the Master of the King’s Ordnance was ordered to survey the Neville and York castles and towns, ensuring their forts were kept in good repair for royal use. Twenty-six men had been attainted of treason including: York; the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick (and two of their sons); the Earls of March and Rutland. John de la Pole had his dukedom of Suffolk downgraded to earl. One woman was also attainted: Alice, Countess of Salisbury.
2/12/1450On 2nd December 1450, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), and John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, assembled their forces in London and rounded up looters following the chaos ensuing the list of ‘improper persons’ the Commons wanted removed from Henry VI’s presence and court. Prominent amongst these persons were, the Duke of Somerset, Alice Chaucer, dowager Duchess of Suffolk, Sir Thomas Hoo, Chancellor of Normandy and Alice’s henchman Thomas Tuddenham. York and Norfolk issued proclamations against robbery and beheaded one thief on the Strand as a warning. Henry VI saw York’s actions as a usurpation of royal authority and suspected his responsibility for the unrest in the first place!
3/12/1450On 3rd December 1450, a grand royal procession occurred in London just days after men from the households of Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and the Duke of Norfolk had attacked the Duke of Somerset causing rioting around Blackfriars. Somerset had been sent to the Tower of London and to all intents and purposes York now seemed to be enforcer of the King’s peace. Benet’s Chronicle stated: ‘On Thursday 3rd December the King, accompanied by his dukes, earls, barons, knights and squires and others, all in full armour and about 1000 in number, marched in solemn procession through London. The Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Devon, with 3000 men, provided the vanguard; the King, the Duke of York, the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Arundel, the Earl of Wiltshire, the Earl of Worcester and others with 4000 men followed….’
4/12/1453On 4th December 1453, Henry VI’s mental incapacity was officially acknowledged for the first-time allowing Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), and his allies in council more latitude to legitimize York’s ‘agenda’ and authority against Queen Margaret and her allies including Viscount Beaumont and Cardinal Kempe. York’s faction was dominated by the Duke of Norfolk, York’s Neville in-laws (Earls of Salisbury and Warwick), and the Bourchier brothers (Thomas, later Archbishop of Canterbury and Henry, Earl of Essex)
7/12/1484On 7th December 1484, Richard III, lord of Sandal, issued a royal proclamation forewarning of an expected invasion by Henry Tudor. This was re-issued in June 1485, instructing citizens to resist such and to array when commanded. Tudor had failed to land forces once already and the build-up of disaffected nobles in exile indicated invasion was imminent. Richard appointed Captains to take charge of various coastal areas with Viscount Lovell responsible for England’s south coast. The Earl of Pembroke and Rhys ap Thomas were to secure South Wales. Sufficient warning of answering a call to array meant that men could plan for the management of their lands or trades in their absence, or death, on campaign and prepare enfeoffments (a deed giving land in exchange for a pledge of service), pay/collect debts, provide for their families and get ready for war.
14/12/1450On 14th December 1450, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and his brother-in-law Bishop Bourchier were appointed by Henry VI to lead a commission of oyer and terminer (judges of assize inquiring into all treasons, felonies and misdemeanours in specified counties) in Kent and Sussex. This year had seen two revolts (by Thomas Cheyne and Jack Cade) by these communities and Henry VI was anxious to identify the agitators and mete out punishment. This astute move by the king placed York in an invidious position as his failure to fulfil the role would undermine him at court but exacting the full force of the law against riotous perpetrators would lose York significant support in areas which had called for him to be more fully involved in state affairs.
18/12/1484On 18th December 1484, a message from Thomas Wrangwysh, Mayor of York, addressed to the Earl of Lincoln, Lord President of the Council of the North, arrived at Sandal Castle. John Stafford and his son, Richard had been arrested (and confessed) on charges of counterfeiting French crowns and ‘uttering’ (passing) them within the city. Under a statute of Edward III, false coining was high treason punishable by a gruesome death. Wrangwysh requested the Earl ‘to show your commandment by our servant this bearer how I shall deal with the said John and with his son’. Lincoln requested Stafford to be sent to him to be examined with his son kept at York. However, York’s city council baulked at its authority being questioned and requested Stafford, ‘after your high pleasure and wisdom’ to be remitted to York ‘to be punished after his demerits, according to the rights of the said city’. Albeit Stafford’s (and son’s) fate is not known, it is likely his defence of finding coining irons in Derbyshire and counterfeiting foreign coins and not English ones was not a felony and would not become so until the reign of Henry VII!
19/12/1483On 19th December 1483, Richard III, lord of Sandal, issued orders relating to the Duchess of Buckingham. After going into hiding with some of her children when her husband’s revolt against the king had failed and he had been executed, she was discovered at Weobley by Christopher Wellesbourne. Richard ordered Wellesbourne to convey her and her children to London but with no attainder (forfeiture of land and civil rights), stripping of her title or any reprisals at all for her husband’s treason. This leniency contrasts markedly with the treatment of men who dared to cross a medieval monarch.
21/12/1460Between 21st -24th December 1460, Richard Duke of York arrived at his castle at Sandal with an army of approximately 5,000 men. Richard had initially intended to confront the Lancastrian armies based at Pontefract but, on realising he would be significantly outnumbered (the Lancastrians had approx. 15,000 troops), Richard decided he would have to spend Christmas at Sandal awaiting reinforcements from his son Edward Earl of March (later Edward IV); Edward had headed to the Welsh Marches to suppress a Lancastrian uprising in that area. Some contemporaries have the issue of the ravaging of the Yorkist properties in Yorkshire, especially by the Earls of Northumberland and Clifford, as the reason why York travelled north from London. However, what should not be forgotten is that it was the recovery of the Lancastrian strongholds such as Pontefract Castle that were key reasons for York's  venture. Disappointingly, for York, he found Sandal Castle poorly provisioned with only £4 6s 7d (just over £4700 in today's money) spent on the household during the feasting period between Christmas and the beginning of January.
25/12/1454On 25th December 1454, Henry VI awoke from his stupor and his senses quickly returned. He was introduced to his son Edward who had been born the previous year, and he quickly began to reverse all of the policies of the Duke of York that had been pursued over the last year. Richard would retire quietly to his castle at Sandal.
29/12/1460On 29th December 1460, both the Lancastrian and Yorkist forces were in position in readiness for battle (see the Pontefract posting on 28th December). Throughout the whole of the 29th, the Lancastrian forces taunted Richard, who was securely in his castle, trying to draw him from his stronghold as the Lancastrians had no siege equipment with them. The Lancastrians realised that, without any siege equipment, the longer Richard could maintain his position in the castle then the greater would be the likelihood that his forces would be reinforced. Consequently, the Lancastrians were desperate to draw him into battle.
30/12/1454On 30th December 1454, with Henry VI regaining his ‘sanity’ and acknowledging his young son, Prince Edward, for the first time, Richard, Duke of York’s regency effectively came to an end and he retired quietly to his castle at Sandal.
30/12/1460Margaret of AnjouFollowing the Battle of Wakefield, bonfires were lighted on 30th - 31st December 1460 to enable the conquerors to bury the bodies of the slain on the field of battle. A letter written at the time by a son who visited the battlefield in search of the dead body of his father said 'that at midnight the kindly snow fell like a mantle on the dead and covered the rueful faces staring to directly up to heaven'. After the battle, the Lancastrians set off towards York with the intention of reuniting with Margaret of Anjou who had remained in Scotland throughout the whole of the Wakefield campaign to gather further support and an army of mercenaries.
30/12/1460Richard_of_York_MemorialOn 30th December 1460, the Battle of Wakefield was fought on the plain ground between Sandal Castle and the town of Wakefield i.e. to the north of Sandal Castle. This battle has often been overlooked in history mainly due to its short duration (one to two hours) and the number of combatants, about 30,000, when compared against some of the great battles of the era at St Albans, Towton and Barnet. However, this battle changed the course of English history as the Yorkists were routed, losing 2,500 men, and Richard Duke of York, himself, who was killed and his head subsequently displayed on Micklegate Bar in York. There are many theories why Richard engaged the Lancastrians in battle when significantly outnumbered: the Yorkists had approximately 5,000 troops against the Lancastrians' 15,000-22,000 troops. These theories include York's underestimating the Lancastrian force and not realising that the Lancastrians had been split and hidden in woods to the west, east and north of the castle, meaning that  when Richard charged down the hill he was quickly surrounded. Also, Lord John Neville, on his long march North, had purportedly got word to Richard that he would raise troops to support his cause and arrive on the battlefield with 8,000 men, but he quickly changed sides, leading to the Yorkist army being encircled by enemy forces. Following the battle, Richard's second son Edmund, Earl of Rutland was captured close to Chantry Bridge by Lord Clifford and subsequently slain. The Earl of Salisbury was captured and taken to Pontefract where on the following day he was executed and his head removed and placed on Micklegate Bar along with Edmund's and his father's.