Sandal Castle – April

1/4/1164In April 1164, Hamelin de Plantagenet (de Warenne) married Isabel, the widow of William of Blois. On this marriage, Hamelin would become the 4th Earl of Surrey (some historians show him as the 5th Earl, but both William of Blois and Hamelin are classed as the 4th Earl due to their marriages to Isabel de Warenne, the 4th Countess of Surrey) and took ownership of Sandal Castle. Hamelin was the illegitimate half brother of Henry II, being born in 1130 in Normandy, France, to Geoffrey of Anjou and Adelaide d’Angers. Hamelin would be responsible for the building of Conisbrough Castle  and it is likely that the first stone castle at Sandal is his work. Indeed, the de Warenne lands in England were vast and rich  and Yorkshire played a special role in their lives.
9/4/1139On 9th April 1139, the Treaty of Durham (Peace of Carlisle) was concluded between King Stephen of England and David I of Scotland. David and his son Henry were handed Carlisle, Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire north of the Ribble except the castles of Bamburgh and Newcastle with Henry made Earl of Northumberland. This treaty, agreed by Stephen to avoid fighting on two fronts against Empress Matilda’s invasion, unfortunately could not avert the impending civil war later to be called The Anarchy. As part of ‘the deal’, Prince Henry of Scotland was given the hand in marriage of Ada, daughter of William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal Castle. Their issue included two kings of Scotland: Malcolm IV and William I (The Lion).
17/4/1194On 17th April 1194, Hamelin de Plantagenet - 4th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - carried one of the three swords at the second coronation of Richard I at Winchester Cathedral, on Richard's return from Germany.
23/4/1144On 23rd April 1144, the Castle of Rouen, the Duchy of Normandy’s capital city, garrisoned by William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, surrendered to Count Geoffrey of Anjou, husband of Empress Matilda, after a three months’ siege. Geoffrey was soon invested as Duke of Normandy, ceding Gisors and the Vexin to Louis VII of France in return for his recognising Geoffrey as the new Duke.  
7/4/1270The only part of Sandal Castle that can be dated exactly is the Barbican Tower, which was outside the main defensive keep but inside the defended courtyard. In the financial accounts of the local officials for the year 1270-71, it is mentioned that there is a supply of timber for building and scaffolding at the barbican. The Barbican Tower formed a stepping stone between the courtyard and the keep. Any attackers had to cross a drawbridge to reach it, then pass through its first gate that was protected by a portcullis, then turn through a right-angled passage, before having to deal with at least one other portcullis-protected gate within the tower. They would then have to cross a second drawbridge to reach the drum towers at the base of the keep. Finally, they would then have to ascend a stone staircase up the motte before reaching the keep, whilst being attacked from above.
16/4/1247In April 1247, John de Warenne, son of William de Warenne, (who had succeeded to his father's estates in 1240), married Alice de Lusignan, King Henry III's half sister. This marriage created resentment among the English nobility who did not like seeing a rich earl married to a penniless foreigner. John was the most warlike of all the Warenne earls and was largely responsible for the design of Sandal Castle in it's finished state.
17/4/1239On 17th April 1239, William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal, was with, amongst others, John de Lacy, the Earls of Derby, Hereford and Essex, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishops of Bath, Exeter, Ely, Lincoln, Worcester and Carlisle at the opening of Parliament when a charter was confirmed granting Amaury de Montfort’s transfer to his younger brother Simon of the rights and earldom of Leicester. This was to become a foundation for Simon’s later ‘parliamentary forays’ against Henry III.  
17/4/1264On 17th April 1264, John de Warenne , lord of Sandal, was garrison commander at Rochester castle, supporting Henry III in the Second Barons' War. At the start of the troubles in 1258, John had supported the King but later in 1261 changed sides to support Simon de Montfort, then two years later changed back to supporting the King at the Battle of Lewes in May 1264.
27/4/1296On 27th April 1296, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, commanded the only major field action of that year in the war between Edward I and the Scots.  This was the Battle of Dunbar when the Scots were comprehensively defeated. Some estimates put the Scottish dead at 10000 with 100 lords, knights and men at arms taken prisoner. Roxburgh, Jedburgh, Edinburgh and Stirling were soon to surrender to Edward’s forces over the next two months. The Chronicle of Lanercost records: ‘On the fifth of the kalends of May, at the ninth hour of Friday … when the Earl of Warenne and barely a fifth part of the King's army were preparing to go to bed, they [Scots] showed themselves boldly on the brow of a steep hill, provoking their enemy to combat. And although their columns were in close order and strong in numbers, before it was possible to come to close quarters [with them], they broke up and scattered more swiftly than smoke.’ 
1/4/1325On 1st April 1325, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was made Captain and Leader of the Forces for Aquitaine by Edward II.
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.
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 arranged 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… 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.
5/4/1913On 5th April 1913, the Wakefield and West Riding Herald reported: ‘The sub-committee proceeded to Sandal Castle and, after inspection, decided to recommend that fencing be erected to protect the ruins.’