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, a peace treaty was signed between King Stephen and King David I of Scots which included the marriage of Ada de Warenne to Prince Henry of Scotland. Ada born around 1120 to William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey , (and the owner of Sandal castle) and Isabel de Vermandois, was the great granddaughter of Henry I of France. Her niece, Isabel de Warenne, would marry King Stephen’s younger son, William of Blois. Being so connected, her marriage became of national importance and, therefore, when a peace treaty was signed between King Stephen and King David I of Scots on 9th April 1139, Ada’s marriage to Prince Henry was included in the terms of the treaty.
17/4/1194On 17th April 1194, Hamelin de Plantagenet - 4th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - carried one of the three swords at the second coronation of Richard I at Winchester Cathedral, on Richard's return from Germany.
23/4/1144On 23rd April 1144, the Castle of Rouen, the Duchy of Normandy’s capital city, garrisoned by William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, surrendered to Count Geoffrey of Anjou, husband of Empress Matilda, after a three months’ siege. Geoffrey was soon invested as Duke of Normandy, ceding Gisors and the Vexin to Louis VII of France in return for his recognising Geoffrey as the new Duke.  
7/4/1270The only part of Sandal Castle that can be dated exactly is the Barbican Tower, which was outside the main defensive keep but inside the defended courtyard. In the financial accounts of the local officials for the year 1270-71, it is mentioned that there is a supply of timber for building and scaffolding at the barbican. The Barbican Tower formed a stepping stone between the courtyard and the keep. Any attackers had to cross a drawbridge to reach it, then pass through its first gate that was protected by a portcullis, then turn through a right-angled passage, before having to deal with at last one other portcullis-protected gate within the tower. They would then have to cross a second drawbridge to reach the drum towers at the base of the keep. Finally, they would then have to ascend a stone staircase up the motte before reaching the keep, whilst being attacked from above.
16/4/1247In April 1247, John de Warenne, son of William de Warenne, (who had succeeded to his father's estates in 1240), married Alice de Lusignan, King Henry III's half sister. This marriage created resentment among the English nobility who did not like seeing a rich earl married to a penniless foreigner. John was the most warlike of all the Warenne earls and was largely responsible for the design of Sandal Castle in it's finished state.
17/4/1264On 17th April 1264, John de Warenne was garrison commander at Rochester castle, supporting Henry III in the Second Barons' War. At the start of the troubles in 1258, John had supported the King but later in 1261 changed sides to support Simon de Montfort, then two years later changed back to supporting the King at the Battle of Lewes in May 1264.
27/4/1296On 27th April 1296, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, commanded the only major field action of that year in the war between Edward I and the Scots.  This was the Battle of Dunbar when the Scots were comprehensively defeated. Some estimates put the Scottish dead at 10000 with 100 lords, knights and men at arms taken prisoner. Roxburgh, Jedburgh, Edinburgh and Stirling were soon to surrender to Edward’s forces over the next two months. The Chronicle of Lanercost records: ‘On the fifth of the kalends of May, at the ninth hour of Friday … when the Earl of Warenne and barely a fifth part of the King's army were preparing to go to bed, they [Scots] showed themselves boldly on the brow of a steep hill, provoking their enemy to combat. And although their columns were in close order and strong in numbers, before it was possible to come to close quarters [with them], they broke up and scattered more swiftly than smoke.’ 
7/4/1317In 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’.
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’.
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.
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.
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.’