Sandal Castle – August

1/8/1141On 1st August 1141 the Empress Matilda began to besiege the palatial castle of Bishop Henry of Winchester. The defenders threw burning material from the ramparts which began to set the whole city ablaze. At the same time, Queen Matilda (King Stephen's wife)  was now approaching Winchester with an army of her own, which included William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey, and owner of Sandal Castle. Following the Empress Matilda's flight from Winchester, William de Warenne would capture Robert, Duke of Gloucester - Matilda's half- brother - which would prove very useful as a bargaining agent in obtaining the release of King Stephen, who had  been captured at the Battle of Lincoln, earlier that year.
20/8/1119On 20th August 1119, William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, fights for Henry I at the Battle of Bremule against Louis VI (the Fat) of France. Henry’s victory helped to repel Louis’ designs on English estates in Normandy.
4/8/1265John de Warenne , 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, had returned from his exile on the continent following the defeat of Henry III at Lewes in 1264. On 4th August 1265, John was present at the climactic Battle of Evesham when Henry III would finally defeat Simon de Montfort and his supporters.
9/8/1277On 9th August 1277, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was one of many nobles, after Edward I and Queen Eleanor, to lay stones on the spot where the high altar of Edward’s new Christian abbey, near Northwich, on the banks of the River Weaver, was to be built. It was intended that Vale Royal (Edward’s preferred name for the abbey) was to be the largest of its kind in Britain, larger than it’s sister house at Fountains, Yorkshire.
13/8/1231On 13th August 1231, William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal, along with the Earls of Kent, Chester, Derby, Aumale and Hereford, John de Lacy and various clerics and knights of the royal household were at Castle Matilda in the Marches - the lands between English rule and Wales - to witness Simon de Montfort paying homage to King Henry III. The ritualistic exchange (preserved even now in the English posture of prayer symbolizing homage to the heavenly Lord) between Simon and Henry proceeded: ' Sire, I become your man in respect to the tenement I hold of you, and I will bear you fidelity and loyalty in life and limb and earthly honour, and I will bear you fidelity against all men.' Henry replied: 'And I receive you as my man and will bear you fidelity as my man' before kissing Simon, who then delivered his oath with his right hand on a sacred object (Bible or relic).
20/8/1270On 20th August 1270, Prince Edward (later Edward I), his brother-in-law John of Brittany and John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal, left England on Crusade, having committed to such the previous year.
22/8/1263On 22nd August 1263, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was made Joint Commissioner by Henry III to ‘treat with the Welsh’.
22/8/1296On 22nd August 1296, Edward I appointed John de Warenne, 6th earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, Warden of the kingdom and land of Scotland. Scotland was to be governed by an English administrative network of predominantly English sheriffs, soldiers and constables. Edward I remarked wryly ‘a man does good business when he rids himself of a turd’. Seemingly despairing of the new position, de Warenne was soon offering the role to others and spent most of his time in northern England, including Sandal, to be as far away as possible from the Scottish weather!
7/8/1318On 7th August 1318, with Thomas of Lancaster , lord of Pontefract, and King Edward II having temporarily resolved their differences, somewhere between Loughborough and Leicester, those barons that had opposed Lancaster presented themselves before him and were 'received into his grace'; a notable exception being John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle. It would appear that King Edward II abandoned John de Warenne in the interests of peace, leaving Lancaster to pursue his private feud with John. This had seen Lancaster's wife, Alice, abducted by one St Richard de St Martin, a knight in de Warennes’s retinue, whilst Lancaster was opposed to John's divorce from his wife Joan. The feud, which had seen Lancaster capture de Warenne’s castles at Sandal and Conisbrough, would culminate in  Lancaster hunting down John and imprisoning him at Pontefract Castle. De Warenne was forced to come to terms with Lancaster in 1319, which meant giving up most of his Yorkshire estates, including Sandal. King Edward II stated that Lancaster could hold the estates during de Warenne’s  lifetime, but they would revert to John's heirs on his death. De Warenne also acknowledged that he owed Lancaster a debt of £50000 (over£43 million today), although none was ever collected.
20/8/1321On 20th August 1321, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was pardoned by Edward II for anything done against the Despensers earlier that year. The Despenser War (against Hugh the Younger and Hugh the Elder) led by the Marcher Lords, Roger Mortimer and Roger de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, and aided by Thomas Earl of Lancaster, was a baronial revolt against Edward II’s court favourites and the king himself.
29/8/1319On 29th August 1319, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, entered Scotland with Edward II on his unsuccessful campaign to repel the advance of Robert the Bruce into England.
1/8/1485On 1st August 1485, Lord Strange, son and heir of Thomas, Lord Stanley, arrived at court in Nottingham. Lord Strange’s attendance was regarded as surety by Richard III, lord of Sandal, for his father’s leaving the royal household and returning to his Lancashire base at Lathom. Albeit Stanley had shown his loyalty to Richard in the tumultuous events of 1483 and had kept his wife, Margaret Beaufort, under house arrest, the king did not entirely trust him.
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 1700 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.
11/8/1485On 11th August 1485, messengers arrived at Beskwood Lodge, outside Nottingham, where Richard III, lord of Sandal, was hunting. Henry Tudor, as prophecy had foretold, had landed with an invasion force, at Milford Haven.
12/8/1484On 12th August 1484, on the orders of Richard III, lord of Sandal, Henry VI’s remains were disinterred at Chertsey Abbey and royally re-buried in the near-completed chapel of St George at Windsor close to his nemesis, Edward IV. John Rous recorded that the corpse was found almost perfectly preserved thirteen years after his death. A re-examination of his remains in 1910 revealed a disarticulated collection of bones re-packed in a small lead casket.
19/8/1485On 19th August 1485, over a week since Henry Tudor’s landing in Wales, Richard III, lord of Sandal, rode the twenty-five miles from his celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary at Nottingham to his army’s muster station at Leicester. Amongst his assembled forces were the men and materiel of the Earl of Northumberland, John Howard and Robert Brackenbury. Noticeably absent were Thomas, Lord Stanley and his brother Sir William. Richard was eager for the final confrontation with his elusive enemy.
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.
9/8/1726On 9th August 1726, Volume III of Daniel Defoe’s travelogue A Tour Thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain: Divided into Circuits or Journies was released (and later on 13th October 1738, the second, revised edition), having been published in three volumes between 1724 and 1727. Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe in 1719), novelist and pamphleteer wrote about Sandal and Pontefract: ‘South between Wakefield and a Village called Sandal, they shewed us a small square Piece of Ground, which was fenced off by itself; and on which, before the late Civil War, stood a large Stone Cross, just upon the Spot where the Duke of York, fighting desperately, and refusing to yield, tho’ surrounded with Enemies, was killed.’