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.
1/8/1242In August 1242, Edmund de Lacy, later lord of Pontefract, and John de Warenne, heir to the earldom of Surrey and Sandal Castle, both in royal custody due to the ‘premature’ deaths of their fathers, were granted a gift of two deer by Henry III. This was indicative of their esteem within the royal household.
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.
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, Thomas of Lancaster and King Edward II had temporarily resolved their differences, meeting somewhere between Lpoughborough and Leicester and exchanging a 'kiss of peace'. Within two days, those barons that opposed Lancaster presented themselves before him and were 'received into his grace' - with a notable exception of John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle. It would appear that King Edward II abandoned John de Warenne in the interests of peace, leaving Lancaster to pursue his private feud with John, which had seen Lancaster's wife Alice abducted by one St Richard de St Martin - a knight in John's retinue, whilst Lancaster opposed John's divorce from his wife Joan. The feud which had seen Lancaster capture John's castles at Sandal and Conisbrough, would now see Lancaster hunt down John and imprison him at Pontefract Castle. John was forced to come to terms with Lancaster, coming to an agreement in 1319, which meant giving up most of his Yorkshire estates, including Sandal. King Edward II state that Lancaster could hold the estates during John's lifetime, but they would revert to John's heirs on his death. John also acknowledged that he owed Lancaster a debt of £50000, although none was ever collected.
20/8/1321On 20th August 1321, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was pardoned by Edward II for anything done against the Despensers earlier that year. The Despenser War (against Hugh the Younger and Hugh the Elder) led by the Marcher Lords, Roger Mortimer and Roger de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, and aided by Thomas Earl of Lancaster, was a baronial revolt against Edward II’s court favourites and the king himself.
29/8/1319On 29th August 1319, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, entered Scotland with Edward II on his unsuccessful campaign to repel the advance of Robert the Bruce into England.
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.
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.
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.’