Sandal Castle – March

24/3/1146On 24th August 1146, near Vezelay in France, William de Warenne - 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - took the cross and committed himself to the Second Crusade 
15/3/1203On 15th March 1203 (some sources say 1204), William de Warenne - 5th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - was granted permission to hold a yearly fair at Wakefield.
1/3/1301On 1st March 1301, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was made Joint Envoy and Commissioner to treat with French Ambassadors by Edward I.
1/3/1322On 1st March 1322, Edward II at Tutbury issued a writ of aid to his brother, Edmund of Kent, and to John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and last of the Warennes to own Sandal Castle, to besiege Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, at his castle at Pontefract. John was also given the task of arresting Lancaster. Thomas would flee Pontefract only to be defeated and surrender on the 17th March after the Battle of Boroughbridge the day before.
22/3/1322John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey,  who had lost Sandal castle to Thomas of Lancaster in a private war in 1317, was amongst the hastily-convened nobles who met, tried and passed judgement on Thomas Earl of Lancaster in the Great Hall of his magnificent fortress at Pontefract. On 22nd March 1322, Thomas was executed on a hill outside his castle with his face facing north towards Scotland with whom he was accused of conspiring. With two or three clumsy strokes, Thomas was beheaded and his head held aloft for Edward II to see.
31/3/1309By late March 1309 - the exact date is unclear from any source - Edward II was in a stronger position than the year previously and may have been advocating the return of Piers Galveston from Ireland. The earls were still not fully behind the king and met at Dunstable in late March, under the auspices of a tournament, to discuss the situation. This gathering was probably led by Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster - the owner of Pontefract Castle and the most powerful nobleman in England. Thomas was now becoming the most vocal of Piers Gaveston's opponents, and at this meeting in Dunstable, John de Warenne - 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - agreed to serve Lancaster with eighty men-at-arms.
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.
31/3/1951On 31st March 1951, the ‘Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer’ reported: ‘The Ministry of Works have (sic) told Wakefield City Council that they (sic) are not prepared at present to spend money on the remains of Sandal Castle, at one time an important West Riding stronghold, to preserve it as an ancient monument.’