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.
1/3/1322On 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 captured on the 17th March at the Battle of Boroughbridge.
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 Castleand 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.
10/3/1452On 10th 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’