Sandal Castle – May

27/5/1085On 27th May 1085, Gundred, Countess of Surrey, wife of William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey (possible founder of the castle at Wakefield, precursor to de Warenne’s son’s castle at Sandal Castle), died at Castle Acre in Norfolk and was buried at Lewes Priory. Both Gundred’s and de Warenne’s lead chests containing their remains were discovered in October 1845 during excavations within the Priory grounds for the Brighton, Lewes and Hastings railway.
11/5/1138On 11th May 1138, William de Warenne, the 2nd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, died and was buried in Lewes, Surrey. William had been born circa 1071 and had taken control of the castle in 1088. His father William, the 1st Earl of Surrey, was one of William the Conqueror's most trusted barons, who on his death was either the third or fourth richest magnate in England. It is assumed that the builder of the first Norman castle at Sandal was William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey. The earthenwork defence could well have been finished before his death in 1138.
27/5/1199On 27th May 1199, Hamelin de Warenne attended the coronation of King John at Westminster Abbey. The photo shows King John's tomb effigy in Worcester Cathedral.  William de Warenne, later 5th Earl of Surrey, and son of Hamelin was also present. William would take ownership of Sandal Castle in May 1202 and would be loyal to King John through part of his reign, being one of the counsellors, by whose advice, the king agreed to Magna Carta on 15th June 1215. However, William would submit to Prince Louis of France in June 1216 after allowing him to enter his castle at Reigate unopposed earlier in the month. It would appear that William changed sides when it looked likely that Louis, with the rebellious barons' support might emerge victorious from the first Barons' War. As soon as it seemed the king's side would prevail, he came back to the fold.
1/5/1265In early May 1265, John de Warenne, 6th earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, landed on the coast of Pembrokeshire along with William de Valence and a force of 120 men. John was joining with Gilbert de Clare, the 6th earl of Gloucester - some historians show Gilbert as the 7th earl -  in the ongoing struggle between Simon de Montfort and King Henry III. Gilbert had decided to change sides and withdraw his support of Simon which would eventually lead to Simon's death at the Battle of Evesham on 4th August 1265. It is not known for sure whether John de Warenne was at the Battle of Evesham, but it is highly likely.
7/5/1202Conisbrough CastleOn 7th May 1202, Hamelin de Plantagenet died. He was the illegitimate half brother of Henry II and a loyal supporter of the king. He provided a strong defence in Yorkshire against Scottish raiding parties. In 1164, he married Isabel de Warenne, who owned Sandal Castle. Hamelin was a significant builder and military innovator as his castle at Conisborough shows. The earliest stone castle at Sandal is likely to be his work.
8/5/1202King JohnOn 8th May 1202, Hamelin de Plantagenet, was succeeded by his son William de Warenne, the 5th Earl of Surrey who became owner of Sandal Castle. William remained loyal to King John throughout his reign, being one of the few nobles who did. William was one of the four nobles whose name appeared on  Magna Carta for King John: "John by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, count of Anjou....greeting. Know that we, inspired by God and for the salvation of our soul........and the reform of our kingdom....... and of the noble men, William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warenne, William earl of Arundel...."
11/5/1264On 11th May 1264, Henry III arrived at Lewes which was in the keeping of his supporter John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, prior to the Battle of Lewes during the Second Barons’ War. The previous month, de Warenne and Roger de Leybourne had been besieged by the 6th Earl of Leicester’s (Simon de Montfort) forces at Rochester Castle.
14/5/1264On 14th May 1264, John de Warenne, the 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was present at the Battle of Lewes in support of King Henry III against the forces of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester. King Henry was captured along with his son, Prince Edward, his brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and various lords and Scots barons. With Henry’s capture at the battle, John would flee to the continent for at least a year, with his estates being confiscated, although they would be subsequently returned. John had been a strong supporter of Henry in the first Barons' War but had switched to Simon de Montfort, only to return to the king. He had opposed the initial baronial reform plan in 1258 but did capitulate to take the oath of the Provisions of Oxford.  
27/5/1240On 27th May 1240, William de Warenne - the 5th Earl of Surrey - and owner of Sandal Castle, died in London. William had been the son of Hamelin de Plantagenet and his wife Isabel, the 4th Countess of Surrey. William had been present at the coronation of King John and had been one of the few barons to continue to support John - his cousin - throughout his reign. Indeed when a general rebellion was feared in 1212, John had committed to him the custody of the northern shires. He was buried at Lewes Priory in Sussex. He was succeeded by his son, John de Warenne, at the age of nine years old. John became a ward of King Henry III and was raised at court.
10/5/1312Scarborough_CastleOn 10th May 1312,  John de Warenne, lord of Sandal Castle,  started to besiege Scarborough Castle along with the Earls of Pembroke, Percy and Clifford. John was normally loyal to the king but Edward II's 'antics' with Piers Gaveston had proved too much for him.
10/5/1326On 10th May 1326, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was made Chief Commissioner of Array in the North by Edward II. Later Commissions were made for de Warenne by Edward III to treat with Scotland (1327) and France (1331).
19/5/1312Scarborough_CastleOn 19th May 1312, Piers Gaveston, the favourite knight of King Edward II, surrendered Scarborough Castle after only 9 days, due to having no food. Gaveston had been left there by Edward while he raised support in the North. The besieging forces included John de Warenne, owner of Sandal Castle, who had become exasperated with the King's obsession with  Gaveston. John was not party, however, to the subsequent execution of Gaveston.
22/5/1306On 22nd May 1306, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was knighted by Edward I, along with the Prince of Wales, the future Edward II.
25/5/1306On 25th May 1306, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey, and owner of Sandal Castle, married eleven-year-old Joan of Bar, daughter of Henry III, Count of Bar, and Eleanor of England, eldest daughter of Edward I. De Warenne’s troubled marriage to Joan bore no children but he had several illegitimate ones by his mistress, Matilda de Nerford. He began divorce proceedings against Joan in February 1316 but there is no evidence this was completed. He tried for many years to divorce Joan, even citing he had had an affair with Edward II’s sister (Joan's aunt), Mary, a nun. Near the end of his life, he took another mistress, Isabella Holland, sister of Thomas Holland, later Earl of Kent. His will included: “I bequeath to Isabel de Holand, my compaigne, my gold ring with the good ruby, the five gold rings placed as stars which are in my golden eagle, so that she put other rings in their place, such as she shall please, the complete principal vestments for my chapel, with the complete fittings for the altar, my censer of silver gilt and enamel, my golden cup with a little [English: “Ewer”] of silver gilt, all my beds, great and small, except those which I have bequeathed to othera [sic, plural], the great dish, the silver pot for alms, three plates for spices, all my vessels of plain silver, as in dishes, saucers, basins, washing dishes, chargers, cups and goblets, except those which I have bequeathed to others in this Testament,”
1/5/1483On 1st May 1483, Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Edward IV, went into sanctuary at Westminster, the day after Edward V (her son) met Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, and the Duke of Buckingham at Stony Stratford on his way to London.
3/5/1415On 3rd May 1415, Cecily Neville, future wife of Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and mother of two kings of England (Edward IV and Richard III) was born at Raby Castle in Durham. She was the last child (of fourteen) of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Joan Beaufort.
3/5/1446Margaret_of_YorkRichard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) daughter, Margaret, was born at Fotheringhay, on Tuesday 3rd May 1446.
4/5/1471On 4th May 1471, Prince Edward, son of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou, was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury either in the battle or ‘round-up’ afterwards. The Crowland Chronicle states he was killed ‘by the avenging hands of certain persons’ which some have interpreted as a hint at Richard, Duke of Gloucester’s, lord of Sandal, responsibility.
4/5/1483On 4th May 1483, the day of Edward V’s postponed coronation, Edward V was escorted into London by his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester and lord of Sandal, accompanied by the city’s reception committee, clad in Yorkist mulberry. Proclamations declared that the young king had been rescued from his scheming Woodville family, with four cartloads of weaponry confiscated from Anthony Woodville as proof.
8/5/1436On the 8th May 1436 a Royal Commission named Richard Duke of York , owner of Sandal castle,  as the new Lieutenant-General of France, although Richard would not take up the office until June of that year and the appointment was for a specified period of one year only. Richard was appointed to this role again in July 1440. The fact that Richard was expected to control English lands in France from his own funds whilst, when replaced by Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset and grandson of John of Gaunt, was provided with money from the Crown, would be a source of great enmity to York and one of the prime reasons for the bitter rivalry between the Houses of York and  Beaufort that would drive the Wars of the Roses.
8/5/1483On 8th May 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, was named Lord High Protector of the realm due to Edward IV’s death the previous month and Edward V’s minority. Duties included governance of the country and preparations for Edward V’s coronation. Within seven weeks, Parliament declared Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville invalid and also Edward V’s claim to the throne due to his illegitimacy.
12/5/1453On 12th May 1453, Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) lieutenancy of Ireland was taken from him by Henry VI and given to his rival, the Earl of Wiltshire.
12/5/1480On 12th May 1480, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, was created Lieutenant-General of the North. Already created Warden of the West March by his brother, Edward IV, to defend England’s border regions with Scotland, he could now call commission of array (raise armies) across most of the north of England and was reinforced in his status as ‘Lord of the North’.
17/5/1443The_Murder_of_Rutland_by_Lord_Clifford_by_Charles_Robert_Leslie,_1815Richard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) son Edmund, Earl of Rutland, was born at Rouen on 17th May 1443. Edmund died, age seventeen, just after the Battle of Wakefield. The painting is titled The Murder of Rutland by Lord Clifford by Charles Robert Leslie (1794-1859).
18/5/1455On 18th May 1455, Richard Duke of York and lord of Sandal castle, sent out summonses to his estates for men to rally to his side. This was following Henry VI’s recovery from illness on Christmas Day 1454 and Henry’s subsequent release from the Tower of London of Richard’s enemy, Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset. York had resigned his position as Lord Protector early in the year and events were now to presage the Battle of St Albans four days later. This has traditionally been seen as the beginning of the Wars of the Roses in England.
19/5/1426On Whitsunday 19th May 1426, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), was knighted by the Duke of Bedford along with a young Henry VI and thirty-seven other lords.
21/5/1471On 21st May 1471, seventeen days after Edward IV’s victory at Tewkesbury, Richard, Duke of Gloucester and lord of Sandal, led his brother’s victorious army into London with ex-Queen Margaret of Anjou appearing in a ‘chariot’ not much better than a cart. That night, it is believed Henry VI, her husband, was murdered in the Tower of London; by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, according to Sir Thomas More in his ‘History of Richard III’. Henry’s body was embalmed and taken to Chertsey Abbey but in 1484 brought to Windsor for burial at the command of Richard III. An exhumation of Henry’s body in November 1910 showed a man of 5ft 9in with brown hair matted with blood (according to Professor MacAlister, forensic scientist) possibly indicative of a brutal death.
22/5/1455On 22nd May 1455, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal Castle, along with his Neville allies, intercepted a heavily armed royal party of Henry VI at St Albans, twenty miles north-west of London. Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, had summoned Henry’s nobles (not York et al) to a great council meeting at Leicester earlier that month and this had forced York’s hand as he saw a pre-emptive counterattack as his only choice. The Lancastrian army of 2,000 men, led by the Duke of Buckingham on the orders of Henry VI, was beaten by the stronger Yorkist forces but there were relatively ‘minor’ casualties with estimates of fewer than one hundred deaths, albeit Somerset, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford were killed. The First Battle of St Albans traditionally marks the start of the Wars of the Roses.
23/5/1455On 23rd May 1455, a day after the disastrous Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of St Albans, a wounded Henry VI was escorted back to London encircled by three victorious Yorkist lords: Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), in the place of honour on the king’s right hand, the Earl of Salisbury on his left and the Earl of Warwick bearing the king’s sword before them. This public assertion of Yorkist power and influence was compounded two days later on Whitsunday when York placed the crown on Henry’s head at St Paul’s Cathedral.
25/5/1455On 25th May 1455, Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and Protector of the realm, took the role of Constable of England for himself. This role of most senior prosecutor enabled him to initiate trials and executions at very short notice and ensured that neither himself nor his supporters could be subjected to summary trial.
30/5/1461On 30th May 1461, Richard (soon to be), Duke of Gloucester and later lord of Sandal, and his brother George, Duke of Clarence, reached Canterbury on their way from Bruges to Edward IV’s coronation in London. Two oxen, twenty sheep, three capons and three gallons of wine were presented to the princes by the townsfolk. By 1st June, the two brothers had reached Billingsgate and joined their mother and sisters at Baynard’s Castle.
4/5/1645Sandal_Castle In the first week of May 1645, Royalist Captain John Benson and three of his men secretly left Pontefract Castle to strengthen the Sandal garrison, which had suffered  eight men killed and several others wounded and captured when a foraging party had been ambushed by Parliamentarian forces.
20/5/1643Thomas Fairfax On 20th May 1643, Parliamentarians, under Sir Thomas Fairfax, marched towards Wakefield with 1,500 horses and infantry. Fairfax launched an attack on Westgate and Northgate. The fighting was fierce but they suffered few casualties. Fairfax took Wakefield and took prisoner all the Royalist officers. His forces were too weak, however, to retain the town and so he marched away in triumph with 1,500 prisoners, three captured cannons, along with arms and other valuables.