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 throughout his reign, being one of the counsellors, by whose advice, the king agreed to Magna Carta on 15th June 1215.
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, is succeeded by his son William de Warenne, the 5th Earl of Surrey. William now becomes owner of Sandal Castle. William remained loyal to King John throughout his reign, being one of the few nobles who did. William is one of the four nobles whose name appears on the 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.
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,”
3/5/1446Margaret_of_YorkRichard Duke of York's (lord of Sandal Castle) daughter, Margaret, was born at Fotheringhay, on Tuesday 3rd May 1446.
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, 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, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal) 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.
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.