Sandal Castle – September

14/9/1141On Sunday 14th September 1141, the Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross, William de Warenne , 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, was part of the army of Queeen Matilda of Boulogne,  the wife of the imprisoned King Stephen who had been captured at Lincoln in February of that year. Queen Matilda’s forces defeated those of the Empress Matilda at Winchester. Robert, Earl of Gloucester, one of the key supporters of the Empress Matilda, was captured, placed into the custody of William of Ypres and imprisoned at Rochester  Castle. William of Malmesbury wrote of Gloucester: "Such consciousness of his lofty rank did he breathe, that he could not be humbled by the outrage of fortune." He was later  exchanged for King Stephen who was returned to the throne on 1st November 1141, having been released from Bristol Castle but leaving his wife and son, Eustace, as hostages to guarantee good faith. However, this did not end the civil war which would drag on until 1153.
28/9/1106On 28th September 1106, William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, was with Henry I at the Battle of Tinchebrai and, for his support, William was granted Wakefield. At Tinchebrai, he commanded a division of Henry's invading and victorious royal army in Normandy against Duke Robert Curthouse of Normandy,  Henry’s older brother. This resulted in Curthouse’s capture and imprisonment in England and Wales until his death in 1134. In order to administer and secure his lands, de Warenne's  castle at Wakefield acted as a tax-gathering point and a defensive stronghold for the manor. This manor stretched five miles southwards towards Barnsley and ten miles westwards to the headwaters of the Calder in Sowerbyshire. The first castle was built on Lowe Hill in Thornes Park, nearer to Wakefield town; but was a weaker defensive position than Sandal. It could have been an 11th century royal castle of modest proportions or a 12th century castle built initially for a lord, but subsequently for the constable when the castle at Sandal was built. There is no direct evidence about which person ordered the construction work to begin on converting the earth-and-timber Sandal Castle to stone; however, the first mention of the castle is in 1240 when it is likely that the stone-built castle was nearing completion.
3/9/1296On 3rd September 1296, King Edward I appointed John de Warenne - 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle (and victor at the Battle of Dunbar), to be Scotland’s new colonial governor based in Berwick. Scotland was to be governed by an English administrative network of predominantly English sheriffs, soldiers and constables. Edward wryly remarked: “a man does good business when he rids himself of a turd”. Seemingly despairing of his new position, de Warenne was soon offering the role to others and spent most of his time in northern England as far away as practically possible from the Scottish weather.  
10/9/1299On 10th September 1299, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, attended the wedding performed by Archbishop Winchelsea, at Canterbury Cathedral, of the sixty-year-old Edward I to the seventeen-year-old Margaret of France, Philip IV’s sister. Eleanor of Castile, the first wife of Edward I, had died in 1290.
11/9/1297On 11th September 1297, John de Warenne, 6th earl of Surrey, gave the order for the English forces to cross the narrow, wooden bridge over the Forth at Stirling to attack the outnumbered Scottish forces, on the northern shore, led by William Wallace and Andrew Murray. De Warenne had delayed the crossing for several days to allow for negotiations, sure that the Scots would choose peace over war in the light of recent English victories and their obvious military superiority. The ensuing slaughter at the Battle of Stirling Bridge of the half-formed, stranded and enclosed English army on the northern side resulted in many deaths including Hugh Cressingham, treasurer of the English administration in Scotland. De Warenne, on the southern shore ordered the bridge destroyed and retreated immediately to Berwick.
27/9/1304On 27th September 1304,  John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey, died at Kennington in Kent, soon after returning from Scotland, and was interred at Lewes Priory with the service conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. John, the son of William de Warenne and Maud Marshall, had taken ownership of Sandal Castle in 1240 and would marry Alice de Brun de Lusignan in 1247, which would cause resentment amongst other nobles as she was penniless. On his death, his grandson, John de Warenne, would take ownership of Sandal becoming the 7th and last Earl of Surrey.
7/9/1450On 7th September 1450, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), reached his fortress at Denbigh having been denied landing or lodging at Beaumaris on his return from being Lieutenant of Ireland. York insisted that he had returned solely to emphasise his loyalty to Henry VI. Although appointed on 30th July 1447, York had not left England until June 1449, taking with him his pregnant wife, Cecily, and an army of 600 men. By the mid-1440s, York’s financial status was proving troublesome, being owed nearly £39,000 (£47 million in today’s money) by the Crown.
9/9/1460On 9th September 1460, Richard Duke of York landed at Chester and began to march south with his banners emblazoned with the royal arms. As York headed towards Westminster, he would seriously misjudge the mood of his fellow nobles who had no stomach to overthrow an anointed king. With his attempt to take the crown bound for failure, and despite the Act of Accord of 25th October 1460 naming Richard or his heirs as successor to Henry VI, York was now on a collision course with Margaret of Anjou, desperate to protect the succession of her son Prince Edward. York’s fate would be sealed before the end of the year with his death at the Battle of Wakefield.
17/9/1483On 17th September 1483, Richard III instructed the receiver of Wakefield to continue paying 40s a year (nearly £1400 in today's money) to a priest to provide services in the chapel of St Michael, Holmfirth, for the tenants, because of the long distance they would otherwise have to travel to reach the parish church.
18/9/1452On 18th September 1452, the lordship of the Isle of Wight was taken from Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), by Henry VI and granted to the Duke of Somerset. York’s lordships of Builth, Hadleigh and his London residence of Baynard’s Castle were also taken away.
18/9/1483On 18th September 1483, Richard III, lord of Sandal, officially thanked the city of York for its hospitality on his royal progress and making his son, Edward, Prince of Wales, at its Minster and wiped over half the taxes due from the city.
19/9/1456On 19th September 1456, whilst Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), was in London, staying at the adjacent palace of the Bishop of Salisbury ahead of an autumn great council, five severed dogs’ heads were set up on the standard (public water conduit) in Fleet Street. Each dog’s mouth had in it a verse bemoaning the current state of political affairs, with one wishing that the head of the commander of the political leaders was on a spike: ‘ What planet compelled me, or what sign, To serve that man that all men hate? I would his head were here for mine, For he hath caused all the debate.’ Whether York or the Duke of Somerset was the intended target of this poem is open to debate but this public display of disquiet amongst the populace was indicative of the febrile state of the nation.
21/9/1411On 21st September 1411, Richard Duke of York was born at Conisbrough to Richard 3rd Earl of Cambridge and Anne Mortimer. Richard would become one of the most pivotal figures of the first half of the fifteenth century: challenger, Protector and ultimately claimant to the English throne. Richard’s northern base would be at Sandal Castle and Richard would die on the 30th December 1460 at the Battle of Wakefield, in sight of his castle.
22/9/1411On 22nd September 1411, Anne Mortimer (mother of Richard Plantagenet, later Duke of York and lord of Sandal Castle) died, the day after she gave birth to her son. At almost four years old, Richard became an orphan on the execution of his father, the Earl of Cambridge, for treason. With two childless uncles - Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March (died 1425), and Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York (killed 1415) - Richard Plantagenet inherited Mortimer’s property and claim to the throne. Richard’s guardianship and wardship were under Sir Robert Waterton, Ralph Neville (Earl of Westmorland who paid 3,000 marks -£2.7 million today- for this wardship) and on the latter’s death, his widow, Joan Beaufort, youngest daughter of John of Gaunt and half-sister of the dead King Henry IV. Richard’s marriage to Ralph Neville’s youngest daughter, Cecily, by 1429 (the exact date is unknown) completed the first phase of the Yorkist dynastic ramifications regarding the later Wars of the Roses.
27/9/1450On 27th September 1450, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), met Henry VI at Westminster Palace after his precipitate return from Ireland without royal leave. York had arrived in London with a retinue of thousands and a riot had occurred at Newgate Prison. Henry was prepared to meet York ‘as our true faithful subject and as our well-beloved cousin’ but would not let him incite a witch-hunt against his advisers whom he accused of ‘inestimable extortions’ and oppressions against the English people. York was invited to join Henry’s proposed council to deal with questions of justice but with no superior authority to any other member. York retired disappointed to East Anglia.
3/9/1645Sandal CastleIn early September 1645,  Colonel General Poyntz tightened the siege lines around Sandal Castle and obtained four great siege guns from Hull. With protection afforded them behind earthwork batteries, the Parliamentary forces began bombarding the Castle with 60 pound cannonballs: the normal sized cannonball was 28 or 32 pounds. At the time of this bombardment, the castle was garrisoned by 100 men. After several days of bombardment, some breaches had been made in the walls of the castle.
30/9/1645On 30th September 1645, Parliament's Colonel Robert Overton made preparations to storm Sandal Castle but after a parley the defenders agreed to leave on favourable terms.