This Day in History: 1456-02-01

At the beginning of February 1456, Richard Duke of York’s second Protectorate was coming to an end. When Henry Bolingbroke had become Henry IV in 1399, one of the uses the Lancastrian kings put their private estates to was the endowment of their queens. Consequently, Margaret of Anjou held great swathes of the Duchy of Lancaster including Pontefract Castle. With the ending of Richard Duke of York’s second Protectorate, Margaret was in a position to continue this trend. This led to a tension-filled stalemate in the summer of 1456 with John Bocking reporting in June that ‘My lord of York is at Sandal still and waits on the queen, and she upon him’. This endowment to the Lancastrian queens would explain why Pontefract was a Lancastrian stronghold, but Sandal a Yorkist fortress, given its importance to Richard as his northern base.