This Day in History: 1141-08-01
On 1st August 1141 the Empress Matilda began to besiege the palatial castle of Bishop Henry of Winchester. The defenders threw burning material from the ramparts which began to set the whole city ablaze. At the same time, Queen Matilda (King Stephen’s wife) was now approaching Winchester with an army of her own, which included William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey, and owner of Sandal Castle. Following the Empress Matilda’s flight from Winchester, William de Warenne would capture Robert, Duke of Gloucester – Matilda’s half- brother – which would prove very useful as a bargaining agent in obtaining the release of King Stephen, who had been captured at the Battle of Lincoln, earlier that year.