This Day in History: 1317-09-15

In September 1317, at York, Edward II was advised by his court favourites, Hugh Despenser, William de Montagu, Roger Damory and Hugh Audley to attack Pontefract Castle in retaliation for Thomas, Earl of Lancaster’s agents’ occupation of two royal castles (Knaresborough and Alton) in the constableship of Roger Damory. Only the intervention of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, prevented bloodshed. Relations between Edward and Lancaster had been worsening since the execution of Piers Gaveston in 1312 and Edward’s disastrous Bannockburn ‘expedition’ of 1314.