This Day in History: 1460-12-21

Between 21st -24th December 1460, Richard Duke of York arrived at his castle at Sandal with an army of approximately 5,000 men. Richard had initially intended to confront the Lancastrian armies based at Pontefract but, on realising he would be significantly outnumbered (the Lancastrians had approx. 15,000 troops), Richard decided he would have to spend Christmas at Sandal awaiting reinforcements from his son Edward Earl of March (later Edward IV); Edward had headed to the Welsh Marches to suppress a Lancastrian uprising in that area. Some contemporaries have the issue of the ravaging of the Yorkist properties in Yorkshire, especially by the Earls of Northumberland and Clifford, as the reason why York travelled north from London. However, what should not be forgotten is that it was the recovery of the Lancastrian strongholds such as Pontefract Castle that were key reasons for York’s  venture. Disappointingly, for York, he found Sandal Castle poorly provisioned with only £4 6s 7d (just over £4700 in today’s money) spent on the household during the feasting period between Christmas and the beginning of January.