This Day in History: 1106-09-28

On 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.