This Coming Week In History

This week in history

26/11/1322On 26th November 1322, Edward II made the following declaration from York: ‘To Richard de Mosleye, the king's Receiver of Pontefract. Order to allow to the prior and convent of Newburgh, in the payment of £18 (£14,000 in today’s money) due from them for corn that belonged to Richard le Waleys at Dunsford’
26/11/1330On 26th November 1330, Parliament opened and Lord Berkeley was tried for his role in Edward II’s murder with Roger Mortimer (Dowager Queen Isabella’s lover) indicted too. Although Edward III wanted Mortimer hanged without trial, Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, insisted on due legal process and (a literally gagged) Mortimer’s trial started on 28th of the month. On the 29th, he was hanged (gagged again and in a plain tunic as a commoner not an earl) at Tyburn.  
26/11/1538St Richards friaryOn 26th November 1538, The Dominican Friary of Our Lady, Saint Dominic, and Saint Richard, which had been founded in about 1256 by Edmund de Lacy, was surrendered to the Crown Commissioners of Henry VIII. The two bells and roof lead were stripped and sold, as was the entire site. The buildings were demolished for their stone, wood, glass and fittings, which were also sold. The site reverted to agricultural use as pasture land and later became liquorice fields.  Pontefract hospital eventually 'spread' over the site after the foundation of the Dispensary in the late 1890’s.
27/11/1861On 27th November 1861, Mr. Charles Francis Adams, the American Minister to the Court of St. James’s, was examining the ruins of Pontefract Castle with Mr Fronde, an historian, when he received a telegram from his Legation. The telegram informed him that Captain Wilkes, commanding the American war sloop San Jacinto, had stopped the Trent, a British mail steamer, on the 8th November, just off Havana and had forcibly removed Messrs. Mason and Slidell, two supposed “envoys” from the Southern States. His father and his grandfather, both of them former Presidents of the United States, had always protested against England’s claim to the “right of search.” The practice of boarding American vessels on the high seas and searching them for British seamen had been one of the issues in the War of 1812. After the removal of the envoys the Trent was permitted to continue on her course. Adams helped resolve the Trent Affair’s potential risk of war between Britain and America with the help of President Lincoln and the envoys were released after several weeks.
28/11/1223On 28th November 1223, Henry III and Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent and Chief Justiciar (king’s deputy during his minority), met a group of nobles including John de Lacy, Baron of Pontefract, in London to try to resolve a declaration by Pope Honorius III on April 23rd that year. The pope, in seeking to increase contributions to his plans for a crusade had declared that Henry was then to be considered of age and should be allowed to retake possession of castles that had been held by others during his minority. Henry had, initially, ordered that Hereford and Gloucester castles be handed over to de Burgh, sparking an outrage amongst the affected and liable nobles. Despite some conciliatory suggestions to Henry by the pope, Archbishop Langton’s threat of excommunication of the barons unless the identified castles were returned, and Henry’s promise that the properties were to be reclaimed in a fair manner, caused the barons to submit.
28/11/1399On 28th November 1399, Robert Waterton, Constable of Pontefract Castle (and also Constable at Tickhill Castle and Castle Donnington), was granted the manor of Doubledyke in Gosberton, Lincolnshire, forfeited by Sir John Bushy after his execution for treason by Henry IV.
28/11/1483On 28th November 1483, Richard III issued a warrant to the receiver of Pontefract to pay Thomas Langton and William Salley £40 (£27,650 in today's money) for 'bilding and edifieng' the chapel at Towton. Later, he also awarded Sir John Batmane seven marks a year (£3,235 in today's money) from the Honour of Pontefract to sing at Towton Chapel for life with his successors to receive the same sum.
28/11/1536On 28th November 1536, after various alleged transgressions of the truce brokered at Pontefract in the Pilgrimage of Grace, rebels began to assemble at the castle with Lord Darcy (returning from his home at Templehurst) and Robert Aske arriving by the 2nd December.
28/11/1753On 28th November 1753, George Dunhill, inventor of the commercial, sweet liquorice Pontefract (Pomfret) Cake when only 7 years old, was born in Pontefract. Liquorice had been grown in Pontefract for many years – probably from the 14th century but certainly in the town in 1562 - and a 1648 siege map (of Pontefract Castle) showed its being cultivated in ‘garths’ either side of Micklegate running from the Market Place to the castle. Parts of the castle yard/bailey and magazine were given over to liquorice cultivation and storage after the Civil War with the Dunhill family renting land inside the castle by 1720. An Order of the Corporation in 1701 prohibited inhabitants of Pontefract from selling any liquorice buds or setts to persons residing outside the limits of the borough.
29/11/1318After the execution of Thomas Earl of Lancaster, John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, petitioned Edward II in 1322 to regain his lands taken from him by the Earl of Lancaster. John de Warenne described how Lancaster had attacked his Yorkshire castles and during a meeting at Pontefract had threatened him with death unless he released all his lands to him. These included not only the Yorkshire lands, such as the Wakefield Manor and Conisborough but also manors in North Wales and estates in Norfolk. De Warenne had been forced to comply on the 29th November 1318 when he signed documents to this effect at Doncaster. De Warenne was also given the impossible task of paying Lancaster £50,000 (approximately £47.5 million in today’s money) by Christmas Day at the house of the Friars Minor in Leicester. It appears that Lancaster was attempting to remove de Warenne's influence in the North of England completely.
29/11/1321On 29th November 1321, Sir Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, who later deposed Edward II and ruled with Queen Isabella during the minority of Edward III, arrived at Pontefract Castle on his travels to the north.
30/11/1205On 30th November 1205, William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was Joint Envoy and Escort to William, King of Scotland, probably concerning preparation for discussions between William and King John over Northumberland still in English hands.
30/11/1318The transfer of estates from John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, to the Earl of Lancaster was completed at Kirk Smeaton on the 30th November 1318 when de Warenne granted all his Welsh lands to Thomas for life. Warenne's lands in Norfolk e.g. Castle Acre, were almost certainly released to Lancaster at this time. In addition to lands, Warenne had to release to Lancaster the valuable wardship of Richard Foliot, who later died in 1325 before he became of age. Most of the land releases were ratified by Edward II in January of 1319. Now Lancaster had no rival in Yorkshire, already holding Pontefract Castle and its honour, he had now secured the castles of Sandal and Conisbrough as well as the manors of Sowerby, Halifax, Dewsbury, Wakefield, Thorne, Fishlake, Hatfield and Braithwell. He seemed unchallengeable in the North.
30/11/1646On 30th November 1646, a letter was read out in the Commons related to an attempt alleged to have been made to ‘surprise’ Pontefract Castle during its second siege. The persons concerned in this venture were named as ‘ the Lady Savile, Phillip Ann, Esquire, Mr Michael Ann, Lieutenant-Colonel Morris and Mr Samuelle Savile’. An order was made on 12th January 1647 ‘That those that are sent up as having an hand in betraying Pontefract Castle be referred to the examination of the Council of the Northern Association’ but on 21st January Lieutenant-Colonel Marries (as he was called during the proceedings) was able to convince the House that he was innocent and was discharged, paying no fees.
30/11/1648In late November 1648, Oliver Cromwell reported to Parliament on the status and defensive capabilities of Pontefract Castle: “My Lords and Gentlemen I have had sight of a letter to the House of Commons wherein things are so represented, as if the siege were at such a pass that the prize were already gained….I thought fit to let you know, what the true state of this garrison is, … My lords, the Castle has been victualled with 220 or 240 fat cattle, within these three weeks; and they have also gotten in, as I am credibly informed, salt enough for them and more. So that I apprehend they are victualled for a twelvemonth. The men within are resolved to endure to the utmost extremity; expecting no mercy, as indeed they deserve none. The place is very well known to be one of the strongest inland garrisons in the kingdom; well watered; situated upon a rock in every part of it; and, therefore difficult to mine. The walls are very thick and high, with strong towers; and, if battered, very difficult of access, by reason of the depth and steepness of the graft.” Cromwell quickly ordered that monies be made available for three full regiments of foot and two of horse and that 500 barrels of gunpowder and six ‘good battering guns’ be speedily sent by sea to Hull, which must all be at least ‘demi-cannons’. Also, that ‘match and bullet’ and three of the biggest mortar pieces be supplied.. Finally, Cromwell asked that the Parliamentary forces at Pontefract be provided with shoes, stockings and clothes, for them to cover their nakedness… and remarked that anyone under-estimating the castle’s importance and significance should bear in mind that “ place hath cost the kingdom some £100,000 (£10.4m in today’s money) already, and for all I know it may cost you more, it be trifled with”
30/11/1933On 30th November 1933, a report was made by Lawrence E Tanner and Professor William Wright on bones, possibly of the murdered (?) ‘Princes in The Tower’, found in the Tower of London in 1674 under a staircase. Richard III, lord of Sandal, has, since their disappearance in late summer 1483, been implicated in their supposed deaths by many historians. The 1933 inconclusive investigation, without the benefit of modern DNA analysis, concluded: ‘..there is a reasonable probability that the traditional story of the murder, as told by (Sir Thomas) More is in its main outlines true….the elder child…probably died a violent death… (his age) somewhere between the ages of twelve and thirteen…there was nothing to suggest how the younger child met his death.’ Whenever, if ever, the bones are authenticated as being those of Edward V and his younger brother, Richard of York, the mystery of their disappearance and deaths still remains.
1/12/1135In December 1135, William Maltravers was murdered at Pontefract by a knight called Paganus, one of Pontefract estate’s retinue. Maltravers had succeeded Hugh de Laval in 1131 to the fief of Pontefract and Clitheroe, even marrying his widow. Robert de Lacy (son and heir of Pontefract Castle’s founder) had forfeited the Honour of Pontefract in 1108 due to his support of Robert Curthose, exiled and imprisoned elder brother of Henry I. Robert de Lacy’s (died 1129) son, Ilbert, was granted Maltraver’s share of the Honour of Pontefract and also received a royal pardon by King Stephen for his men’s role in Maltravers’ death. Ilbert gained the possession of 40 knights’ fees out of 60 which comprised the estate with Laval’s son, Guy, inheriting the remainder. On Ilbert’s death in 1141, William de Roumare, Earl of Lincoln, was also holder of the Honour of Pontefract between 1141-46 before it reverted to the de Lacys.
1/12/1450On 1st December 1450, the Duke of Somerset’s lodgings in Blackfriars were attacked by supporters of Richard, Duke of York, lord of Sandal, and the Duke of Norfolk. York had been at odds with Somerset for some time, having accused him of military incompetence in France, financial corruption and mismanagement and of giving poor advice to Henry VI. Unfortunately for York, Somerset was the Queen’s favourite.
1/12/1459On 1st December 1459, after Richard, Duke of York’s (lord of Sandal Castle) open rebellion against Henry VI at Ludford Bridge in October, the Master of the King’s Ordnance was ordered to survey the Neville and York castles and towns, ensuring their forts were kept in good repair for royal use. Twenty-six men had been attainted of treason including: York; the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick (and two of their sons); the Earls of March and Rutland. John de la Pole had his dukedom of Suffolk downgraded to earl. One woman was also attainted: Alice, Countess of Salisbury.
1/12/1488After withdrawing  Richard III's Pontefract's Charter on his accession, Henry VII issued a virtually identical one for the town in his capacity as Duke of Lancaster on 1st December 1488. He confirmed to the comburgesses the right to choose the town's mayor.
1/12/1855In December 1855 the original plaster casts for Irish sculptor, John Edward Carew’s bronze panel, ‘The Death of Nelson’ decorating the pedestal of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square arrived in Pontefract to be erected in the Town Hall after discussions between the MP for Pontefract, Benjamin Oliveria, a friend of Carew, and the town’s mayor. Unfortunately, the bill for transportation and installation was far higher than had been imagined and although paid, Oliveria was not acknowledged on the accompanying plaque.
2/12/1307On 2nd December 1307, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, opposed Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, and court favourite of Edward II, at a tournament at Wallingford. Later, after Gaveston’s execution, Edward II forbade de Warenne to attend tournaments at Newmarket on the 17th January 1313 and Brackley on the 16th September that same year.
2/12/1450On 2nd December 1450, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), and John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, assembled their forces in London and rounded up looters following the chaos ensuing the list of ‘improper persons’ the Commons wanted removed from Henry VI’s presence and court. Prominent amongst these persons were, the Duke of Somerset, Alice Chaucer, dowager Duchess of Suffolk, Sir Thomas Hoo, Chancellor of Normandy and Alice’s henchman Thomas Tuddenham. York and Norfolk issued proclamations against robbery and beheaded one thief on the Strand as a warning. Henry VI saw York’s actions as a usurpation of royal authority and suspected his responsibility for the unrest in the first place!
2/12/1536On 2nd December 1536 (to 4th December), a Pilgrims’ Council was convened at Pontefract (probably at the Priory) to draw up articles to lay before Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, to resolve the demands of the Pilgrims of Grace. These included a return to papal obedience and the summoning of a parliament free from royal influence. Norfolk was to make vague promises to the rebels and offer a full pardon on 6th December.
2/12/1644On 2nd December 1644, Parliamentarian Lord Fairfax wrote that although he was being urged to put pressure on Newark, all his resources were being deployed to contain the garrisons of Pontefract and Knaresborough. It is noteworthy that four days later, the (Parliamentary) Committee of Both Kingdoms recommended the foundation of an army of 22,000 men under a central commander, comprising eleven regiments of horse, each 600 strong, one regiment of dragoons, 1,000 strong and twelve regiments of foot 1,200 strong. This was to be the New Model Army.

Last week in history

20/11/1272On 20th November 1272, the feast day of St Edmund the Martyr, Henry III was buried beside St Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. His funeral was attended by his queen, Eleanor of Provence and many English magnates including Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal. None of the king’s living children, Edward, Margaret, Beatrice and Edmund were even in England at this time.
20/11/1311On 20th November 1311, Edward II wrote to Thomas’, Earl of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, steward and close ally, Sir Robert Holland, concerning his cousin’s illness. The letter shows the affection still appertaining between king and earl; unfortunately, relations were to degenerate rapidly in the not-too-distant future: ‘We are very joyous and pleased about the good news we have heard concerning the improvement in our dear cousin and faithful subject Thomas, earl of Lancaster, and that soon he will be able to ride in comfort. And we send you word and dearly pray that as soon as he is comfortable and able to ride without hurt to his body, you ask him…to hasten to us at parliament.’
20/11/1361On 20th November 1361, The Register of John Thoresby, Archbishop of York, recorded the ordination of the new vicarage of the parish church of Pontefract with the provision of a chantry to sing masses for the soul of Thomas, late Earl of Lancaster, executed for treason at Pontefract in 1322.
20/11/1399On 20th November 1399, Robert Waterton, Constable of Pontefract Castle (and also Constable at Tickhill Castle and Castle Donnington), was appointed Henry IV’s Master of Horse. This meant that all matters concerning the horses, hounds, stables, coachhouses, the stud, mews and kennels of the monarch came within his jurisdiction.
20/11/1459On 20th November 1459 a parliament was summoned at Coventry by Henry VI and his Lancastrian supporters. The fact that this parliament was in the heart of Lancastrian territory emphasised that the aim was to deal once and for all with the Yorkist lords. Richard Duke of York, owner of Sandal Castle, along with the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick, were not invited. At the parliament, all of the key Yorkist leaders were attainted for treason and found guilty by an Act of Parliament rather than by the basic right decreed by Magna Carta for a man to be tried by his peers.By the verdict, York and all those attainted with him, lost every title, castle, piece of land they owned and their income. At a stroke, the most powerful nobleman in the kingdom became a penniless common outlaw, along with all his allies.
20/11/1648On 20th November 1648, Oliver Cromwell wrote from his Knottingley quarters to Robert Jenner and John Ashe: ‘GENTLEMEN, - I received an order from the Governor of Nottingham, directed to him from you, To bring up Colonel Owen, or take bail for his coming up to make his composition, he having made an humble Petition to the Parliament for the same. If I be not mistaken, The House of Commons did vote all those to be Traitors that did adhere to, or bring in, the Scots in their late Invading of this Kingdom under Duke Hamilton. …this being a more prodigious Treason than those that had been perfected before; because the former quarrel was that Englishmen might rule over one another; this to vassalize us to a foreign Nation………….But now, when you have such men in your hands, and it will cost you nothing to do justice; now after all this trouble and the hazard of a Second War,- for a little more money, all offences shall be pardoned!....’
21/11/1485On 21st November 1485, the attainder on Henry VI was reversed by Henry VII as part of the legitimisation process for his family. The Parliament that had opened twenty-four years earlier on 4th November 1461 had been an assembly designed to set a seal on a change of dynasty (from Lancaster to York) and deny the rights to the Crown of the three Lancastrian monarchs, Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI and the consequent invalidation of their acts. This earlier Parliament had also sanctioned the transfer of Henry IV’s patrimony, the Duchy of Lancaster (of which Pontefract Castle had been a key element since the death of Henry de Lacy in 1311), on Edward IV and his successors. An extract from Henry VII’s Parliamentary Roll of 1485 declared: ‘…all acts of atteynder, forfeture and disablement made or hadde in the said parliament or in any parliament of the said late Kynge Edwarde, ayenst the said moste blessed prince Kynge Herry……….voyde, adnulled, repelled and of no force ne effecte.’
22/11/1200William_I_King_of_Scots_SealIn November 1200, Hamelin de Warenne was present at Lincoln when William, King of Scotland, came to pay homage to King John and swear fealty to him.
22/11/1232On 22nd November 1232, John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was granted the third penny of the county of Lincolnshire after the death of his wife’s (Margaret) uncle Ranulph, Earl of Lincoln, on 26th October that year. This was the prelude to de Lacy’s formal investiture as Earl. The ‘third penny’ meant that de Lacy would receive one-third of the revenues of justice of the shire (£20 or over £31,000 in today’s money)
23/11/1232On 23rd November 1232, by a charter dated at Northampton, John de Lacy, Baron of Pontefract and his wife, Margaret (only daughter and heir of Robert de Quincy, Earl of Winchester and Hawyse, youngest sister and co-heir of Ranulph de Mechines, Earl of Chester and Lincoln) were formally invested by Henry III as 2nd Earl and 2nd Countess of Lincoln. John obtained the title by right of his wife who, herself, had inherited the title via her mother and uncle who had died on 26th October that year. Ranulph had formally granted the Earldom of Lincoln to his sister ‘to the end that she might be countess, and that her heirs might also enjoy the earldom’. Margaret had specifically requested the king that her husband, John de Lacy, be created Earl of Lincoln with remainder to the heirs of his body by her. Ranulph’s principal barony, Bolingbroke, was retained by de Lacy’s mother-in-law, Hawyse until her death in 1243. Hawyse, herself, had been granted the title by formal charter in April 1231 and was invested as suo jure 1st Countess of Lincoln on the day after her brother Ranulph’s death, effectively holding it for less than a month.
23/11/1450On 23rd November 1450, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), arrived late to the parliament in London called by Henry VI for the 6th November. York was accompanied by his nephew, John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, and a ‘great multitude of supporters’ with a naked sword borne before them through the city’s streets. York and Norfolk had been plotting to pack parliament with their own supporters to counteract the influence of Henry’s regime embodied in Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset.
23/11/1539cluniac_prioryOn 23rd November 1539, the Cluniac Priory of St John the Evangelist in Pontefract, which had been founded by Robert de Lacy in around 1090, was surrendered to Henry VIII's commissioners. The commissioners' report said that they had 'quietly takine the surrenders and dissolvyed the monasterie of Pountfrette, wher we perceyved no murmure ore gruge in any behalfe bot wer thankefully receyvede.' Pensions were granted to the prior (£50, nearly £50,000 in today's money) and twelve brethren. The prior, James Thwaytes, was then appointed Dean of St. Clement's for life.
24/11/1394On 24th November 1394, Charles of Orleans was born in Paris. He became Duke of Orleans in 1407 following the murder of his father, Louis I. In 1406, at the age of eleven, he married his sixteen-year-old cousin, Isabelle (daughter of Charles VI and Queen Isabeau of France) who was the widow of Richard II. Ironically, both Charles and Richard were imprisoned for periods in Pontefract Castle; Richard for a matter of weeks, Charles for two and a half years.
25/11/1453On 25th November 1453, the Duke of Somerset was committed to the Tower after Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), had orchestrated his rival’s arrest (through attacks upon Somerset in council by the Duke of Norfolk). With York’s blessing, Norfolk had accused Somerset of egregious military failures in France and Normandy: ‘For the loss of towns or castles without siege, the captains that have lost them (in the past) have been beheaded, and their goods lost’. Norfolk also implied that ‘great bribes’ had been made to some council members ‘to turn their hearts from the way of truth and justice.’
25/11/1648On 25th November 1648, , Oliver Cromwell wrote from his Knottingley quarters to Thomas St Nicholas in London: ‘ I suppose it’s not unknown to you how much the Country is in arrear to the Garrison of Hull: - as likewise how probable it is that the Garrison will break, unless some speedy course be taken to get them money; the soldiers at the present being ready to mutiny, as not having money to buy them bread; and without money the suborn Townspeople will not trust them for the worth of a penny……’
26/11/1322On 26th November 1322, Edward II made the following declaration from York: ‘To Richard de Mosleye, the king's Receiver of Pontefract. Order to allow to the prior and convent of Newburgh, in the payment of £18 (£14,000 in today’s money) due from them for corn that belonged to Richard le Waleys at Dunsford’
26/11/1330On 26th November 1330, Parliament opened and Lord Berkeley was tried for his role in Edward II’s murder with Roger Mortimer (Dowager Queen Isabella’s lover) indicted too. Although Edward III wanted Mortimer hanged without trial, Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, insisted on due legal process and (a literally gagged) Mortimer’s trial started on 28th of the month. On the 29th, he was hanged (gagged again and in a plain tunic as a commoner not an earl) at Tyburn.  
26/11/1538St Richards friaryOn 26th November 1538, The Dominican Friary of Our Lady, Saint Dominic, and Saint Richard, which had been founded in about 1256 by Edmund de Lacy, was surrendered to the Crown Commissioners of Henry VIII. The two bells and roof lead were stripped and sold, as was the entire site. The buildings were demolished for their stone, wood, glass and fittings, which were also sold. The site reverted to agricultural use as pasture land and later became liquorice fields.  Pontefract hospital eventually 'spread' over the site after the foundation of the Dispensary in the late 1890’s.

Next week in history

4/12/1423On 4th December 1423, another treaty was agreed for the liberation of James I, King of Scotland, who was imprisoned for a time at Pontefract Castle. Hostages for Thomas, Earl of Moray, Alexander, Earl of Crawford and 19 others were demanded.
4/12/1453On 4th December 1453, Henry VI’s mental incapacity was officially acknowledged for the first-time allowing Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), and his allies in council more latitude to legitimize York’s ‘agenda’ and authority against Queen Margaret and her allies including Viscount Beaumont and Cardinal Kempe. York’s faction was dominated by the Duke of Norfolk, York’s Neville in-laws (Earls of Salisbury and Warwick), and the Bourchier brothers (Thomas, later Archbishop of Canterbury and Henry, Earl of Essex)
4/12/1648Major John LambertOn 4th December 1648, Major General Lambert was appointed to the chief command of the besieging Parliamentary forces (at Pontefract Castle), which numbered about 5,000 men.
5/12/1503On 5th December 1503, George Stanley, 9th Baron Strange, died at St Paul’s Wharf, London, allegedly of poison following a banquet. In 1485, he held the offices of Constables of Pontefract and Knaresborough Castles. He was the eldest son of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby, and his first wife Eleanor, sister of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick; thereby, related maternally to both Anne Neville and Richard III. George Stanley was held as surety by Richard III for his father’s behaviour before/during the Battle of Bosworth and Thomas Stanley is reputed to have exclaimed “I have other sons” and was not of a mind to join the king during the battle. Richard is also claimed to have ordered George Stanley’s murder on the field at Bosworth but relented. By his father’s second marriage to Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, George became stepbrother to her son, Henry Tudor, later Henry VII, helping him win the effective last battle of the Wars of The Roses at Stoke Field on the 16th June 1487.
5/12/1863On 5th December 1863, the ‘London Evening Standard’ ran an article stating: ‘How dare the profane public pry into the mysteries of Lincoln’s Inn where Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln (and lord of Pontefract) cultivated nuts and cherries, beans and leeks and roses in his garden in Holborn.’ De Lacy died at Lincoln’s Inn, his City of London townhouse, in February 1311.
6/12/1399RichardII_abdicationIn early December 1399, Richard II arrived at Pontefract Castle as a prisoner. He was sent from Leeds Castle in Kent disguised as a forester. It may not be a coincidence that Richard was sent to Pontefract as Edward II had beheaded his cousin, Thomas of Lancaster, there in March 1322 for a plot against the king. It could have been a reminder that unlike Thomas of Lancaster, Henry IV had won his power struggle against the king and also of the significance of Pontefract as a bastion of Henry's Northern hegemony.
7/12/1419On 7th December 1419, Charles, Duke of Orleans, a prisoner at Pontefract Castle since June 1417, was given over to the custody of Sir Nicholas Montgomery at Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire.
7/12/1484On 7th December 1484, Richard III, lord of Sandal, issued a royal proclamation forewarning of an expected invasion by Henry Tudor. This was re-issued in June 1485, instructing citizens to resist such and to array when commanded. Tudor had failed to land forces once already and the build-up of disaffected nobles in exile indicated invasion was imminent. Richard appointed Captains to take charge of various coastal areas with Viscount Lovell responsible for England’s south coast. The Earl of Pembroke and Rhys ap Thomas were to secure South Wales. Sufficient warning of answering a call to array meant that men could plan for the management of their lands or trades in their absence, or death, on campaign and prepare enfeoffments (a deed giving land in exchange for a pledge of service), pay/collect debts, provide for their families and get ready for war.
7/12/1536On 7th December 1536, Robert Aske addressed about three thousand rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace at the market cross in Pontefract stating that terms had been agreed to their demands and free pardons granted. Unfortunately, later whilst at the Doncaster meeting with the Duke of Norfolk, Aske was informed that Lord Lumley (now in command at Pontefract) warned that the rebels were suspicious of the terms of the agreement and demanded to see the King’s pardon under seal. Aske returned immediately to Pontefract to assure his fellow Pilgrims that the terms were authentic and perfectly satisfactory.
7/12/1628On 7th December 1628, Sir Patience Warde, later to be MP for Pontefract in 1678 and 1680, was baptized at Pontefract. Warde was Lord Mayor of London in 1681 and his portrait is in the Hall of The Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, London, one of the 110 livery companies of the City of London.
7/12/1642On 7th December 1642, the Marquess of Newcastle, having routed a Parliamentary force under Lord Fairfax at Tadcaster, occupied Pontefract.
8/12/1536On 8th December 1536, about three thousand rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace assembled at St Thomas’s Hill, Pontefract, to hear the King’s pardon, brought by Lancaster Herald, read out, after which they dispersed to their homes and Aske and the other captains of the Pilgrimage rode to Doncaster to the Duke of Norfolk to relate the latest situation. This assembly concluded the following day.
8/12/1658On 8th December 1658, Nathan Drake, diarist of the sieges of Pontefract Castle during the Civil War, died at Pontefract and was buried in the parish church the following day.
9/12/1460On 9th December 1460 it is believed that Richard Duke of York, Lord of Sandal, headed north under a 'commission of array' to deal with the insurrection in the north and to bring stability to his own lands. In December of that year, Lancastrian forces were beginning to muster around Hull and eventually Pontefract. Given the terms of the Act of Accord of 25th October 1460, Richard was now heir to the throne of King Henry VI. Therefore, one could argue that Margaret of Anjou - wife of King Henry VI - and her Lancastrian armies were now rebels and traitors and that all subsequent actions against Richard could be declared treasonous as he was now legally  fighting on behalf of the King.                                                                                      
9/12/1595On 9th December 1595, the earliest recorded performance of Shakespeare’s ‘the Tragedie of King Richard the Second’ (Pontefract Castle’s most famous prisoner) was made in Canon Row, London, at the home of Sir Edward Hoby. The play was performed at the Globe on 12th June 1631. Richard’s (dubiously violent) death is described in Act V, Scene V after Exton had presaged his murder on Henry IV’s orders: “And speaking it, he wistly look’d on me, And who should say, ‘I would thou wert the man That would divorce this terror from my heart;’ Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let’s go: I am the king’s friend, and will rid his foe.”
9/12/1893On 9th December 1893, ‘The Builder’ printed the tenders for Pontefract Infirmary and the successful applicants: ‘PONTEFRACT – For the erection of Infirmary, at the Workhouse Union, for the Pontefract Union Board. Mr Jno. Holmes Greaves, architect, Leeds and Pontefract. Quantities by the architect:-……..H Arnold & Son, Doncaster £5820 (accepted)…… Wood Block Flooring Nightingale & Co. Grimsby £311 (accepted) Concrete for Fireproof Floors Frankland, Leeds £509 (accepted) (Architect’s estimate for the whole of work £6850)'
10/12/1297On 10th December 1297, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle, was made Captain, North of Trent, and against the Scots by Edward I.