This Coming Week In History

This week in history

DateEvent
9/6/1398Henry BolingbrokeOn 9th June 1398, John of Gaunt and his family were staying at Pontefract Castle until 14th July of the same year. Their stay at the castle was overshadowed by the threat of the impending duel between his son Henry Bolingbroke and  Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk. The picture is from a miniature of Henry Bolingbroke, circa 1402
9/6/1588On 9th June 1588, a survey was made of Pontefract Park. In pre-Norman times, this land had been mainly waste moorland, forest and fenny marshes. The survey stated: ‘the said park is distant from Pontefract Castle half a quarter of a mile….the whole circuit of the pales include 700 acres, whereof we think there is none may be employed for meadow, 100 acres for arable ground, and all the rest for pasture……… (with) every of the 100 acres of arable land, and every acre of pasture.. worth by the year 12d….. in the pales of the said park (are) 1370 timber trees…(over one thousand) fuel trees. .and 400 saplings…595 deer….and three lodges or houses whereof two are in good reparation, and the third partly in decay….also there is a barn builded in the said park to lye hay in that is gotten for the deer, the reparation whereof is at the queen’s charges’.
9/6/1645On 9th June 1645, the besieged Royalists heard the firing of cannon, which they supposed to be near Sheffield, and concluded that their friends were drawing near. The besieging Parliamentarians kept a strong guard at New Hall which they relieved in the evening. At the same time, two horsemen brought letters to Parliament's Governor Overton and a drum reported that the King and his troops had taken Derby.
9/6/2021On 9th June 2021, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, an historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning professor emerita of history at the University of Roehampton and Professor Andy Wood, Professor of Social History at Durham University came to Pontefract Castle to film what was to become part of Episode 6 of the television  series "Walking Tudor England". Episode 6 concentrated on the Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536 and its strong links with Pontefract Castle.
10/6/1314On 10th June 1314, John de Warenne, 7th Earl of Surrey, was at Sandal Castle. John had been told the previous month that he could not be legally separated from his wife Joan of Bar; since 1311, John had been living openly with his mistress, Maud de Nerford. It was on this date that John de Warenne wrote from Sandal Castle to Walter Reynolds, Archbishop of Canterbury, as follows; "To the honourable Father in God and our dear friend Walter by the grace of God Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England, his son John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, greeting and due honour. Sire, in respect to that which we have learnt by your order, be pleased to understand that we are and shall be ready to do everything that Holy Church can demand by law and in reason, and upon divers other points we shall answer you in time, in such a manner that no man shall be able to blame us rightfully or with reason: and, Sire, if you wish us to do anything that we can, be pleased confidently to command us, and we will do it to the utmost of our power. Adieu, Sire, and may God preserve you. Given at our castle of Sandale the 10th day of June."
10/6/1483Elizabeth WoodvilleRichard III put in motion a plan to destroy the  Queen Dowager, Elizabeth Woodville, and the Woodville family forever. On the 10th June 1483, Richard wrote  to the Mayor of York, John Newton, requesting that he 'come unto us to London in all the diligence you can possible, after the site thereof, with as many as ye can make defensibly arrayed, there to aid to assist us against the Queen, her blood, her adherents and affinity, which have intended and daily doth intend to murder and utterly destroy us and our cousin the Duke of Buckingham.' The troops were asked to gather at Pontefract before proceeding to London.
10/6/1645The Parliamentarians began another work on 10th June 1645 in a close near Baghill, called Moody's Close. This was designed to check the  Royalist garrison and prevent any relief being afforded. They began another work nearer Swillington Tower but the fire of the besieged compelled them to flee to their other works. The besiegers also received a reinforcement of eight troops of horse from Doncaster. These drew up in a body at Carleton, one troop marched to South Hardwick, another came from Darrington and marched into the town and a third came from Ferrybridge and marched into the Park.
11/6/1258On 11th June1258, a parliament including John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, met at Oxford with the nobles asking Henry III to reaffirm his commitment to the Great Charters and appoint a Justiciar (soon to be Hugh Bigod, younger brother of the Earl of Norfolk) to help sort out the king's financial troubles. Although Henry agreed to put the new arrangements in place, de Warenne (married to the kings half-sister Alice de Lusignan) and William de Valence, the king's half-brother, opposed them. The outcome of these discussions was the royally sealed document, the Provisions of Oxford, and despite his reservations, de Warenne (a Henry supporter at the time) was one of the twenty-four member panel/council (half chosen by the king, half chosen by the barons) overseeing the Provisions’ enactment. The Provisions not only required the king to be advised by the council but the overseeing of the entire administration of Parliament and the reforming of the king’s and queen’s households. In attempting to avert civil war, it was a similar, albeit not as onerous, restriction of royal authority as Magna Carta of 1215.
11/6/1381On 11th June 1381, Richard II and his court moved to the safety of the Tower of London after a body of Kent rebels sought to destroy ‘traitors’ surrounding the king. John of Gaunt’s, lord of Pontefract, son, Henry of Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) was amongst the besieged nobles. Gaunt, meanwhile, was in NE England for negotiations with the Scots at Berwick.
11/6/1483On 11th June 1483, Richard Duke of Gloucester (ostensibly believing/proclaiming there was a plot against him) wrote a request to Lord Ralph Neville to meet with his men at Pontefract prior to marching to London.
11/6/1645Pontefract All Saints ChurchOn 11th June 1645, about two o'clock, all the men in the Royalist castle were ordered to arms by the governor. After receiving their orders, they sallied forth in different directions. Their attack was centred mainly on the work around the church. Captain Joshua Walker and twenty men sallied with the first party into the church where they were to remain for twenty-four hours. They took with them sufficient match powder and ammunition. Entering the steeple they kept up fire against the enemy at every opportunity. All Saints Church (Low Church) was still held by the besieged because no major Parliamentary works separated it from the castle. After Captain Flood had taken the works, a party of the Parliamentary forces came down to reoccupy it, whereupon they were fired on from the steeple, killing twelve men among whom were three officers, and wounded several others. The sally was supported by cannon shots from the castle and the besiegers lost forty men killed, eleven taken prisoner and a considerable number wounded. A quantity of muskets, pikes, powder, match and ammunition was taken into the castle. The siege of Pontefract Castle had now been carried on for several months and there did not appear to be any prospect of it being taken by storm or surrendered by capitulation. The Parliamentary high command was dissatisfied with the commanding officer and the way in which the siege had been conducted. An order came to Lord Fairfax to remove Sands and to appoint Colonel General Poyntz to the command.
12/6/1261On 12th June 1261, John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal, joined Simon de Montfort, the Earls of Gloucester and Norfolk, Norfolk’s brother Hugh Bigod and Hugh Despenser in uniting against Henry III’s rejection of the Provisions of Oxford. Henry had sought Pope Alexander IV’s support in invalidating the Provisions (demanding Henry’s powers be subject to a Council of Fifteen) as an oath that had been forced upon the king ‘by a kind of compulsion’. Henry had published the papal letters on this day in his great hall at Winchester, the feast of Whitsun, one of the three feast days during the year (the others being Easter and Christmas) when the kings of England traditionally summoned their nobles for assembly and feasting.
12/6/1334On 12th June 1334, John de Warenne - 7th and last Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - was in Newcastle, to witness his cousin, Edward Balliol, cede much of Scotland south of the Firth of Forth, to King Edward III. It was in 1334 that John finally recovered ownership of Sandal Castle from royal hands. He would continue in ownership of Sandal Castle until his death in June 1347.
12/6/1381On 12th June 1381, from Blackheath in London, the rebel leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt sent a petition to Richard II demanding the heads of men they considered traitors. John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract Castle, was at the top of the list.
12/6/1475On 12th June 1475, Richard, brother of Edward IV, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) and steward of the Duchy of Lancaster north of Trent with official residence at Pontefract Castle, was granted the lordships and manors of Skipton and Marton, previously owned by Lord Clifford who had reputedly killed Edmund, Earl of Rutland (Richard’s elder brother) after the Battle of Wakefield and had died fighting for Henry VI at Ferrybridge in 1461.
12/6/1482On 12th June 1482, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), lord of Sandal, was made commander of the English army invading Scotland. This act followed a treaty signed at Fotheringhay the previous day in which the Duke of Albany, Alexander Stewart, declared himself to be King of Scotland and pledged his loyalty to Edward IV, hoping to overturn the rule of Albany’s brother, James III, in Scotland. With Gloucester, Albany marched at the head of one of the largest English armies assembled (20,000 men). Berwick was seized (the last time it would change hands between England and Scotland) and Edinburgh besieged but Gloucester quit the latter on 11th August. Albany became acting Lieutenant-General of the realm but died in a duel in France in 1485.
12/6/1645General PoyntzOn 12th June 1645, Parliament's  Lord Fairfax and Colonel General Poyntz came from York with a guard of four troops of horse but returned back to York in the evening. The besieged Royalists kept possession of the Low Church, regularly relieving the guard. The next day, Colonel General Poyntz came to Pontefract again and took command. The besieged Royalists, in order to relieve their guards at the Low Church without danger, began a trench from the East gate and continued it down the churchyard. They also made blinds of boughs and sods from the church to Mr Kelham's house to the south of the church. Under cover of this, they cut grass for their cattle bringing in a hundred burdens into the castle. The besiegers relieved their guard at the New Hall the next day with three hundred and twenty men from the town.  Poyntz  would eventually accept the garrison's surrender.
12/6/1887On 12th June 1887, a cannon ball weighing 10lb 2oz was discovered on Sandal Castle hill.
12/6/1924On 12th June 1924, a fete organised by local tradesmen was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle on behalf of the building fund of the Pontefract Infirmary and Dispensary.
13/6/1356On 13th June 1356, Henry, Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, commanded a small army of 800 archers and 500 men-at-arms which arrived in Normandy pursuing Edward III’s aim of forcing the French to accept the Treaty of Guines of 1354. Henry met up with Sir Robert Knolles’ 500 archers from Brittany and a small force under Philip of Navarre and Godfrey de Harcourt. After destroying Verneuil on 5th-6th July and with no advance from John II’s French army, Lancaster retreated into Normandy. These ‘manoeuvres’ prefaced the Black Prince’s crushing victory at the Battle of Poitiers on 19th September 1356 where France’s King John and his youngest son were captured.
13/6/1381Around four o’clock on 13th June 1381, rebels stormed John of Gaunt’s, lord of Pontefract, Savoy Palace in London, destroying cloth, clothes, beds, books, napery, silverware and jewels. A mock puppet dressed as Gaunt was impaled, ‘arrowed’ and hacked and a fire was started in the great hall whilst a drunken rampage ensued in his wine cellars. Unfortunately, many revellers were trapped as the Savoy Palace was burnt to the ground.
13/6/1483On 13th June 1483, Richard, Duke of Gloucester and lord of Sandal, convened a meeting at the Tower of London ostensibly to discuss the impending reign of the young Edward V. The meeting included the Duke of Buckingham, Lord William Hastings, William Catesby, Thomas Rotherham (Edward IV’s former chancellor), John Morton (an executor of Edward IV’s will amongst other roles) and Thomas, Lord Stanley (Edward IV’s household steward). Quite unexpectedly, Richard accused Hastings of plotting with Elizabeth Woodville ‘to destroy me, that am so near of blood unto the king’ and no longer supportive of Richard’s protectorate. Hastings was summarily forced onto Tower Green, shriven by a priest from the Tower chapel of St Peter ad Vincula and beheaded.
13/6/1484On13th June 1484,  Richard III left Pontefract Castle having spent the previous two weeks here as he journeyed southwards again following his northern progress of that year. This stop was part of a prolonged stay in Yorkshire residing in castles at Pontefract, York and Scarborough. It was during this stay that Pontefract was established as a borough.
13/6/1645On 13th June 1645, Nathan Drake, Royalist diarist, recorded: ‘ This day the new generall Poyntes Came from Yorke poaste againe, we supposed it was to draw up all theire horses to be neare together. …we drue down a trench from the lower Castle gate, through Mr Taytomes Orchard, to the Church, for the safeguard of our men thither, wch we almost finished; & made blindes of bowes & soddes, wch the enemy had gott, from the Church to Mr Kellomes, for our men to get gras that way…’
14/6/1309A tournament provided an ideal opportunity to convene large numbers of magnates and knights without arousing suspicion, but it was also of concern to a ‘beleaguered’ monarch. On 14th June 1309, letters close were issued to the following six Earls, and to no others, forbidding them to tourney: Gloucester, Hereford, Warwick, Lancaster (of Pontefract), Warenne (of Sandal) and Arundel.
14/6/1645Charles_Landseer_Cromwell_Battle_of_NasebyOn 14th June 1645, at the Battle of Naseby the Royalist forces were defeated. Following this battle, an offer of surrender terms was put to the Royalists at Pontefract Castle but was refused. The garrison continued to receive letters that a Royal army was coming to relieve them.
15/6/1215Magna_CartaOn 15th June 1215 Magna Carta Libertatum was sealed at Runnymede in front of 25 barons. The youngest of the barons was probably John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, one of the guarantors or sureties of the Great Charter.
15/6/1215On 15th June 1215, William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal castle, was one of the advisers and supporters of King John advising the King to accede to Magna Carta. He was in stark contrast to John de Lacy of Pontefract Castle who was one of the 25 rebel barons, united in their dislike of John, actively trying to force the King to observe Magna Carta. William was named in Magna Carta. The following year, William left King John and supported Prince Louis of France's (later King Louis VIII) claim to the English throne. The claim of Prince Louis failed and William subsequently sided with King John's son Henry III.
15/6/1483Rivers_&_Caxton_Presenting_book_to_Edward_IVOn 15th June 1483, Richard Ratcliffe, a north country ducal councillor, at the behest of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Lord Protector, reached York where he delivered to the civil council the Protector's  order for them to send an armed force to the Earl of Northumberland at Pontefract Castle forthwith. The force was intended to bolster Richard's supposed precarious position after the death of his brother, Edward IV. This order was part of a series of events from the 30th April 1483 at Northampton when Earl Rivers was arrested by the Duke. Rivers was detained for moving the young King Edward V to Stony Stratford without the knowledge of Richard and for withholding news of the death of his brother Edward IV. Richard was wary of the Woodvilles' manipulation of the young king and his likely figurehead role (only) as Protector.
15/6/1484In June 1484, probably whilst staying for prolonged periods at Pontefract Castle, Richard III visited Sandal and authorised the building of a new tower in the castle. He would later order the building of a new bakehouse and brewhouse. By this time, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, and head of the Ducal Council of the North and, following the death of Richard's son Edward in April 1484, Richard's nominated heir apparent, was ordered to reside permanently at Sandal Castle, rather than one of Richard Neville's other properties. Richard III had drawn up a series of ordinances for the household in the north at Sandal, which detailed 'the hours of God's service, diet, going to bed and rising, and also the shutting of the gates". In terms of breakfast, Lincoln and Lord Morley would sit at one table, the Council of the North at another whilst the children (exactly who is open to question) were to 'dine together at one breakfast'. Deliveries of wine, ale and bread were strictly controlled, with John de la Pole, whilst at Sandal, being treated like the king's servant rather than his nominated heir.
15/6/1645On 15th June 1645, Nathan Drake, Royalist diarist, recorded: ‘ This day, being Sunday, at afternoon the enemy went downe boanegate with a troop of horse, wch we espying from the Kinges tower, we plaied the Cannon from thence, wch light amongst them, where we see 3 horses & men lay killd……we playd also another Cannon up the towne, wch went through the howses against Mr Rusbyes, but what hurt was done we know not…..Captin Cartwright releeved the Church wth 26 men till the next releefe…’
15/6/1655On 15th June 1655, administration of goods left in her husband’s will was finally granted in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury to Margery Morris, widow of Colonel John Morris, last Governor of Pontefract Castle during its third siege. Morris had been executed as a traitor six years before.

Last week in history

DateEvent
3/6/1405On 3rd June 1405, Henry IV and his half- brother, Thomas Beaufort, arrived at Pontefract Castle where Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York, and Thomas Mowbray, earl of Norfolk, had been imprisoned. Scrope and Norfolk, seeking revenge for the execution and banishment respectively of their kinsmen, had been persuaded to surrender their forces outside York by Ralph Neville, earl of Westmorland. An eight-man commission sat in judgement on Scrope and Norfolk at the archbishop’s own palace of Bishopthorpe, south of York on the 8th June with both men executed that same day outside York’s town walls. Robert Waterton, Constable of Pontefract Castle, was later accused by the Scottish chronicler, Walter Bower, of having counselled Henry IV to execute Archbishop Scrope. Henry IV attained the status of the only English monarch to have authorised the killing of both an archbishop and a king.
3/6/1454Two letters to their father, Richard Duke of York, lord of Sandal, have been preserved. Edward and Edmund were 12 and 11 years respectively and in their first letter state: 'We thanke your noblesse and good ffadurhod for our grene gownes nowe late sende unto us to our grete comfort: beseeching your good lordeship that we might have summe fyne bonetts sende un to us by the next sure messig, for necessitie so requireth.' The second letter dated June 3rd 1454 says: 'If it please your Highness to know of our welfare at the making of this letter, we were in good health of body thanked be God; beseeching your good and gracious fatherhood of your daily blessing. And where ye command us, by your said letters, to attend specially to our learning in our young age, please it your Highness to wit, that we have attended our learning since we came hither, and shall hereafter, by which we trust to God your gracious Lordship that it may please you to send us Harry Lovedeyne, clerk of your kitchen, whose service is to us right agreeable: and we will send you John Boys to wait on your good Lordship.' A few years later at the Battle of Wakefield Edmund would be tragically killed aged only seventeen.
3/6/1484Cecily NevilleOn 3rd June 1484, whilst staying at Pontefract Castle, Richard III wrote to his mother Cecily - 'Madam I recommend myself to you as heartily as is possible to me; beseeching you in my most humble and affectionate manner of your daily blessing to my especial comfort and defence in my need. And, madam, I heartily beseech you that I may often hear from you to my comfort. And such news as there is here my servant Thomas Bryan, this bearer, shall show you; to whom it may please you to give credence ... And I pray God send you accomplishment of your noble desires. Written at Pontefract, the 3rd day of June, with the hand of Your most humble son, Ricardus Rex.'
3/6/1484On 3rd June 1484, Richard III issued an instruction as follows concerning Sandal Castle: ‘Warrant to the auditor of Wakefield to allow the said John (Woderove) “such sums of money as he shall employ in making of a tower of new in the castle of Sandal”…’
3/6/1643On 3rd June 1643, Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, wrote to the Earl of Newcastle: ‘ Cousin, Seeing that my journey is the cause of many distractions in your army, ….I am induced to beg you to please to assemble to-morrow, at Pontefract, a council of war, in which that affair can be freely discussed; and I will venture to say that what I desire will be judged to be for the king’s service, and the preservation of all this country…….and of all joining in the defence of the public cause, which will certainly suffer, unless we do so….It will not be needful for you to come to the place where I am to sleep; for, if it please God, to-morrow I shall pass by Tadcaster to go to Pontefract.’ There was a great reluctance by the northern Royalist army to provide an escort for the Queen’s journey southwards as it would have meant reducing its forces.
3/6/1645The governor of the castle received letters on 3rd June 1645 conveying information of the king's success at Leicester. An immense booty had fallen into the Royalist hands and the loss of the enemy had been great, many prisoners having been taken. The hopes of the garrison at Pontefract were highly raised at news of this splendid victory.
3/6/1648Pontefract Castle dungeonOn 3rd June 1648, Colonel Morris and Captain Paulden tricked the Parliamentarian guard at Pontefract Castle by posing as delivering mattresses, in which they had hidden weapons. Once inside, they gained control of the castle, imprisoning the Parliamentary defenders and, thereby, leading to the third and final siege. Roger Preston, a gunsmith, not a soldier, was captured with the rest of the Parliamentary Pontefract garrison . There is a letter about him that has survived and is now kept at the British Library in London. The letter is to Parliament's Colonel Thomas Fairfax from Nicholas Walton, the minister of Kirkley. Walton informed Colonel Fairfax that Preston's wife was pregnant and asked Thomas to do his best to arrange Preston's release.
4/6/1394On 4th June 1394, Mary de Bohun, the first wife of the future Henry IV died at Peterborough Castle. Mary would never be queen, as she died before her husband usurped the throne from Richard II, whom he subsequently had killed at Pontefract Castle.  Aged only about twenty-five, she had already had five sons (four surviving) and two daughters and died during her younger daughter Philippa's birth. The marriage was probably the youngest royal marriage to produce children of the period, with the eldest son being born when the parents were probably fourteen or fifteen.
4/6/1645On the night of 4th June 1645, the Parliamentary besiegers began another work at a little distance from the former. It was at the top of Mr Stable's orchard, which may have been behind the houses to the south of the church. This was the 27th work of the besiegers. Also on that night, the besieged Royalists , seeing a fire on Sandal Castle, answered it by another from the Round Tower assuming that the King's forces had obtained another victory.
4/6/1648On 4th or 5th June 1648, soon after Royalist John Morris had gained entry to Pontefract Castle (presaging its third and final siege), Parliamentarian forces plundered his house at East Hague, South Kirkby taking away goods and stock totalling over £1000 (£140,000+ in today’s money) as well as £1800 ((£250,000+) in bonds and bills.
4/6/2012On 4th June 2012, Pontefract Castle and Castle Hill, Huddersfield were among more than 4,000 places around the world where beacons were lit in sequence, to mark the Queen becoming the second monarch in British history to celebrate a sixty years' reign. Originally used for communication or as warnings, beacon chains have come to be used for celebrations. They were lit for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and Queen Elizabeth II's Silver and Golden Jubilees in 1977 and 2002. In the evening of 4th June, during a special Bank Holiday celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the first 'Proms at the Castle' took place, where an evening of classical music was performed by the West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, followed by a firework display.
5/6/1296On 5th June 1296, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, took command of the English forces in Gascony after the death of Edmund of Lancaster at Bayonne. This was the second (and much delayed) English army sent to the duchy in an attempt to regain it in Edward I’s war with France.
5/6/1296On 5th June 1296, Thomas of Lancaster, husband of Alice de Lacy and later lord of Pontefract, succeeded his father, Edmund (Crouchback), as Earl of Lancaster.
5/6/1319On 5th June 1319, Edward II confirmed their mutual grandmother, Eleanor of Provence’s grant of her rights in 1286 in the county of Provence to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, and his brother Henry, who was to succeed to Thomas’s lands and titles some years after Thomas’s execution three years later.
5/6/1327On 5th June 1327, the young king Edward III or his mother, Queen Isabella, ordered a chapel to be built on the hill where Thomas of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, had been beheaded.
5/6/1334The Chronicle of Lanercost records that: ‘Louis de Beaumont, Bishop of Durham, [died] … In his place the monks of Durham elected one of their con-fraternity, Sir Robert of Greystanes, a man in every respect worthy of such a dignity and a doctor of sacred theology. When he came before the king and besought his grace for the baronies and lands belonging to the bishopric, the king received him graciously enough ; but in the end replied that he had sent his own clerk. Master Richard de Bury, Doctor in Theology, to the court of my lord the Pope upon certain important affairs of the realm, and that among other things he had requested him that Richard might be made Bishop of Durham ; but, in the event of his not obtaining what he asked from the Pope then he would willingly grant him [Robert] all the grace he craved. This reply notwithstanding, that monk went before his Archbishop of York, was consecrated by him, was afterwards installed, received the submission of the clergy of the diocese, and performed other acts pertaining to the office of bishop. After this, the aforesaid Master Richard returned from the Pope's court bringing with him to England a bull wherein it was set forth that the Pope had granted him the bishopric of Durham, and that he might be consecrated by any bishop whom he should choose. And consecrated he was in England, but not by the Archbishop of York. Thus were there two bishops consecrated for one bishopric ; but one of them, to wit the monk, shortly after went the way of all flesh ; whereby Master Richard remained as Bishop of Durham, and held a most solemn festival on the day of his installation, to wit, the fifth day of June in the year 1334. My lord the King of England was present, also the Queen, my lord King Edward of Scotland, two English earls, to wit, the king's brother the Earl of Cornwall and the Earl of Warenne (owner of Sandal Castle) four Scottish earls, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Carlisle and a great multitude of clergy and people.’
5/6/1341On 5th June 1341, the founder of the House of York, Edmund of Langley, was born, younger brother to John of Gaunt (born 6th March 1340), later lord of Pontefract. Edmund’s godfathers included John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey and lord of Sandal Castle.
5/6/1402On 5th June 1402, sheriffs throughout England were instructed to suppress all rumours that that Richard II, who had ‘died’ at Pontefract Castle in February 1400, was still alive. By 18th June, a writ informed sheriffs that this was no longer to be the case and that people need not fear arrest as only the leaders would be punished.
5/6/1645On 5th June 1645, there was heavy fire on both Royalist and Parliamentarian sides and a boy from the garrison was wounded while cutting grass.
5/6/1933On 5th June 1933, Pontefract Castle grounds staged boxing bouts during its Whitsuntide gala, in aid of Pontefract and Leeds Infirmaries. The principal bout saw Jimmy Learoyd (aka Young Learoyd) beat Harold (Young) Cole on points over twelve rounds. Jackie Brown, world champion fly-weight had promised to attend but it is not known if he did.
6/6/1194On 6th June 1194, Roger fitz John, Constable of Chester, lord of Pontefract, formally ‘converted’/used the name of de Lacy for the first time by virtue of an agreement with his grandmother, Albreda (Aubrey) de Lisours.
6/6/1294Henry de Lacy SealOn 6th June 1294, Edward I granted Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln and Baron of Pontefract, a Wednesday market to be held at the manor of Pontefract. In addition, markets and fairs were granted at his manors of Bradford, Campsall, Slaidbum, and Almondbury in Yorkshire, Burnley in Lancashire and places in other counties with free warren (franchise or privilege to allow the killing of game) in all his demesne lands (piece of land attached to a manor for the owner's own use) of Knottingley, Owston, Campsall etc in the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
6/6/1372On or around 6th June 1372, Constance (Constanza), Duchess of Lancaster, wife of John of Gaunt, 2nd Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, gave birth at Hertford Castle to a daughter, Catalina aided by Ilote ‘the wise woman….the midwife of Leicester’ who had also attended Gaunt’s first wife, Blanche of Lancaster. Constance sent Katherine Swynford to Edward III to give him news of the birth for which she was rewarded twenty marks (£9,100 today). Gaunt, himself, confirmed an annual grant of twenty marks to Swynford on 15th May 1372 ‘for the good and pleasant service which she gives and has given’ to his wife ‘and for the very great affection which our said consort has towards the said Katherine’
6/6/1645The Parliamentary besiegers received reinforcements on 6th June 1645 from Doncaster. The Royalist garrison discovered four of the enemy stealing iron from a mill under the castle. Three men fled and one was taken prisoner. The prisoner told the garrison that a body of the king's troops had already reached Tuxford and that the troops of Parliament were retreating and would probably assemble in the neighbourhood where a general engagement was expected.
7/6/1300On 7th June 1300, Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was with Edward I at Pontefract Castle in preparation for the king’s Scottish campaign. This was Edward’s second attempt to rally forces, having abandoned plans six months earlier at Berwick on Tweed due to lack of infantry. Edward’s army of ten thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry marched into Scotland in early July 1300. The royal army,  including eighty-seven English barons and several knights of Brittany and Lorraine, had de Lacy in charge of one cavalry unit with the Earl of Surrey, John de St John and the king commanding the others. The ensuing siege of Caerlaverock Castle, albeit ultimately successful by Edward after several attempts, had been reputedly thwarted by only sixty Scots. A papal bull, arriving by the end of August, condemning Edward’s actions in Scotland forced an English withdrawal.  
7/6/1327Tomb of Hugh Despenser the YoungerSome time after Hugh Despenser the Younger's execution (a court favourite of Edward II, but loathed by Edward's wife Queen Isabella) at Hereford on 24th November 1326, Edward II was taken to Kenilworth Castle, arriving there on the 5th December 1326. Edward was then moved to Berkeley Castle and  in June 1327 a gang, led by a Dominican friar and a papal chaplain called Thomas Dunheved, launched a 'rescuing' assault on Berkeley Castle. Whether Edward was freed or not (it's debatable), he was captured shortly afterwards. The gang scattered and Thomas Dunheved was captured eighteen miles from his family home in Dunchurch, Warwickshire and sent to prison in Pontefract Castle, where he died.
7/6/1394On 7th June 1394, Queen Anne of Bohemia, the first wife of Richard II (who would be imprisoned at Pontefract Castle), and eldest daughter of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, died at Sheen Priory in Sheen, now Richmond, London.
7/6/1436On 7th June 1436, Richard, Duke of York (lord of Sandal Castle), newly appointed Lieutenant-General of Normandy, landed at Honfleur with 5,000 men, along with the Earls of Salisbury and Suffolk, to retake fortresses in the Pays de Caux, a chalk plateau in northern Normandy between the Seine estuary and Channel coastline. Philippe of Burgundy’s Armagnac and Burgundian forces were threatening the key port of Calais and surrounding areas.
7/6/1645On 7th June 1645, Nathan Drake, Royalist diarist, recorded: ‘…but about 10 a Clock our men espied a souldier of the enemies Coming downe from Munkhill to the mill, where 2 of our men went out: one was Jonathan (Sir Jarvis Cuttler’s man) the other was Rich. Laipidge. Jonathan tooke him and brought him into the Castle & eased him of his money, but he Confessed little for he was then drunke…’
8/6/1294On 8th June 1294, Edward I summoned certain barons to him at Portsmouth in order to make an assault to recover the Duchy of Gascony, lost to the French in February of that year. Sir Henry de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was to captain the second, larger fleet alongside Edmund of Lancaster. The first force would be led by the king’s nephew, John of Brittany, assisted by John of St John, ousted seneschal of the duchy. Atrocious weather delayed the departure of the first fleet until mid-August and ultimately the main force was postponed indefinitely.
8/6/1336On 8th June 1336, Edward III, arrived at Pontefract on his way north preparing for another attack on Scotland. From mid-June onwards, Edward ravaged the east coast of Scotland (destroying towns, taking food supplies, slaughtering cattle, burning cornfields) to prevent any invasion by French forces under Philip VI in support of Scotland.
8/6/1484On 8th June 1484, whilst staying at Pontefract Castle between 30th May and the 13th June, in seeking a truce between England and a weak and divided France (due to the conflict between the houses of Orleans and Bourbon), Richard III signed a treaty forming an alliance between England and Brittany, thereby refraining from war until the following April 25th. There was a secret codicil in the treaty that stated in return for the aid of 1,000 archers  against France and for grants of the revenues of rebels' estates, Pierre Landois, treasurer and chief officer of Brittany, would return Henry Tudor to the same 'careful custody' in which he had been kept until the death of Edward IV.
8/6/1645On 8th June 1645, about four hundred Parliamentary horse quartered at Tickhill, Rossington and other places beyond Doncaster, had moved to Pontefract. Some troops of these horse were stationed at Cridling Stubbs and Knottingley and a part went over Methley Bridge towards Leeds.
9/6/1398Henry BolingbrokeOn 9th June 1398, John of Gaunt and his family were staying at Pontefract Castle until 14th July of the same year. Their stay at the castle was overshadowed by the threat of the impending duel between his son Henry Bolingbroke and  Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk. The picture is from a miniature of Henry Bolingbroke, circa 1402
9/6/1588On 9th June 1588, a survey was made of Pontefract Park. In pre-Norman times, this land had been mainly waste moorland, forest and fenny marshes. The survey stated: ‘the said park is distant from Pontefract Castle half a quarter of a mile….the whole circuit of the pales include 700 acres, whereof we think there is none may be employed for meadow, 100 acres for arable ground, and all the rest for pasture……… (with) every of the 100 acres of arable land, and every acre of pasture.. worth by the year 12d….. in the pales of the said park (are) 1370 timber trees…(over one thousand) fuel trees. .and 400 saplings…595 deer….and three lodges or houses whereof two are in good reparation, and the third partly in decay….also there is a barn builded in the said park to lye hay in that is gotten for the deer, the reparation whereof is at the queen’s charges’.
9/6/1645On 9th June 1645, the besieged Royalists heard the firing of cannon, which they supposed to be near Sheffield, and concluded that their friends were drawing near. The besieging Parliamentarians kept a strong guard at New Hall which they relieved in the evening. At the same time, two horsemen brought letters to Parliament's Governor Overton and a drum reported that the King and his troops had taken Derby.
9/6/2021On 9th June 2021, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb, an historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning professor emerita of history at the University of Roehampton and Professor Andy Wood, Professor of Social History at Durham University came to Pontefract Castle to film what was to become part of Episode 6 of the television  series "Walking Tudor England". Episode 6 concentrated on the Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536 and its strong links with Pontefract Castle.

Next week in history

DateEvent
17/6/1453On 17th June 1453, Malise Graham, Earl of Menteith (formally Strathern), was released from imprisonment at Pontefract Castle having entered England in November 1427 as a hostage for King James I of Scotland. It appears that the King’s ransom money promised to England was never paid, except a part of the first year’s instalment; and in consequence of this, Scottish hostages were detained in England. Many of them died in England, some ransomed themselves, a few escaped. In June 1453, the Earl of Menteith, who had gone to England as a hostage, was liberated from Pontefract castle, when his son Alexander surrendered himself in his stead with the Earl of Douglas and Lord Hamilton becoming sureties for his return in case of the escape of his son.
17/6/1645During the siege of Sandal Castle, on 17th June 1645, the well tower bore the brunt of the bombardment. More than forty cannon balls were found on the motte slope outside the tower.
17/6/1645On 17th June 1645, the Parliamentary besiegers of the castle enlarged the works, begun on 10th June, which were east of Baghill in the closes, south of the church where they had lost many men. This work was designed to check the Royalist garrison and prevent any relief being afforded. The Royalists had already received information that the king was at Melton Mowbray and intended marching north, and in the space of ten days, if all went well, would relieve the castle of Pontefract. In the afternoon, the besiegers received a considerable body of forces and continued a brisk fire against the castle. The besieged sent Captain Smith with twenty musketeers to relieve their guard in the church.
17/6/1648On 17th June 1648, having taken Pontefract Castle by deceit earlier that month and consigned Parliamentary Governor Cotterell to the makeshift dungeon, Colonel John Morris appointed a Council of War with himself as president; albeit nominally, congenial but ineffective Sir John Digby, Colonel General, was in charge. Eight Articles of War were agreed and officers were appointed to command infantry and horse soldiers within the castle and in the town itself where Royalist troops were to be garrisoned. The articles ended with a warning: ‘If any officer, gentleman, or soldier be negligent upon any duty…or go from guard without order, he shall forfeit a day’s pay, and be disarmed at the head of the troops, or company wherein he serves, and shall be imprisoned twenty-four hours, and the day’s pay be disposed to his fellow soldiers.’  It is noteworthy that on the Council was George Bonevant, former Governor of Sandal Castle which had surrendered nearly three years before.
18/6/1381On 18th June 1381 (some sources say the 19th), news reached John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract Castle, at Berwick that his Savoy Palace in London had been destroyed by rioters during the Peasants’ Revolt. Rumours were to circulate that Gaunt’s southern castles, including Leicester, were in ruins and that two groups of rebels, both 10,000 strong, were searching for him. That same day, Gaunt agreed a renewal of the truce with the Scots until February 1383.
18/6/1483On 18th June 1483, reports began to spread that 20000 men that had gathered at Pontefract (including 300 from York) on the orders of Richard III, were now heading to London from the north in ‘frightening and unheard of numbers’. Following the death of Edward IV on the 9th April that year, Richard, through manipulation, had taken the two princes into his custody for safe-keeping - Edward Prince of Wales at Stony Stratford on the 30th April, and Richard, Duke of York, from sanctuary at Westminster Abbey on the 16th June. A week earlier on the 9th June, William, Lord Hastings and one of Richard’s great supporters, had, at a council meeting, opposed the removal of the young Richard from sanctuary, perhaps coming to realise the true intentions of Richard himself. It would seem that the council meeting was the final straw for Richard and he decided to strike first. Richard was now showing his hand and his actions leading to his intended usurpation of the throne were now in full force (see entry for 10th June 1483 for the content of Richard’s letter asking for men to be sent to the capital).
18/6/1645On 18th June 1645, two letters were received by the besieged Royalist garrison. They were dated the 15th June from Newark  and stated that the king, at the head of his army, was at Melton Mowbray, as mentioned before and that he intended to be at Newark the following Tuesday and then to march forward to the relief of Pontefract. Boothroyd suggests that this might have been a trick by the castle's governor to keep up the spirit of the garrison but some letters must have arrived from Newark because they brought information about the dissension in Parliament and in the City of London.
19/6/1270On 19th June 1270 at a hearing in Westminster Hall concerning manorial rights, John de Warenne’s, 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, followers overwhelmed Alan de la Zouche and his eldest son, causing serious harm to de la Zouche the elder who later died of a fever, brought on by his wounds, on 10th August. On fleeing, de Warenne was taken to Reigate castle by Prince Edward (later King Edward I), fined ten thousand marks (over £6 million in today's money ) and purged by the oath of twenty-five knights at Winchester.
19/6/1312On 19th June 1312, Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, Lieutenant of Scotland and court favourite of Edward II, was executed on the road to Kenilworth on the Earl of Lancaster’s lands after a meeting of barons at Warwick Castle. His ‘jurors’ included the Earls of Warwick, Lancaster, Hereford and Arundel. Gaveston had been besieged and captured by the Earls of Pembroke, and Surrey and Baron Henry de Percy a month before at Scarborough. The Earl of Lancaster’s advice to his fellow rebels ‘While he lives there will be no safe place in the realm of England’ was the harbinger of Gaveston’s death.
19/6/1645On 19th June 1645,  Colonel General Poyntz and Colonel Overton, Governor of Pontefract, returned from Doncaster and drew up their Parliamentary forces  in the Marketplace. Captain Washington and Lieutenant Empson went out of the castle to Newark, most probably to obtain correct information and ascertain whether anything could be done for the relief of Pontefract Castle.
20/6/1264On 20th June 1264, all of the lands of John de Warenne - 6th Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal Castle - were seized by  Simon de Montfort who now had control of King Henry III. All estates, which included Sandal Castle, and with the exceptions of Reigate and Lewes, were given into the custody of Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester. The Sussex lands were given to the Simon de Montfort's second son, also called Simon de Montfort.
20/6/1645Parliament's Colonel General Poyntz called a council of law on 20th June 1645 in the town. In the afternoon, there arrived several loaded wagons at the New Hall in which in one of these there was a cannon. A party of infantry played their cannon without doing any damage. On the following day, Parliamentary forces began to form a platform at Monkhill for the cannon. Efforts by the Royalist garrison in firing at them were unsuccessful for the works they had already raised protected the opposing forces. The following night, the cannon was brought from New Hall and placed against the church. The guard was relieved at the church and a deserter came into the castle and informed the besieged Royalists that the Parliamentary troops, unsuccessful against His Majesty, had since been routed.
21/6/1317The terms on which Thomas, Earl of Lancaster’s (lord of Pontefract) retainers served him are set out by four extant indentures, which differ little from the normal type of written contract which bound a man to his lord during this period. One indenture is that sealed with Sir William Latimer, a Yorkshire banneret, on 15th May 1319; others are with Sir Hugh Meynill of Derbyshire (24th July 1317), Sir John Eure of Northumberland (29th December 1317) and Sir Adam de Swillington, another Yorkshireman (21st June 1317). All four instruments specified that service was to be for life, in peace and war, in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and against all men save the king (this last clause was invoked by at least two of the Earl’s knights to excuse their desertion of him under the stress of events of 1320-1322).
21/6/1483After Edward IV's death in April 1483, Richard Duke of Gloucester became Protector of the Realm. In June 1483, Richard declared there was a conspiracy against the Protectorship. Richard directly accused Hastings, Stanley, Morton and Rotherham of plotting with the Woodvilles, including the Queen Dowager, Elizabeth Woodville, against the government. Richard sent letters to his supporters in the north, including York, Hull and Northumberland. The Burghers of York proclaimed that an army of no less than 300 men should meet up at Pontefract Castle before marching to London on 21st June 1483.
21/6/1645On 21st June 1645, Nathan Drake, Royalist diarist, recorded:' …we had a poore manwho before this Seege dwelt at Munkhill and having his howse burnt by the enemy Came into the Castle for suckor, & going forthis morning to get grasse for the Cattell by Munkhill mill, was there shott dead upon the place where he was getting of it & fetcht in at night & buryd…’
22/6/1307A papal letter by Pope Clement V, dated 22nd June 1307, authorised the Archbishop of York to give a commission to William de Pykeringe, archdeacon of Nottingham and canon of York, to reconcile the churchyard of Pontefract, which had been polluted by bloodshed.
22/6/1449On the 22nd June 1449, Richard Duke of York, owner of Sandal castle, finally set sail from Beaumaris to take up his position as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, almost two years after being appointed to the position.
22/6/1483On 22nd June 1483, Dr Ralph Shaw (or Sha), a Cambridge doctor of divinity and brother of the Mayor of London, Edmund Shaw, delivered an ‘explosive’ sermon from the open-air pulpit at St Paul’s Cross in London. This was to vindicate Richard’s, Duke of Gloucester, lord of Sandal, claim to the crown. Shaw announced a ‘precontractual’ marriage/betrothal between Edward IV and Lady Eleanor Butler invalidating Edward’s later marriage to Elizabeth Woodville thereby rendering their children illegitimate and negating any rights to the throne. Shaw’s text from the fourth chapter of the Book of Wisdom quoted: ‘Bastard slips shall not take deep root.’ Bishop Stillington is later said to have confirmed this as he was present at Edward’s and Eleanor’s betrothal. Some sources even claim that Shaw questioned the legitimacy of Edward IV and his brother, George, Duke of Clarence, by reason of their mother’s Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, infidelity; citing Richard, Duke of Gloucester’s resemblance to his father, Richard, Duke of York, unlike his two brothers.
22/6/1484Between 22nd and 23rd June 1484, Richard III stayed at Pontefract Castle after visiting York. During June of this year, Richard had been at Pontefract for twenty two days.
22/6/1645Leather CannonOn 22nd June 1645, as soon as the day dawned, Parliamentary forces made a strong attack upon the guard in the Low Church, which they entered with a hundred men. Another party went up the trenches of the besieged Royalists and so to the castle. The guard in the church compelled those who entered to retreat and those in the steeple gave the alarm to the Royalist garrison by ringing the bell. A continuous fire from the steeple and from the East Tower of the castle rendered the attempt of those who had entered the trenches useless and so they retreated to their works, carrying their dead and wounded with them. After some time, the cannon planted at Monkhill, and carrying a ball of eighteen pounds in weight, began to aim against the lantern of the steeple. In about an hour and a half, they aimed thirteen times but did no damage. The besieged Royalists, in order to preserve the church and to protect their guard, played their cannon from King's Tower against the enemy's works at Monkhill and at the fifth discharge dismounted the cannon of the Parliamentary forces. The remainder of the day was spent by the Parliamentarians remounting their cannon and throwing up works for its security. In the afternoon, the besieging Parliamentarians relieved all their guards and in the evening the besiegers conversed freely with the besieged and informed them of Cromwell's success and the almost final destruction of the forces belonging to His Majesty. The besieged Royalists considered this information as designed to induce them to surrender and still hoped that they should soon be relieved.
22/6/1897Pontefract Market Place 1897On Tuesday 22nd June 1897,  celebrations for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee commenced with ‘Dinner to the Aged Poor’. 275 people attended dinner in the Assembly Room. The dinner consisted of roast beef and plum pudding, with bread and cheese washed down with ale or aerated waters. At 2pm, school children and teachers of the town, numbering about 2000, marched from their schools to the Corn Market. Each child had received a medal at school before setting off. Groups taking part in the procession included: The Borough Band; The Pontefract Volunteers; The Fire Brigade; The St George Lodge of Oddfellows; The Pontefract Miners Association; The Old Tradesmen’s Association and ‘The Cyclists of the Town and District in Cycling Costume, on plain or decorated machines. The procession finished at Pontefract Castle where entertainments were provided for the children. At 5 o'clock, the children and teachers marched back to their schools where they were provided with tea, buns and sweet cake. At 10 o'clock that night, rockets were set off from Park Hill to signal the lighting of The Beacon Fire. Four local dignitaries each lit a corner of the Beacon and the crowd sang ‘God Save the Queen’. Around the main streets of Pontefract, crowds walked to see the beacon and rockets, accompanied by outbursts of national music. The celebrations continued well past midnight.
22/6/1911On 22nd June 1911, a bonfire consisting of over 100 tons of timber was lit at ten o clock by Wakefield’s Mayor, Mr A Hudson, on Sandal Castle hill, to celebrate George V’s coronation. It was one in a chain of hundreds that stretched from John O’ Groats to Land's End.
23/6/1253On 23rd June 1253, Sir Edmund de Lacy, lord of Pontefract, was given the custody of the hundred (a division of an English shire consisting of 100 hides: a hide being about 30 modern acres) of Staincliffe, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, for £26 3s and 6d a year (£37,417 in today's money) and was assured in July that if the land was leased for farming, first refusal would lie with Edmund.
23/6/1314On 23rd June 1314,  Thomas Earl of Lancaster,  although not taking part in the Battle of Bannockburn, assembled a private army at Pontefract believing that if Edward II was successful he would next attack Thomas. When Edward II retreated to York after the battle, Thomas confronted Edward and was able to exact a pardon for himself and a hundred others for breaches of the peace.
23/6/1381On 23rd June 1381, from Edinburgh, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract Castle, summoned his wife, Duchess Constance, to travel north to meet him, nervous about the encroaching rioting in the south of England. Gaunt had sent out orders on the 17th indicating he was moving his household north from Leicester to Pontefract. Constance was to reach Knaresborough Castle by the 29th June having been barred from Pontefract Castle by its Constable en route because of his fear of the wrath of the rebels.
23/6/1483On 23rd June 1483, in his prison at Sheriff Hutton, prior to his being escorted to Pontefract the following day, Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, was informed he had been sentenced to death by Richard of Gloucester, Constable and Protector, as a result of his sister’s plotting. His will, dated from Pontefract, concludes with an appeal to Richard: ‘I humbly beseech my lord of Gloucester in the worship of Christ’s passion, and for the merit and weal of his soul, to help and assist as supervisor of this testament, that mine executors may, with his pleasure, fulfil this my last will’.
23/6/1643On 23rd June 1643, Queen Henrietta, wife of Charles I, left Pontefract Castle having landed at Bridlington with troops and arms on her return from Europe raising money for the Royalist cause. She met her husband at Kineton, near Edgehill, on her way to Oxford. Henrietta was the last royal figure to be entertained at the castle.
23/6/1645On 23rd June 1645, the besieging Parliamentary forces played their cannon against the church as early as 2 o'clock in the morning and continued fire against the lantern of the steeple until 6 o'clock, when a breach was made and a part of it fell down. Fire was discontinued until the afternoon when the steeple was so badly damaged that the besieged Royalists considered it no longer tenable. However, they sent twenty musketeers to relieve the guard but only two or three men were allowed in the church; the rest were ordered to occupy the houses around the church. The Royalists concluded that their opponents would make an attempt in the night to gain possession of the church and had loaded their cannon with grapeshot. As expected, at one o'clock, the enemy made an attack on the church; the besieged fired upon them and the enemy were forced to retreat to their works.