Today In History

Pontefract Castle
Pontefract Castle 14th Century
1344 On 23rd April 1344,  according to The Complete Peerage, under 'the Founders of the Order of the Garter'  the Order was first instituted (other dates from 1344 to 1351 have been proposed). Henry of Grosmont, first Duke of Lancaster, who was the nephew of Thomas 2nd Earl of Lancaster, lord of Pontefract, was the second inductee to this order. After Thomas' execution in 1322, the Honour of Pontefract was eventually restored to Thomas's brother Henry, the father of Henry Grosmont.
1358 On St. George’s Day 1358, a great tournament was held at Windsor in celebration of the English victory at Poitiers and capture of the French king. Unfortunately for Henry, Duke of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, he was severely wounded whilst jousting with a knight.
1361 In April 1361 (probably St George’s Day the 23rd), John of Gaunt, not long after the death of his father-in-law, Henry, 1st Duke of Lancaster (lord of Pontefract) and soon to receive this title from Edward III, was fast-tracked into the Order of the Garter.
1377 On 23rd April 1377, Edward III nominated the heirs to the kingdom for the Order of the Garter: his grandsons Richard of Bordeaux (later Richard II) and Henry of Bolingbroke (later Henry IV and son and heir of John of Gaunt who had made Pontefract Castle his personal residence). In addition, Edward also knighted his youngest son, Thomas of Woodstock and the young heirs to the earldoms of Oxford, Salisbury, and Stafford and the heirs to the baronies of Mowbray, Beaumont and Percy concluding with knighting his own illegitimate son, John Southeray (by Edward’s mistress Alice Perrers).
Pontefract Castle 17th Century
1643 On 23rd April 1643, Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, wrote to Charles: ‘My dear heart, …..Having heard that Pontefract was besieged, our army advanced, as soon as money could be got to make it march: they set off, and by the road, I gave six thousand pieces, for without that, they could not have marched; but this truth should not be known by every body. The army marched to Pontefract; I hear that the rebels quitted the place, and went to Leeds to join the rest of Fairfax’s forces: our troops followed them, and it was resolved to besiege Leeds……but when our cannon came to play, it produced no effect, on which a council of war was called…..’
1645 On 23rd April 1645, Nathan Drake, Royalist diarist, recorded:' …came the beseegers from the upp’ towne to baghill wth 50 musketeres, 7 lined the hedge 7 the dike wth them; they played very soare against the Castle but did no harme, onely a young maid was Drying of Clothes in Mr Taytons Orchard (Close by the lower Castle gate). She was shott into the head whereof she dyed that night…’
Sandal Castle
Sandal Castle 12th Century
1144 On 23rd April 1144, the Castle of Rouen, the Duchy of Normandy’s capital city, garrisoned by William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey and owner of Sandal castle, surrendered to Count Geoffrey of Anjou, husband of Empress Matilda, after a three months’ siege. Geoffrey was soon invested as Duke of Normandy, ceding Gisors and the Vexin to Louis VII of France in return for his recognising Geoffrey as the new Duke.