The Tudor Society

20 October – Pontefract Castle surrenders, but all is not as it seems…

On this day in Tudor history, 20th October 1536, Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy, owner of Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, yielded his castle to the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace. However, all was not as it seemed, as Darcy and others on the castle were actually sympathetic to the rebel cause.

Find out more about the situation at Pontefract Castle in October 1536, the letters Darcy wrote to King Henry VIII, and what happened on the night of 19th October and morning of 20th October, and why Darcy came to a sticky end, in today's talk.

For more on the Pilgrimage of Grace Rebellion, see:

October 4 - The Pilgrimage of Grace Rebellion is underway!

October 19 - Henry VIII gets tough on rebels

Also on this day in history:

  • 1549 – Death of John Uvedale, administrator. Uvedale served Henry VIII as Secretary to the Duke of Richmond's Council in the North, Secretary to Queen Anne Boleyn (1533-1536), Commissioner in the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Paymaster to the forces in the East and Middle Marches. In Edward VI's reign, he was Under-Treasurer for the Scottish war.
  • 1557 (20th or 21st) – Death of Mary Arundell, (other names Mary Radcliffe, Countess of Sussex and Mary Fitzalan, Countess of Arundel), at Bath Place, London. She was originally buried at St Clement Danes' Church, but now rests in the Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel Castle. Mary was the daughter of Sir John Arundell of Lanherne in Cornwall and was married twice, first to Robert Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, and second to Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel.
  • 1573 – Death of Thomas Smith, colonial adventurer, at Comber in the Ards, co. Down, Ireland, after being shot by one of his Irish employees. Smith had been attempting to colonise that part of Ireland and had become unpopular with the locals.
  • 1581 – Death of James Blount, 6th Baron Mountjoy, at Hooke in Dorset. Blount was made a Knight of the Bath at Mary I's coronation, served as a Justice of the Peace, and experimented with alchemy.

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. R

    20,000 people outside v 300 inside, not enough artillery and supplies, yes, a very difficult choice and one made by many others, the Bigods, Neville family, Bulmers and many local gentlemen. Even Norfolk and Suffolk told Henry they couldn’t engage as they were outnumbered and didn’t have enough guns and horses. Darcy must have been desperate to do the right thing: these were his fellow Englishmen and women outside, fellow Yorkshire people, not an invasion from France: he had sympathy for them but also his duty to hold the castle and obey the King. An icky moment indeed and I sympathise with his dilemma. He had written to the King, had no instructions other than hold the castle, no reinforcements and he was 70 years old. I can understand his dilemma.

    1. C - Post Author

      Yes, I can understand his dilemma too. He was very torn.

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20 October – Pontefract Castle surrenders, but all is not as it seems…