Having returned from Ireland in October 1460, tried to claim the throne and ultimately agreed that he would inherit it after Henry VI died, Richard duke of York made his way north to deal with Margaret of Anjou who was not terribly impressed with the turn of events. Her forces were recorded at Pontefract, Hull and then further north. Amongst them was Richard’s own son-in-law Henry Holland, duke of Exeter.
Henry Holland, a great-grandson of Edward III and descendent of Joan of Kent (thus a descendent of Edward I), had been married off to Richard of York’s eldest daughter (to survive childhood) Anne in 1447. He remained loyal to Henry VI and would be a commander on the Lancastrian side of the field at the Battle of Wakefield. It would be a mistake that would leave him attainted for treason after the Battle of Towton in Easter 1461. Anne Holland and her only child, Anne, would gain Holland’s estates. The couple’s marriage would be annulled in 1472 after Holland was badly wounded at the Battle of Barnet. Anne would remarry Thomas St Leger and die in childbirth – another Anne. As for Anne Holland Junior she would be married off to Elizabeth Woodville’s son, Thomas Grey, marquis of Dorset. She would be dead by 1474. If you want to know more about Anne of York read Susan Higginbottom’s post here. In a twist of history when the skeleton of Richard III was discovered under the car park it would be Anne of York’s descendants who provided the DNA that proved that it was Richard.
But back to December 1460, Richard was troubled by bad weather and an unfortunate interlude with the duke of Somerset at Worksop on the 16th December recorded by William of Worcester. The Worcester chronicle stated that Richard arrived at Sandal on the 21st December (although Edward Hall states that he didn’t arrive until Christmas Eve).
Richard’s arrival in Sandal revealed that the castle didn’t have enough stores to feed the extra mouths – and not enough space either- lots of Richard’s soldiers spent a chilly Christmas under canvas. Nor was it possible to go foraging very easily as Sandal was a York pinpoint on a noticeboard of Lancaster red.