Use of a chemical weapon in Medieval London 

July 2nd – On this day in 1460, in the Wars of the Roses, the Yorkist army arrived at the gates of London, and were admitted by Aldermen sympathetic to their cause.  At this, the Lancastrian garrison in the Tower, under Thomas, the Seventh Baron Scales, indiscriminately opened fire on the City in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prevent its  occupation, using both  conventional and chemical weapons from the Royal Armoury, causing both combatant and civilian  casualties, and occasioning extreme public outrage (eventually resulting in Scales’s summary execution).

Wildfire being let loose from a flame-thrower

Wildfire being let loose from a flame-thrower

The chemical weapon, let loose from a primitive and unreliable flame-thrower, was “Greek fire” or “wildfire”, which may be  thought of as a form of napalm, that stuck and set fire to  everything – and everyone –  it came into contact with, and flared  up even more fiercely if water was cast onto it.

The Tower of London  is visited, although not entered, on our “London Wall” and “Tower to Temple” standard walks, and on our “Medieval London”, “Medieval City Highlights”, “Tudor and Stuart London”, “Tudor and Stuart City Highlights”, “Rebellious London”  and “Lost City Highlights” themed specials.

Further blog postings on the War of the Roses –  Conscience is but a word that cowards use,, Battle of Barnet and the War of the Roses and The Bastard Fauconberg’s Assault on London

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of this web-site.Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

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