On this day in 1460, in the Wars of the Roses (see also February 18th, April 21st and May 14th postings), 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). 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 details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of this web-site.
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