On this day in 1450 Jack Cade, alias Mortimer, and thousands of armed supporters entered London “to punish evil ministers and procure a redress of grievances”. Cade went on to strike the “London Stone” on Cannon Street with his sword, and declare himself “Lord of this City” (*); and in this capacity to oversee the show-trial at the Guildhall and subsequent execution on Cheapside of the corrupt Lord High Treasurer, James Fiennes, Baron of Saye and Sele, and his son-in-law William Crowmer. Unfortunately for Cade, in succeeding days he lost what support he had for his cause among the citizens of London, as his followers descended into drunken rioting and looting in the City. Eventually, on July 8th, the citizens drove him and his followers from the City, after a pitched battle on London Bridge, during which scores of combatants were killed (**).
(*) An act immortalised thus by Shakespeare in “Henry VI Part II”, Act IV, Scene VI:
“Now is Mortimer Lord of this City. And here, sitting upon London-stone, I charge and command that, of the city’s cost, the pissing-conduit run nothing but claret wine this first year of our reign. And now, henceforward, it shall be treason for any that calls me other than Lord Mortimer”.
(**) Cade was later captured and executed in Sussex, whereupon his body was brought to London and beheaded and quartered in the King’s Bench Prison in Southwark, and his head was put upon a pike on London Bridge.