Tag Archives: War of the Roses

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).

The Bastard Fauconberg’s Assault on London

Inside the Tower - a place of orgotten dreadful cubicles behind great closed doors

The Tower – ‘forgotten dreadful cubicles behind great closed doors’

During the “Wars of the Roses” in the fifteenth century, between 1455-85, London was an important centre of  political machination, and the Tower, at least according to legend, the scene  of a series of chilling politically motivated murders, in forgotten dreadful cubicles behind  great  locked doors.

There was some actual action  in the City, too, in 1460,  when the Lancastrian garrison under Lord Scales used a primitive – and unreliable – type of  chemical weapon called “wildfire” in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Yorkist forces from entering.

The Bastard Fauconberg's assault on London

The Bastard Fauconberg’s assault on London

And there was further action in 1471, in fact on this day (14th May) in 1471, when the by then Yorkist garrison was bombarded and then assaulted, as the contemporary “Chronicle of London” put it, “on alle sydys”, by Lancastrian forces  under the privateer Thomas Nevill, illegitimate son of William Nevill, Lord Fauconberg, and otherwise known as the Bastard Fauconberg.  In response, the  Lord Mayor, John Stockton,  and his Sheriffs, John Crosby and John Ward,  rode from gate to gate to rally the City’s  defences, “in alle haast with a Trumpett”.   And for the most part the defences held firm.  Aldgate came under the most sustained attack, “with mighty shott of hand Gunnys & sharp shott of arrowis”.  Indeed, some attackers even  managed to enter the City there, only to be held up by defenders under the Recorder of the City, Thomas Ursewyk, and an Alderman named John Basset, and then to be forced to retreat  by the arrival of defensive reinforcements from the Tower of London, “which dyscomffortid the Rebellys”.

The ill-fated Henry VI

The ill-fated Henry VI

The attack had failed, and the attackers who had evaded capture took to their ships, and sailed out to the safety of the Thames estuary.  Many  of those  who had been captured  were summarily executed, including Spysyng and Quyntyn.  And within days, Henry VI was apparently also done to death, on the orders of Edward IV, in the Tower.

Aldgate   is visited on our “Aldgate, Bishopsgate and beyond” and “London Wall” standard walks, and on our “Lost City Highlights” and “Medieval London” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section of our web-site.

The traditional site of Henry VI's murder in the Tower

The traditional site of Henry VI’s murder in the Tower

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).

 

The Battle of Barnet and “The Wars of the Roses”

April 14th – On this day in 1471 took place, in “The Wars of the Roses”, the Battle of Barnet, between Yorkists under Edward IV and Lancastrians under Henry VI, with the Yorkists winning.

During “The Wars of the Roses”, between 1455-85, London was an important centre of political machination, and the Tower, at least according to legend, the scene of a series of chilling politically motivated murders, in forgotten dreadful cubicles behind great locked doors.

There was some actual action in the City as well: in 1460, when the Lancastrian garrison under Lord Scales used a primitive – and unreliable – type of chemical weapon called “wildfire” in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Yorkist army from entering; and again in 1471, when the by then Yorkist garrison was bombarded by the Lancastrian navy and army under the Bastard Fauconberg. And there were pitched battles on the outskirts, at St Alban’s in 1455 and 1461, as well as at Barnet in 1471.

Many of the barons killed in the Battle of Barnet were buried in Austin Friars Priory, which was originally built in around 1253. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538, most of the priory precinct came into the possession of Sir William Paulet, the First Marquess of Winchester, who built himself a substantial town-house there, which survived the Great Fire of 1666, but was demolished in 1839.  (Thomas Cromwell’s former house on the site came into the possession of the Drapers’ Company, and was burned down in the Great Fire of 1666). In 1550, under Edward VI, part of the priory church was given over to the local Dutch Protestant community to serve as their church, “notwithstanding that they do not conform with the rites and ceremonies used in our Kingdom” (and the remaining part reverted to being the parish church of St Peter-le-Poer). The Dutch Church survived the Great Fire, but was destroyed in another fire in 1862, rebuilt in 1863, destroyed again in an air raid in 1940, and rebuilt again in 1950-56.

Dutch Church, Austin Friars

Dutch Church, Austin Friars

The site of the Austin Friars Priory is visited on our “Aldgate, Bishopsgate and beyond” standard walk, and on our “Medieval London” and “Medieval City highlights” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available via the “Guided Walks” section of the 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).

“Conscience is but a word that cowards use”

Reconstruction of Richard III

Reconstruction of Richard III

The skeleton of Richard III, recently discovered in a car park in Leicester

The skeleton of Richard III, recently discovered in a car park in Leicester

February 18th – At least according to legend, on this day in 1478, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later went on to become Richard III, ordered the death in the Tower of London of his brother George, Duke of Clarence – by drowning in  a butt of Malmsey wine. This was only one of a series of chilling politically motivated murders in the Tower during the Wars of the Roses – in forgotten dreadful cubicles behind  great  locked doors.

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

 

The Tower of London as viewed from the Shard

The Tower of London as viewed from the Shard

Further details of all our walks are available in the “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).

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).

The Battle of Barnet and “The Wars of the Roses”

April 14th – On this day in 1471 took place, in “The Wars of the Roses”, the Battle of Barnet, between Yorkists under Edward IV and Lancastrians under Henry VI, with the Yorkists winning.

During “The Wars of the Roses”, between 1455-85, London was an important centre of political machination, and the Tower, at least according to legend, the scene of a series of chilling politically motivated murders, in forgotten dreadful cubicles behind great locked doors. There was some actual action in the City as well: in 1460, when the Lancastrian garrison under Lord Scales used a primitive – and unreliable – type of chemical weapon called “wildfire” in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Yorkist army from entering; and again in 1471, when the by then Yorkist garrison was bombarded by the Lancastrian navy and army under the Bastard Fauconberg. And there were pitched battles on the outskirts, at St Alban’s in 1455 and 1461, as well as at Barnet in 1471.

Many of the barons killed in the Battle of Barnet were buried in Austin Friars Priory, which was originally built in around 1253. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538, most of the priory precinct came into the possession of Sir William Paulet, the First Marquess of Winchester, who built himself a substantial town-house there, which survived the Great Fire of 1666, but was demolished in 1839.  (Thomas Cromwell’s former house on the site came into the possession of the Drapers’ Company, and was burned down in the Great Fire of 1666). In 1550, under Edward VI, part of the priory church was given over to the local Dutch Protestant community to serve as their church, “notwithstanding that they do not conform with the rites and ceremonies used in our Kingdom” (and the remaining part reverted to being the parish church of St Peter-le-Poer). The Dutch Church survived the Great Fire, but was destroyed in another fire in 1862, rebuilt in 1863, destroyed again in an air raid in 1940, and rebuilt again in 1950-56.

Dutch Church, Austin Friars

Dutch Church, Austin Friars

“Conscience is but a word that cowards use”

Reconstruction of Richard III

Reconstruction of Richard III

The skeleton of Richard III, recently discovered in a car park in Leicester

The skeleton of Richard III, recently discovered in a car park in Leicester“Conscience is but a word that cowards use”

February 18th – At least according to legend, on this day in 1478, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later went on to become Richard III, ordered the death in the Tower of London of his brother George, Duke of Clarence – by drowning in  a butt of Malmsey wine. This was only one of a series of chilling politically motivated murders in the Tower during the Wars of the Roses – in forgotten dreadful cubicles behind  great  locked doors. The Tower is visited, although not entered,  on our  “London Wall – A Story of Survival” and “Tower to Temple – The Heart of the City” standard walks, and on our  “Medieval London”, “Post-Medieval London” and “Lost City Highlights” themed specials.

The Tower of London as viewed from the Shard

The Tower of London as viewed from the Shard

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