Friday, 12 March 2021

The Bombardment of London

 I am still reading, and enjoying, 'The Castle in the Wars of the Roses'. I shall do a full (or cursory - delete as appropriate) review in due course; watch out for more Spofforth related nit-picking. However in Chapter 5 we have reached the bombardment of London by the Bastard of Fauconberg.

A mere eight years ago I mentioned that I had been involved in a debate within the Richard III Society about which side the garrison of Calais had been during this event. It is often said that such discussions are all the more heated because there is so little at stake. I rather wish that had remained the case in the Society which has been riven by factionalism over the last year or so, leading to rather tragic events just before Christmas. Anyway, back to the book and to 1471; enter Dr Spencer with a different take on things. According to him, the Calais garrison - whom you will recall were the closest thing that England had to a standing army at that time - were with the Bastard. However, he also says that Richard Haute, appointed as Lieutenant of the Tower of London by Edward IV whilst he was in the city following his victory at Barnet, had recruited one hundred soldiers who had formerly served in the garrison. So, very neatly, they turn out to have served on both sides. If only all disputes could be resolved by compromise.


And six years ago, I declared my intention to create a scenario based on the bombardment. Perhaps now that I have a suitable amount of city walls, a castle and some siege rules which could be (heavily) adapted I should get on with it. I think part of the attraction is the surreal moment where Thomas Neville demands that the city opens its gates in the names of Prince Edward and the Earl of Warwick, the city fathers point out that those two are both dead now, and the Bastard in effect says "Don't bother me with details, just open the gates.".

Interestingly the next chapter in the book covers the siege of St Michael's Mount, another one I have always fancied doing. Maybe the blue table top in the annexe will see the light of day after all this time.

1 comment:

  1. Always gives a warm Australian feeling when you find a bastard featured in a blogpost.

    "Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?"

    To return to the Bastard in question, his wikipedia page is a classic of the genre.