Battles and Sieges

Agreement made for the surrender of the Tower of London , 16 July 1460

Agreements were made for the surrender of the Tower of London by the Lancastrians to Yorkists on 16 July 1460. This followed the return to London of the Yorkist army, with King Henry VI in their company, after the Battle of Northampton. 

At Northampton, the Yorkist army had won a victory on 10 July. King Henry had been taken by the Yorkists and returned to London with them, in their ‘care’. The return:

“was conducted with all outward forms of state and ceremony to London, which he [the King] arrived and where he was affectionately received by all classes, the confederates thereby being constrained to treat him with becoming decorum and reverence.” The Chronicles of the White Rose of York

The return to London of King Henry VI and the victorious Yorkist army led to talks about the surrender of the Tower of London. An agreement was reached on 16 July, recorded by the Common Council:

“Be it rembred that we William Hulyn maire of the citee of London and the aldermen and the comues of the saine agree us by thise presentz to holde ferme and stable and to perform in every pointe in that that in us shall be alle suche appoyntementz touchyng the gyvyng over of the Toute of London by therle of Kendale the lord Scales the lord Lovell the lord Hungerford and Sir Edmond Hampden and others now beyng wtin the saine tour, and the receyving of the tour aforesaid by the erle of Salisbury to the kinges use as be made by the saine erle of his deputees on that one partie, and the said erl of Kendale lord Scales, lord Lovell, lord Hungerford and Sir Edmond Hampdon and others or that othre partie. In witness whereof to thise saine presentz we have put our comon seal writen at London aforesaid the xvi day of July the xxxviiith year of the reign of King Henry the vi.”

The agreements made allowed for the defending Lords to leave the Tower unmolested. Lord Scales, however, was assassinated on the following Sunday by men associated with the Earl of Warwick. The ‘unmolested’ clearly only applied to their leaving the tower and gave no assurance of their wellbeing in the days that followed.

Before the end of July, Sir Thomas Blount, John Archer from the Council of the Duke of Exeter and five further members of the Exeter household had faced trial, been found guilty of illegally taking the tower and executed at Tyburn. The Yorkists were making their ascendancy count.


The Battle of Northampton

Yorkist return to London after the Battle of Northampton.

Francis Lovell Blog – The Tower of London, 1460. This post looks at the involvement of the Lovell family in the Siege of 1460.

Erenow – They that were in the Tower cast Wildfire into the City.

The Tower of London was besieged again in 1471. On this occasion a Lancastrian force lay siege to the City of London whilst the bulk of Yorkist forces had marched west to intercept Queen Margaret’s army, culminating in the Battle of Tewkesbury.

Image Credit

Panoramic view from the Tower of London. The White Tower is one the right and Wakefield Tower is on the left. In the background on the left can be seen the east side of Traitor’s Gate. Via Wikipedia. MatthiasKabel derivative work: Nev1 (talk– Panoramic_view_from_Tower_of_London.jpg CC BY-SA 3.0

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