Richard’s weak spot

Well, maybe not so quickly. Henry had ordered the royalist barons to assemble in Windsor, but it took him nine days to get there from Canterbury, and he didn’t make it to Oxford until 8 March 1264. The whole month was given over to peace talks, both in Oxford and in nearby Brackley. At one point the bishops were prepared to offer Henry everything except the aliens, but the king was dismissive. By the end of the month he was ready to march on Northampton and didn’t need to make concessions. It was the Montfortians in London, however, who made the first move. The tolling of the great bell of St. Paul’s was the signal for armed bands to gather, under the direction of Hugh Despenser, and descend on royalist properties throughout the city. Particularly hard hit were Richard’s manor in Isleworth, where the crowd destroyed his lovingly-crafted fishpond, and his mansion in Westminster. Nothing aggrieved Richard so much as an assault on his personal worth and Simon was apparently counting on an inflamed Richard pressuring Henry into attacking London first. Henry for once played the coolheaded of the two brothers and remained focused on the Midlands, leaving Richard to take his revenge on any passers-by from London his men happened to get their hands on.

The medieval St. Paul's. Let's take this town apart.
The medieval St. Paul’s. Let’s take this town apart.

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