This Day in History: 1312-09-03

Thomas, Earl of Lancaster and lord of Pontefract, failed to appear (as commanded by the king) on 27th August at Westminster, and it was not until 3rd September that he, and the Earls of Hereford and Warwick approached the city. For the previous fortnight, the earls had delayed at Ware in Hertfordshire, probably to gather their forces, and now they came towards the capital horsed and armed. Reports suggested that Lancaster alone brought with him a thousand horsemen and 1,500 foot; Hereford had a strong retinue of Welshmen, and Warwick more men from his earldom. Rumours multiplied. Some said that the king had proclaimed a parliament in order to take Lancaster, but that the Earl, knowing this, had brought his retinue as a safeguard: later in the month, two Londoners were imprisoned because the king had heard that, should the city be besieged by Lancaster, they and their accomplices were to open the gates and facilitate Edward’s capture in his own city. The king’s letters patent, sent to the Bishops of Norwich and Bath and Wells, the Earl of Richmond, and two others, on 3rd September, ordering them to prevent the earls coming to parliament in this way went unheeded, and the barons were soon in the city.