- "Gods, what a day that was!"
- ―Robert Baratheon
The Battle of the Bells was an important battle in Robert's Rebellion. Following Robert Baratheon's defeat against House Tarly, the vanguard of House Tyrell's forces, in the Battle of Ashford, he fled north to the town of Stoney Sept, in the Riverlands, chased by forces loyal to King Aerys II Targaryen.
When the loyalist army arrived, the bells of the local sept tolled, signaling the townsfolk to take refuge, and giving the battle its name. The loyalists ineffectively searched for Lord Robert from house to house until they were surprised by the combined army of House Stark, House Tully and House Arryn. The rebels defeated the loyalist force, which fled back to King's Landing.
In the booksEdit
After the defeat in the Battle of Ashford on the Stormlands/Reach border, Robert Baratheon turned north. Jon Connington, Hand of the King, took over the pursuit of Robert from the Tyrell army, which moved to take Storm's End. Jon and his forces caught up with Robert in the Riverlands, who was hiding in the town of Stoney Sept. It is unknown what happened between Ashford and Stoney Sept, but during the journey Robert was wounded and he hid in the local Sept from pursuers just before the battle began.
Jon's soldiers began a house-to-house search but they did not locate Robert before his allies arrived at Stoney Sept to oust Connington and his forces. At this point, the Battle of the Bells began. The rebel army under the joint command of Lords Eddard Stark, Hoster Tully, and Jon Arryn immediately began attacking the royal army. Jon Connington fought back fiercely, personally killing Jon Arryn's nephew and heir, Denys Arryn, and wounding Lord Tully. It was thought that Robert would have killed Jon, but in spite of the determination of both men to find each other in the chaos, they never crossed swords. When Connington saw that the battle was lost, he managed to escape and was able to retreat in good order. Jon's retreat was quite a feat considering the fierce, urban fighting would have made it hard to hold the army together.
King Aerys II held Jon responsible for this defeat and exiled him, stripping him of his lands, wealth and titles. Many of Connington's detractors stated he could have ended the rebellion in a single stroke by burning Stoney Sept to the ground, killing Robert before his allies arrived to rescue him but didn't because he wanted the glory of slaying Robert in single combat. Others pointed out that if Connington burned Stoney Sept to the ground, which would have led to many civilian casualties, but Robert still managed to escape, it would have severely shamed the royal side in the war, and more lords would have gone over to the rebels in protest.
Wildfire plot · Sack of King's Landing · Siege of Storm's End