Battle of the Bells
|Battle of the Bells|
The Battle of the Bells was a battle fought during Robert's Rebellion between royal and rebel forces at Stoney Sept in the southern Riverlands. It is so-named because at the beginning of the battle the town's sept tolled its bells to warn the citizens of the battle and to persuade them to stay inside their houses. The battle was won by the rebel army, although the royals were able to retreat in good order.
After the defeat in the Battle of Ashford, on the border between the Stormlands and the Reach, Robert Baratheon turned north. Most likely, he was trying to link up to his allies, the Starks, Tullys and Arryns. It is unknown what happened between Ashford and Stoney Sept but during the journey Robert was wounded and he hid in the sept from pursuers just before the battle began.
When the Hand of the King, Lord Jon Connington, occupied the town he ordered his soldiers to begin searching the houses looking for Robert Baratheon. They had not found him when the combined Tully and Stark army reached Stoney Sept. The rebels stormed the city's walls and attacked the army of Connington who responded by fighting back fiercely. He wounded Lord Hoster Tully and killed Lord Jon Arryn's cousin and heir, Denys Arryn. At the same time the two armies were battling all around them in the streets and in the alleys, even on some of the rooftops.
At this point Robert came out, probably with his followers, and led the counterattack. Robert slew Prince Rhaegar Targaryen's friend and former squire, Ser Myles Mooton. Although this seemed to have turned the tide of the battle, Robert himself later maintained that Lord Eddard Stark won it for him. Jon Connington realized the battle was lost and was able to retreat in good order.
The retreat by Jon Connington seems quite a feat due to the fierce fighting and the urban location would make it hard to hold the army together. Nevertheless, it did not impress King Aerys II Targaryen who had Connington exiled and seized his lands for his failure to deal with rebels. However, this defeat forced Aerys to realize that Robert was no mere outlaw lord to be crushed at whim, but the greatest threat House Targaryen had faced since Daemon Blackfyre.
A Dance with Dragons
Jon Connington regrets he did not burn the town instead of ordering the search. His detractors argued that Lord Tywin Lannister would have done it, killing Robert Baratheon before the rebel relief army arrived to rescue him, then offered pardons to Lords Stark, Arryn and Tully to convince them to put down their swords and return home. Though this would have decided the rebellion, it would have been meant killing every last member of the town's population who would have perished with Baratheon; Jon reflects that he did not want to be branded a murderer and wanted the glory of slaying Robert for himself, hence why he never gave the order.