War of the Roses


Battle of St. Albans


Date: 22nd May 1455   Victory: Yorkist
 
House of York
Richard Plantagenet (3rd Duke of York)   Richard Neville (16th Earl of Warwick)
 
House of Lancaster
King Henry VI   Humphrey Stafford (1st Duke of Buckingham)
Edmund Beaufort (2nd Duke of Somerset)   Thomas Courtenay (6th Earl of Devon)
Henry Percy (2nd Earl of Northumberland)   Thomas Clifford (8th Baron de Clifford)

22nd May 1455 Richard, Duke of York led a small army of about 3,000 towards London, but was met at St.Albans by King Henry VI. The Battle of St.Albans would become the first Battle of the War of the Roses. Richard won the battle which resulted in several Lancastrian leaders being killed, which included Edmund, Duke of Somerset as well as Henry, Earl of Northumberland. Henry Beaufort, 2nd Earl of Dorset survived the battle, but was severely wounded. After the battle the Yorkists found King Henry VI hiding in a local tanners shop, he had suffered a bout of mental illness, as well as having a slight wound to his neck by an arrow. The Queen (Margaret of Anjou) and her young son Edward fled into exile.

Both sides tried to reconcile their differences, but the original problems that caused the conflict soon re-emerged. The main problem was the issue of if Richard or King Henry VI and his wifes infant son Edward (Prince of Wales) would succeed to the throne, Margaret would not accept any solution that would stop Edward getting the throne.

February 1456 King Henry VI recovered from his mental illness enough to relieve Richard of his position of Lord Protector.

King Henry VI and his wife went on a royal progress in the Midlands where they were still popular. While King Henry VI was away there was a decline in trade and widespread disorder, there was also piracy by the French Fleets along the South coast. Richard was made to take up his previous post of Lieutenant in Ireland.

1458 Thomas Burchier who was the Archbishop of Canterbury arranged a reconciliation where he negotiated some complex settlements to resolve the blood-feuds that had persisted since the Battle of St.Albans.