In May 1455 Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou, and Somerset moved to secure their position. They began to move towards a meeting of Lancastrian supporters in Leicester. York began a southward March in order to put his case to the King. When the King and Somerset heard of York's movement they had already left for Leicester. They tried to raise an army but it was too late, York had arrived. Both sides advanced towards the town of Saint Albans during the night of 21st May 1455. The King secured the town and York halted outside to demand the surrender of Somerset. The King refused and York attacked. York, Salisbury and Warwick broke the Lancastrian defence and Somerset was killed during a final stand.

York's Protectorate

In October York was made Protector for a second time and Warwick was rewarded with the captaincy of Calais. But by 1456 York's Protectorate came to an end. Queen Margaret had taken control. Warwick continued to hold Calais in defiance of the Queen and tension began to rise. In October 1459 York was defeated during a skirmish at Ludford. He was again forced to retire to Ireland.

At this point Richard Woodville was sent to Sandwich in Kent, where he was expected to block any Yorkist landings from Calais. He was surprised by Sir John Dinham, captured with his son Anthony and taken to Warwick in Calais. He was later released.

By June 1460 Warwick had landed two thousand men of the Calais garrison at Sandwich as well as the Earl of Salisbury and Richard of York's son; Edward Earl of March. The King and Queen heard of the landing whilst visiting Coventry. The Queen and her son stayed in Coventry and the King headed southwards gathering an army of supporters. Warwick entered London on 2nd July with an army five thousand strong. The Tower remained loyal to the crown under the stewardship of Lord Scales and was besieged. As Warwick headed north the King halted at Northampton. On 10th July 1460 the two armies met in battle. Warwick, Edward Earl of March and Lord Fauconburg led their 'battles' against Grey, Buckingham and a massed rank of archers. Suddenly Grey changed allegiance and sided with Warwick. Outflanked the King was defeated, captured and taken to London where he was forced to agree to a Yorkist government.

Anthony Woodville, eldest son of Richard Woodville is recorded as having fought for the Lancastrians throughout the campaigning season of 1460.

York returned from Ireland to claim the throne but was rejected and made Protector during Henry's lifetime. The Queen fled to North Wales and then to the north of England.

Queen Margaret Returns

Heading south with a new army, Margaret passed easily through Yorkshire. A large force of supporters then left the southwest of England hoping to meet her somewhere in the midlands. Richard sent his son Edward Earl of March to Wales to quash troubles instigated by the Earl of Pembroke. Warwick held London and the King. Richard of York and his youngest son Edmund then headed northwards to confront Margaret. On their way they fought Margaret's West Countrymen and suffered heavy losses. Hearing that Margaret was at Pontefract Castle with a force four times his own, Richard took refuge in his castle at Sandal and awaited relief . He was placed under siege. On 30 December 1460 a small part of the Lancastrian army advanced upon Sandal, the remains of the army taking cover in flanking woodland. York advanced from the castle, was surrounded and killed. York's son Edmund was "murdered" after being taken prisoner. York's head was struck off his dead body and taken to the city of York where it was displayed wearing a paper crown



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