Thus, England was plunged into a series of minor wars between the land's most powerful lords to which the Duke of York, as protector was able to use his authority to the advantage of his family and supporters. However, this all came to an end when the king recovered from his illness in January 1455. Somerset was released from the Tower, and immediately formed a natural alliance with Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland (and Percy's ally in the north Lord Clifford), against the Duke of York - who was stripped of his powers as protector - and his supporters, namely the Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Warwick. With this the battle lines for the 'Wars of the Roses' were drawn. The pact between Somerset, Northumberland and Clifford, supported by the king would in later years go by the name of Lancastrians, taken from the family name of the House of Lancaster to which the lineage of Henry VI was derived. While the followers of the House of York, Warwick, Salisbury and the Duke of York himself became known as the Yorkists.
First St. Albans, Northampton, Wakefield, Mortimer's Cross, Second St. Albans, Towton and Hexham.
In May 1455 the queen and Somerset summoned a Council, to which no prominent Yorkist was invited, and ordered a gathering of the peers at Leicester to take steps for the king's safety. York marched south to secure a fair hearing from the king, while the court moved towards Leicester, escorted by a large number of nobles and their retainers. The king and Somerset did not learn of York's actions until they were en route to Leicester. They tried to assemble an army, but there was insufficient time; at nightfall on 21 May, when the two sides camped only 20 miles apart, the king's 'army' still consisted of just his escort and their retainers.
Both sides decided to advance against their adversary during the night, and these marches became a race for the chief town of the area, St. Albans. The king's army arrived there at 7am, and York halted at Key Fields, east of the town, at about the same time. There followed a pause of three hours while reconciliation was attempted, York offering to withdraw if the king would surrender Somerset, whom York considered a traitor. The king (i.e. Somerset!) refused, and York ordered the attack(see map).
Warwick was to lay down a barrage of arrows in support of flank attacks by York and Salisbury. However, these attacks were repulsed and Warwick therefore ordered his archers to concentrate on their own front. He then attacked the center, broke through to the Chequers, and here established a rallying point. Falling back to prevent their divided forces from being outflanked by Warwick, the Lancastrians weakened their defense of the Sopwell and Shropshire Lanes, and the forces of York and Salisbury almost immediately burst into the town. The Lancastrians began to falter, panicked, and broke, to be pursued up St. Peter's Street by the triumphant Yorkists.
Somerset and some retainers took cover in the Castle Inn while Lord Clifford, with Percy, Harington and some other knights and esquires, fought on outside the inn. When those outside were slain, Somerset led his men in one last charge. He killed four men before being felled by an axe. The king, the Duke of Buckingham, and the Earls of Devon and Dorset were captured; Clifford, Somerset, Stafford, Percy and Harington were amongst those killed.
York was appointed Protector in October and Warwick became Captain of Calais, the city which possessed the only standing army of the king. For the next three years there was an uneasy peace. York lost the protectorship at the beginning of 1456 and returned to Ireland. Margaret gained control of court and government, but Warwick refused to surrender Calais to her, and this city thus became a refuge for the Yorkists, from which an attack might be launched at any time.
In the late summer of 1459 both sides began arming again, and in October York's forces were defeated at Ludford – mainly due to the treachery of Andrew Trollope, captain of a body of professional soldiers sent over from Calais by Warwick. York was forced to flee to Ireland again and his troops dispersed.
In June 1460 Warwick landed at Sandwich with 2,000 men of the Calais garrison, accompanied by the Earl of Salisbury and York's son Edward, Earl of March. The king and queen were at Coventry when they received news of the landing. Hastily gathering an army from his chief supporters – the Percies, Staffords, Beauforts, Talbots and Beaumonts – the king began to march south. However, in the meantime the men of south-east England had flocked to the standard of the popular Warwick, and on 2 July he entered London with 5,000 men. Only the Tower, commanded by Lord Scales, held out for the king and, hearing that London had gone over to the Yorkists, the king halted at Northampton and took up a defensive position to await reinforcements.
Реферат опубликован: 16/05/2009