Following on from my post about the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, earlier in february, the battle lines moved to St Albans, just outside of London on this day in 1461.
The battle was mostly led by the Earl of Warwick (often known as the Kingmaker), as Edward of York had been delayed fighting Owen Tudor at Mortimer’s Cross, and defeating him, of course.
The Lancastrian army, led by Margaret of Anjou, had been victorious at Wakefield quite recently. The disposessed Queen had ordered the deaths of the Duke of York and his son, Edmund after Wakefield, which made Edward of York, the Yorkist heir.
Warwick ranged his army as he often did, not knowing that Margaret had been warned about his actions. She brought her armies around to catch his from behind and managed to overcome the Yorkists after an almost full day of fighting in the town.
The Yorkists retreated in such a hurry that King Henry VI, who had been their prisoner was left behind. Two men stayed with him, to make sure no harm came to him, on the promise form the King that they would not be harmed. Unfortunately his wife did not keep that promise and had them beheaded the following day.
Margaret could have forced their way into London from here to replace her husband on the throne, but she didn’t. Her armies were mostly mercenaries, who raped and plundered their way through the battles. The Londoners had heard of this and barred the city walls against the Lancastrians.
Instead, they welcomed Edward of York into the city a few weeks later, where he was almost immediately crowned as King.
Guess the Londoners knew which side their bread was buttered on!