The Wars of the Roses was a series of dynastic civil wars in England fought by the rival houses of Lancaster and York between 1455 and 1485. The struggle was so named because the badge of the Lancaster's was a red rose and that the York's a white rose. The house of Lancaster was badly shaken during the Hundred Years' War ("Rose, War of the Microsoft). The Hundred Years' war is a common name given to the series of armed conflicts, broken by a number of truces and peace treaties, that were waged from 1337 to 1453 between the two great European powers at that time, England and France. The hundred Years' war resulted in the loss of thousands of lives on both sides and also in great devastation of lands and destruction of property in France.
It had important political and social results in France: It helped to establish a sense of nationalism; ended all English claims to French territory; and made possible the emergence of centralized governing institutions and an absolute monarchy ("Hundred Years' War", Microsoft) 1455 to 1487 marked the climax of a long struggle between various branches of the English royal house; the prize was the crown. May, 1455, 1000 men marched out of Warwick Castle in the Midlands, the heart of England. The men wore red jackets emblazoned with the Ragged Staff emblem or livery, as it was called of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (Alderman 9-10) It was the most famous insignia of the war in all of England. Leader of this battle for England was Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick.
The only description of him, is a portrait unknown if it is his, is with a long narrow, triangular face, a hard mouth, and stern, arrogant eyes (Alderman 9) Warwick, lead many other triumphs in his time. He won victories in war, was one of the richest men in England and had achieved great success as a statesman and diplomat. He had a power within him that attracted men, ready t follow the Ragged Staff livery anywhere (Alderman 10). An army of more than 3,000 men commanded by Richard, duke of York, marched straight toward London. This is the beginning of the long struggle between the houses York and Lancaster for the throne of England (Alderman 12). King Henry VI of Lancaster ruled England for more than half a century, learned about Richard's advance.
He then assembled his own forces and marched to Leicester on May 21st. Since Henry had no military background, he gave the command to Edward Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, and the Duke of York's (Richard) deadly enemy. There were also Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham; the Earls of Pembroke Northumberland, Devon and Wiltshire; and other lords of high degree (Alderman 9-12). The Lancastrians lost the battle.
King Henry was left to die by all his men. The York's fell to their knees and begged for forgiveness (Alderman 15). Richard, Duke of York, had not only won a battle but also accomplished his great objective. In the midst of the battle lay his great enemy Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Osmerset, dead (Alderman 15). Earl of Northumberland was dead, and the Duke of Buckingham's son, the earl of Stafford, was mortally wounded (Alderman 16).
Now, for a time there was peace in England but the old hatreds and ambitions still smoldered and the death struggle between the houses of Lancaster and York was only the beginning (Alderman 16). After four years of peace the king presided over a wasting realm. No parliament had been summoned for three years, the country was sadly divided and distressed. On september 23rd, 1459, Salisbury led his Yorkists' forward through a thick forest that concealed them (Alderman 26). The Earl of Salisbury, though outnumbered, did a masterly job of preparing a defense. He drew up his supply carts into a ring, and behind it his men dug a deep trench for themselves, with sharpened stakes driven into the ground ahead of it.