1455: 22 May - First Battle of St. Albans
Throughout the reign of Henry VI he was often indisposed due to mental illness. When, in March 1454, a period of recovery began for the King, he quickly relieved the Duke of York of his first protectorate. The political instability was increased by the release of the Duke of Somerset from the Tower and back into the kings favour, while the Duke of York fell from favour. York, unhappy with his fall from grace, marched to London against the King with Lord Salisbury, Earl of Warwick and 3,000 men.
During this period the Yorkists were in favour in London; so Henry headed out to St Albans with Lords Devon, Pembroke and Northumberland and the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham, together with about 2,000 men. The Lancastrians attempted to hold the town from the attacking Yorkists behind two barriers in Hollywell and St. Peter’s Streets. The Yorkist attempt to take the town made no headway, so Warwick removed his troops and sent them through the unguarded back streets of the town and took out the rear flanks of the Lancastrian army. The battle was over very quickly - under two hours - however it was a costly battle among the lords if not the soldiers, as the Duke of Somerset, Lord of Northumberland and Buckingham’s son all died; Buckingham himself was wounded but eventually recovered.