The War of Roses lasted from 1455 until 1485.It was a series of dynastic civil wars and civil unrest. Oddly enough the name was not given to the war until many years after it was finished, named by the badges of the two fighting parties; the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster. Both of the houses had laid claim to the throne through the descent of the many sons of Edward III.
After the unfortunate death of Henry V, the factious Henry VI ruled the country.During his rule there were large private armies that dominated the countryside.Lawlessness was rampant and taxation was heavy. The king was simpleminded, and was subject to spells of madness.His wife Margaret of Anjou allowed the English influence and solidarity with France to deteriorate. During one of Henry's lapses into madness in 1453, he put Richard the Duke of York into power as protector of the realm, instead of Margaret's army (Glidden 150).But when he recovered in 1455 he reestablished the authority of Margaret's party, forcing the house of York to bear arms for self-protection.
One of thefirst battles was the battle at St. Albans (May 22,1455); this battle resulted in a York victory and four years in an uneasy truce. The Civil war was resumes in 1459. The Yorkists were again successful in the battle at Blore Heath (September 23). But were then scattered after a brief skirmish at Ludford Bridge (October 12). The forces were then regrouped and returned to England in June of 1460 at took a decisive victory over the Lancastrian forces at Northampton (July 10). York then tried to claim the throne but the settled for the right to succeed upon the death of Henry.