A Short History of Bernards Heath

The Second Battle of St Albans

The second battle of St Albans occurred during the War of the Roses. Following the Lancastrian victory at Wakefield in December 1460, the Queen, Margaret of Anjou, marching the Lancastrian Army south towards London. Her Army ransacked Royston and the Earl of Warwick prepared to block her advance. Expecting an attack from the north and east, the Yorkist Army took up prepared positions which undoubtedly took advantage of the huge ditch of Beech Bottom. To protect the forces from attack huge caltrops (spiked lattices) were put in place to break up a cavalry charge. Many hundred pavises (door-shaped shields of thick wood) were used to protect the archers and there were also cannon and some early handguns. Unfortunately for the Earl of Warwick the Lancastrians did not come from the expected direction. The Yorkist Army was outflanked and fled north towards No Mans Land - where the King, who was their prisoner, was rescued.

Artefacts from the battle have been found on Bernards Heath, and some bodies were found near Dead Womans Hill when the railway line was built.

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