The alliance between Edward IV and Earl Warwick soon broke down as Edward began to reject the advice OF his former ally. Warwick attempted with Edward's brother the Duke of Clarence to seize control but they where defeated at the battles of Edgcote and Losecote Field. They fled to France where Warwick joined forces with the exiled Margaret. He returned to England helped by the French, forcing Edward IV his former ally to flee and Henry VI was restored to the throne.
The War of the Roses where fought between the two houses from the Plantagenet family, Lancaster and York. The name comes the emblem of both houses. The Yorkist had the White rose and Lancaster the Red Rose.
Warwick's brother Lord Montagu defeated an attempted Lancastrian up-rising in the north at the battles of Hedgley Moor and Hexham during April and May 1464, whilst Margaret and the Prince fled to France.
Margaret of Anjou joined the alliance of Lancastrians. York and Salisbury attempting to force Lancastrian forces from northern England where defeated and killed at the battle of Wakefield in December 1460.
The slaughter of the Lancastrian family ensured peace for the rest of Edward's reign.
Henry seo hertfordshire was to rule in peace for another 22 years until his death in 1509.
Eric R. Delderfield, Kings & Queens of England & Great Britain, David Charles Books (1999)
The Yorkist Fight for the Throne (1455-1461)
The conflict was made up of three distinct phases.
March, inherited his father's claim to the throne and soon proved himself to be a great military commander. He forced all Lancastrian forces from Wales then in March 1461 he achieved a great victory at the battle of Towton, this was to prove to be the bloodiest battle of the entire war with around some 20,000 killed on both sides. March was crowned King Edward IV, and King Henry VI was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
York's supporters returned for exile to win the Battle of Northampton in July 1460.
Richard of York acted as "Protector" during the period of King Henry's insanity, but when the King recovered he was excluded from the government.
Henrry IV finally secured the throne when the attempted rebellion was defeated at Stoke Field, the Earl of Lincoln and Martin Schwarz who had lead the plot where killed but Simmel although captured survived prison wand was allowed to work in the royal kitchens of the King he had tried to replace.
King Richard III and the Tudor take-over (1483-1487)
Many families stayed out of the first stages of the war. York and his allies won another success at the battle of Blore Heath in 1459, but Henry remained popular and he was forced to flee the country following a defeat at Ludford Bridge two months later.
It was a typically surreal end to this time in English history.
Edward was not prepared to give up his throne and within six months was back on the throne after defeating and killing Warwick at the battle of Barnet in April 1471, before wiping out the entire Lancastrian family at the battle of Tewkesbury on May 4th 1471. Henry IV and Prince Edward was killed.
Believing his life to be under threat, York took up arms against the King advisers. The first battle took place at St Albans in May 1455.
Earl Warwick's Counter-Revolution (1469-1471)
Margaret marched on London, defeating Earl Warwick at the second battle of St Albans in February 1461. Warwick escaped and joined his cousin, Edward Earl of March, eldest son of Richard, Duke of York. London refused to allow the Lancastrian forces into the city, and whilst Margaret decided on a course of action, the new Yorkist leaders entered the city.
Wars of the Roses website
The final battle took place two years after Bosworth in 1487 at the battle of Stoke Field when plotters declared Lambert Simmel to be the captured Edward, Duke of Clareance, the son of the eldest brother of Edward IV who was in prison. Attempting to stoke up a rebellion, it was declared that Simmel was in-fact Edward, who had escaped from custody, of course he wasn't.
The disappearance split the Yorkshire camp, which failed to back King Richard III when he was faced by the new Lancastrian pretender to the throne, Henry, Earl of Richmond. At the battle of Bosworth field in 1485, Henry defeated and killed Richard.
Richard Brooks, Cassell's Battlefields and Wars of Britain and Ireland, Weidenfeld & Nicholson (2005)
Crowned Henry VII, the new King married Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of King Edward IV, which allowed him to gain support from both factions.
David Smurthwaite, The Complete Guide to the Battlefields of Britain, Penguin Books (1984)
It was at this point that finally York claimed the throne which was far stronger than Henry's. It lead to the Act of Accord, which secured the Throne for Henry during his life time, but made York, the heir to the throne rather than Henry's son Prince Edward.
Edward's IV death in 1483 opened up divisions within the Yorkist House. Richard of Gloucester, Edward's brother seized the crown from his nephew, who was the heir, and then wipped out all his major opponents. It will never be know for sure if Richard ordered the killing of the princes in the Tower, but it is likely that he did.