War of the Roses Sandridge
By Daniel Hill
In 1461, Henry VI was kept prisoner by the Earl of Warwick, leader of Yorkists, in Nomansland, a field in Sandridge. Sandridge was used as a defence against Queen Margaret of the House of Lancaster, Henrys wife, and her army. Warwick used the woods and hedges for tactics, facing North West, where Margaret was believed to have been coming from. This, and the sunken road through Sandridge, made for formidable obstacles for Margaret to pass through. Unfortunately, due to poor scouting, they were outflanked by Margaret’s forces. They were attacked from Catherine Street, which led to a fierce battle within St Peters Street. The Yorkists, due to lack of scouting knowledge and under-preparation, retreated. Warwick, at first, made no attempt to relieve his left flank, of which he had set up three flanks surrounding Sandridge. The main body of the army was in Sandridge, which was idle, was sent to the right flank, where Henry was. Warwick was betrayed by a Kentish squire and all his forces, as a result the already demoralised forces started to panic. Warwick took up a more organised retreat, with 4,000 men instead of the 30,000 he had originally. King Henry, as a result, then held a Te Deum of victory at the Abbey in St Albans, which was sacked soon after. They did not return to London immediately, for fear the same thing would occur there. Two weeks later, however, Edward came west and proclaimed himself King. Many of the dead of this battle are buried in Sandridge, along with St Albans and St Peters. Human remains have been found in Nomansland, along with various types of weapons.
Source: HALS Library, “Historic Sandridge Revisited” By Edward Giles and Richard William Thrale, Edited by Janet R Rose