1459: 23 September - Blore Heath
Four years of peace followed the Kings' defeat at St Albans, but the country was wasting away since little had been done during these years. Parliament had not been called for over three years and divisions between the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions intensified. The Yorkists were marching across England gaining support when the Queen sent orders for Audley, who had gathered a large Lancastrian army, to prevent Lord Salisbury and his 3,000 troops from reaching the Duke of York at Ludlow.
The armies collided at Blore Heath, near Market Drayton. Salisbury was vastly outnumbered and was unable to avoid a battle. Audley took up a position just west of a little stream that crossed the Market Drayton-Newcastle-under-Lyme road, and Salisbury’s men were drawn up about 150 yards east of the present Audley Cross, which marks the spot where Lord Audley fell. The Yorkist left rested upon the boggy edge of a wood, but their right was exposed and in the open and Salisbury made a laager of his wagons to protect this flank. Whether Salisbury feigned retreat in order to draw Audley on is not certain, but the Lancastrian commander was definitely the one to attack. Two cavalry charges were repulsed, the first with heavy losses to the Lancastrians. This was followed by an infantry attack up the hill to the Yorkist position. This too failed since there was no support from the cavalry, Lord Audley had already fallen and 500 Lancastrians chose this moment to desert to the enemy. Salisbury’s victory was complete and in the pursuit, which continued for two miles, the slaughter was very heavy. Possibly 2,000 Lancastrians perished in this battle, but less than 200 Yorkists fell.