John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter

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John Holland
refer to caption
Drawing of John Holland's tomb effigy
Titles and styles
Born 29 March 1395[1][2][3]
Dartington, Devonshire, England
Died 5 August 1447 (aged 52)
Stepney, Middlesex, England
Buried St Katharine's by the Tower, London
Family Holland
Spouses Lady Anne Stafford
Beatrice of Portugal
Lady Anne Montacute
Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter
Anne Holland, Baroness Neville
Father John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter
Mother Elizabeth of Lancaster

John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon KG (29 March 1395 – 5 August 1447) was an English nobleman and military commander during the Hundred Years' War. His father, the 1st Duke of Exeter, was a maternal half-brother to Richard II of England, and was executed after King Richard's deposition. The Holland family estates and titles were forfeited, but John was able to recover them by dedicating his career to royal service. Holland rendered great assistance to his cousin Henry V in his conquest of France, fighting both on land and on the sea. He was marshal and admiral of England and governor of Aquitaine under Henry VI.[4]


Exeter was the second son of John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter and Lady Elizabeth of Lancaster. His paternal grandparents were Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent and Joan of Kent, Princess of Wales, who after Holland's death had married the Prince of Wales, Edward, the Black Prince. His maternal grandparents were John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Blanche of Lancaster. By his paternal grandmother, he was a half-nephew of Richard II of England. By his maternal grandparents, he was a nephew of Henry IV of England, a first cousin of Henry V of England, and a first cousin once removed of Henry VI of England.

Life account

Coat of arms of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter

Holland was just a boy when his father conspired against Henry IV and was attainted and executed. Nevertheless, he was given a chance to serve Henry V in the 1415 campaign in France, where he distinguished himself at Agincourt.

The next year Holland was restored in blood and to his father's earldom of Huntingdon, and was made a Knight of the Garter. (His older brother Richard had died in 1400).

Over the next five years he held various important commands with the English forces in France and in 1420 was made Constable of the Tower of London. He was captured by the French in 1421 at the Battle of Baugé and spent four years in captivity, not being released until 1425.

Marriage and issue

On 6 March 1427, he married Lady Anne Stafford (d. 20 or 24 September 1432), widow of Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, and daughter of Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford.[5] By her he had two children, a son and daughter:

He married secondly Beatrice of Portugal on 20 January 1433; then finally, he married Lady Anne Montagu (d. 28 November 1457), daughter of John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury.

By an unnamed mistress or mistresses he also had several illegitimate children, two of whom he named in his will.[citation needed] William, Thomas and Robert, the so-called 'Bastards of Exeter', were active in the Lancastrian struggles, and Stow reported that two of them were among the notable dead at Towton.[6]


In 1435 he was appointed admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitaine, and in 1439 he was made the king's lieutenant in Aquitaine.

He was made count of Ivry in France by John, Duke of Bedford. Holland recovered his father's dukedom of Exeter on 6 January 1443/1444,[7] and was given precedence just below the Duke of York. He was succeeded as duke by his son Henry.


There is an effigy of this John Holland in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London.


  1. ^ Griffiths 2004.
  2. ^ Cokayne, Gibbs & Doubleday 1926, p. 205.
  3. ^ Richardson 2011, p. 23.
  4. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 65.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Richardson 2011, p. 138.
  7. ^ Richardson 2011, p. 135.


  • Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, H., ed. (1911). "Exeter, Earl, Marquess and Duke of". Encyclopædia Britannica 11th ed. 10. Cambridge University Press.
  • Cokayne, G.; Gibbs, V.; Doubleday, H.A., eds. (1926). The Complete Peerage. 5 (2nd ed.). London: St. Catherine Press. pp. 205–11.
  • Griffiths, R.A. (2004). "Holland, John, first duke of Exeter (1395–1447)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online). doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13530. Missing or empty |url= (help) First edition available at Wikisource:  Hardy, W. (1891), "Holland, John, Duke of Exeter and Earl of Huntingdon (1395–1447)" , in Lee, Sidney, Dictionary of National Biography, 27, London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  • Richardson, D. (2011). Kimball G. Everingham, ed. Magna Carta Ancestry. 2 (2nd ed.). ISBN 978-1-4499-6638-6.

External links

John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter
Born: 29 March 1395 Died: 5 August 1447
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Bedford
Lord High Admiral of England
Succeeded by
The Earl of Suffolk
Peerage of England
Preceded by
John Holland
forfeit in 1399
2nd Duke of Exeter
6 January 1443 – 1447
Succeeded by
Henry Holland
Preceded by
John Holland
forfeit in 1400
2nd Earl of Huntingdon
c. 8 February 1416 – 1447
French nobility
New title Count of Ivry
Succeeded by
Henry Holland
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