John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford

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John of Lancaster
Duke of Bedford
Regent of France
John, Duke of Bedford - British Library Add MS 18850 f256v - detail.jpg
The Duke of Bedford with his heraldic badges of wood stocks and his motto A Vous Entier
(miniature from Bedford Hours)
Born 20 June 1389
Died 14 September 1435(1435-09-14) (aged 46)
Castle of Joyeux Repos, Rouen
Burial 30 September 1435
Rouen Cathedral, Rouen, Normandy
Spouse
Anne of Burgundy
(m. 1423; d. 1432)

Jacquetta of Luxembourg
(m. 1433; d. 1472)

House House of Lancaster
Father Henry IV of England
Mother Mary de Bohun
Military service
Allegiance Royal Arms of England (1399-1603).svg Kingdom of England
Conflicts Anglo-Scottish border wars
Hundred Years' War
John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, Knight of the Garter, kneels before Saint George who wears the blue mantle of the Order of the Garter. Illuminated miniature from the Bedford Hours, formerly in the Duke's private library

John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford KG (20 June 1389 – 14 September 1435) was a medieval English prince, general and statesman who commanded England's armies in France during a critical phase of the Hundred Years' War. Bedford was the third son of King Henry IV of England, brother to Henry V, and acted as regent of France for his nephew, Henry VI. Despite his military and administrative talent, the situation in France had severely deteriorated by the time of his death.[1]

Bedford was a capable administrator and soldier, and his effective management of the war brought the English to the height of their power in France. However, difficulties mounted after the arrival of Joan of Arc, and his efforts were further thwarted by political divisions at home and the waverings of England's key ally, the duchy of Burgundy. In the last years of Bedford's life, the conflict devolved into a war of attrition, and he became increasingly unable to gather the necessary funds to prosecute the conflict.

Bedford died during the congress of Arras in 1435, just as Burgundy was preparing to abandon the English cause and conclude a separate peace with Charles VII of France.

Life account

After his father's accession to the throne of England as Henry IV in 1399, John of Lancaster began to accumulate lands and lucrative offices. He was knighted on 12 October 1399 at his father's coronation and made a Knight of the Garter by 1402. Between 1403 and 1405 grants of the forfeited lands from the House of Percy and of the alien priory of Ogbourne, Wiltshire, considerably increased his income. He was appointed master of the mews and falcons in 1402, Constable of England in 1403 and Warden of the East March from 1403 to 1414.[2] He was created Earl of Kendal, Earl of Richmond and Duke of Bedford in 1414 by his brother, King Henry V.[3][4]

When Henry V died in 1422, Bedford vied with his younger brother, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, for control of the Kingdom. Bedford was declared regent but focused on the ongoing war in France, while during his absence Gloucester acted as Lord Protector of England. Bedford defeated the French several times, most notably at the Battle of Verneuil, until the arrival of Joan of Arc rallied the opposition. Bedford handed Joan to an ecclesiastical court, which had her tried and executed at Rouen in 1431, though Bedford himself took no part in the trial. He then arranged a coronation for the young Henry VI at Paris.

Bedford had been Governor in Normandy between 1422–1432 where the University of Caen was founded under his auspices. He was an extremely important commissioner of illuminated manuscripts, both from Paris (from the Bedford Master and his workshop) and England. The three most important surviving manuscripts of his are the Bedford Hours (British Library Ms Add 18850) and the Salisbury Breviary (Paris BnF Ms Lat. 17294), which were both made in Paris, and the Bedford Psalter and Hours of about 1420–23, which is English (BL Ms Add 42131). This last is signed in two places by Herman Scheere. All are lavishly decorated and famous examples of the style of the period.

Family

John's first marriage was to Anne, daughter of John the Fearless on 13 May 1423 in Troyes,[5][a] The couple were happily married, despite being childless. Anne died of the plague in Paris in 1432.[6]

John's second marriage was to Jacquetta of Luxembourg, on 22 April 1433 at Thérouanne in northern France. This marriage was also childless, though Jacquetta went on to have more than a dozen children in her second marriage.

In addition, out of wedlock he had a daughter named Mary, who married Pierre de Montferrand (d. 1454), son of Bertrand de Montferrand, and had issue; and a son, Richard.

Succession

John died in 1435 during the Congress of Arras at his Castle of Joyeux Repos in Rouen and was buried at Rouen Cathedral near Henry the Young King, but his grave was destroyed by the Calvinists in 1562. Today a plaque marks the former emplacement of his grave. He had no legitimate surviving issue.

In literature

He appears in William Shakespeare's plays Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2 as John of Lancaster, and in Henry V and Henry VI, Part 1 as Duke of Bedford.

Georgette Heyer's novel My Lord John deals with his life from when he was four to about twenty.

In the 2011 Philippa Gregory novel, The Lady of the Rivers, John features as the first husband of main character, Jacquetta of Luxembourg.

Arms

Coat of arms of John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, detail from Bedford Hours
Arms of John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford: Royal arms of England differenced by a label of five points per pale ermine and France

As a son of the sovereign, John bore the Royal arms of his father King Henry IV, differenced by a label of five points per pale ermine and France.[7]

In the Bedford Book of Hours[8] these arms are shown supported by an eagle collared with a crown and a sable yale all on a gold field sewn with gold "wood stocks" (cut tree stumps with roots), a heraldic badge of King Edward III, referring to Woodstock Palace. It is possible that the yale was painted in silver which has tarnished black. The shield is surrounded with a pair of banners gules which reverse in argent with the motto repeated four times: A vous entier (To you / yours entire[ly]). This may be a pun on the German Tier, i.e., beast, or on (English) tears —or 'tiers' of meaning, including tierce, referring to himself as third in line to his father's throne and by now rightful king but for the baby Henry VI. The Hours were supposedly produced as a courtship present from John to his wife, Anne, daughter of John the Fearless of Burgundy.[citation needed]

There is a Queen's Arms public house sign from Birmingham[9] which uses these supporters reversed and with an argent yale uncollared on a shield showing the English royal arms at left and to the right six divisions representing Lorraine. John's second wife, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, cousin to the Emperor (the King of Hungary), was mother to Elizabeth Woodville who may be this queen. Elizabeth Woodville's right to inherit these armorial supporters would seem dubious if they belong to her mother's first husband or to his first wife. Alternatively, though equally incorrect, the arms may be her mother's used in a flattering conceit.[citation needed]

Ancestry

References

  1. ^ Several authoritative sources are cited by the Library of Congress Name Authority File. Chevalier (1877–1903) states the marriage took place on 13 April 1423, but more recent sources agree on 13 May 1423 and one of those states Troyes (Library of Congress staff 2014).
  1. ^ "John Plantagenet, duke of Bedford". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1999-05-27. 
  2. ^ Stratford 2004.
  3. ^ Hunt 1892, p. 427.
  4. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 616.
  5. ^ Library of Congress staff 2014.
  6. ^ Smith 1984.
  7. ^ Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family at the Wayback Machine (archived 17 March 2018)
  8. ^ Bedford Book of Hours armorial coat
  9. ^ Queen's Arms pubsign from Birmingham at the Wayback Machine (archived 8 December 2007)

Further reading

External links

  • "Biography of Bedford, duke of". Archontology. 
  • Lundy, Darryl (ed.). "John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford". The Peerage. 
John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford
Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet
Born: 20 June 1389 Died: 14 September 1435
Peerage of England
New creation Duke of Bedford
16 May 1414 – 14 September 1435
Succeeded by
Extinct, next held by
George Neville
New creation Earl of Kendal
16 May 1414 – 14 September 1435
Succeeded by
Extinct, next held by
John Beaufort
New creation Earl of Richmond
24 November 1414 – 14 September 1435
Vacant
reverted to the crown
Title next held by
Edmund Tudor
Preceded by
Ralph Neville
Honour of Richmond
21 October 1425 – 14 September 1435
French nobility
New creation Duke of Anjou
Count of Maine

20 June 1424 – 14 September 1435
Vacant
Title next held by
Edmund Beaufort
New creation Viscount of Beaumont
20 June 1424 – 14 September 1435
Vacant
New creation Duke of Alençon
20 June 1424 – 8 September 1430
Vacant
New creation Count of Mortain
20 June 1424 – 22 April 1427
Succeeded by
Edmund Beaufort
Vacant
Title last held by
Thomas Beaufort
Count of Harcourt
May 1427 – 14 September 1435
Vacant
Preceded by
William de la Pole
Count of Dreux
1431 – 14 September 1435
Vacant
Political offices
Vacant Regent of France for Henry II (VI)
19 November 1422 – 14 September 1435
Succeeded by
The Duke of York
Vacant Lord Protector of England for Henry VI
5 December 1422 – 6 November 1429
With: Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
Vacant
Title next held by
The Duke of York
Preceded by
The Duke of Exeter
Lord High Admiral
26 July 1426 – 14 September 1435
Succeeded by
The Earl of Huntingdon
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