House of Lancaster
|House of Lancaster|
|Country||Kingdom of England, Kingdom of France|
|Parent house||House of Plantagenet|
|Titles||Earl of Lancaster
Earl of Leicester
Count of Champagne and Brie
Lord of Beaufort and Nogent
Earl of Moray
Earl of Derby
Earl of Salisbury
Earl of Lincoln
Duke of Lancaster
King of England,
King of France (disputed)
|Founded||30 June 1267|
|Final ruler||Henry VI of England|
|Current head||Extinct in the male line|
The House of Lancaster was a cadet branch of the royal House of Plantagenet. From the grant of lands and privileges by Henry III of England to his second son Edmund Crouchback in the 13th Century the Earls and Dukes of Lancaster were the wealthiest landowners in England next to the King. This brought conflict with their cousin Edward II of England before they gave loyal service to his son Edward III of England. Edward III married his sons to wealthy heiresses of his subjects. As part of this he married his son John to his third cousin Blanche of Lancaster to give him the vast wealth of the House of Lancaster which some take as the founding of the Royal House. Henry, their son, usurped the throne in 1399 thereby creating one of the factions in the Wars of the Roses. These were an intermittent dynastic struggle between the descendants of Edward III. In these wars the term Lancastrian became a reference to both members of the family and their supporters. The family provided England with three kings: Henry IV of England, who ruled 1399–1413; Henry V of England, who ruled 1413–1422; and Henry VI of England and (II of) France, who ruled 1422–1461 and 1470–1471. The House became extinct on the execution of the son of the last Lancastrian King and the murder of the King himself by supporters of the House of York in 1471.
- 1 Origin of the Earls of Lancaster
- 2 Conflict between Edward II and Lancaster
- 3 Duchy and Palatinate of Lancaster
- 4 The reign of Henry IV
- 5 Henry V and the Hundred Years' War – the Lancastrian war
- 6 Fall of The House of Lancaster
- 7 Legacy
- 8 Earls & Dukes of Lancaster (First Creation)
- 9 Dukes of Lancaster (Second Creation)
- 10 Lancastrian Kings of England
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Origin of the Earls of Lancaster
The House came into existence with grants of possessions from Henry III of England to his second son Edmund Crouchback. After the forfeiture of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester he was created Earl of Leicester on 26 October 1265. This was followed by Lancaster on 30 June 1267, Count of Champagne and Brie in 1276 by right of his wife. Edmund's second marriage to Blanche of Artois placed him at the centre of the European aristocracy. She was the widow of the King of Navarre. Her daughter, Edmund's step daughter Joan I of Navarre was queen regent of Navarre and on her marriage to Philip IV of France also queen consort of France. When Edmund's son Thomas married the heiress of Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln he inherited the further Earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury becoming the most powerful nobleman in England. His income was £11,000 per annum, double that of the next most senior Earl.
Conflict between Edward II and Lancaster
Thomas served in the coronation of his cousin, King Edward II of England, on 25 February 1308, carrying Curtana, the sword of St Edward the Confessor. After supporting Edward, Thomas became was one of the Lords Ordainers who demanded the banishment of Piers Gaveston and the governance of the realm by a baronial council. Thomas captured Gaveston and was one of the judges who convicted and saw him executed. When Edward's authority was further weakened by defeat at the Battle of Bannockburn Thomas gained control of the government becoming in effect the ruler of England for the four years. His failure to keep order or prevent the Scots from raiding and retaking territory in the North enabled Edward to regain control. Thomas clashed with Edward's supporters, being defeated at the Battle of Boroughbridge, and was taken prisoner in 1321. Instead of a traitors death the King commuted the sentence on his cousin to beheading (as opposed to being drawn, quartered, and beheaded). All Thomas's titles and estates were forfeit for treason but his younger brother Henry successfully petitioned to take possession of the Earldom of Leicester in 1323 and in 1326 or 1327 when Parliament posthumously reversed Thomas's conviction Henry regained possession of the Earldoms of Lancaster, Derby, Salisbury and Lincoln. Henry himself joined the revolt of Edward' s Queen Isabella of France and her lover, Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, in 1326, pursuing and capturing the king at Neath in South Wales . After Edward's murder, Henry supported the young King Edward III of England who in reward restored to him the earldom of Lancaster along with other lordships and Henry became the King's chief advisor and captain-general of all the king's forces in the Scottish Marches
Duchy and Palatinate of Lancaster
Henry's son, also called Henry was born at the castle of Grosmont in Monmouthshire between 1299 and 1314. According to his memoirs he was better at martial arts than academic subjects and did not learn to read until later in life. Henry was co-eval with Edward and was pivotal to his reign becoming his best friend and most trusted commander. He was knighted in 1330, represented his father in parliament and took part in Edward's Scottish campaign. After the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War he took part in several diplomatic missions and minor campaigns and was present at the great English victory in the naval Battle of Sluys in 1340. Later, he was required to commit himself as hostage in the Low Countries for the king's considerable debts, remaining hostage for a year and having to pay a large ransom for his own release. In 1345 Edward III was planning a major assault on France. A three-pronged attack would have the Earl of Northampton attacking from Brittany, the king himself from Flanders, while Grosmont was dispatched to Aquitaine to prepare a campaign in the south. . Moving rapidly through the country, he confronted the Comte d'Isle at the Battle of Auberoche and achieved a victory described as "the greatest single achievement of Lancaster's entire military career". The ransom from the prisoners has been estimated at £50,000. In reward for this and later service in the war the king honoured Henry by including him as a founding knight of the Order of the Garter. An even greater honour was bestowed on Lancaster when he created him Duke of Lancaster. The title of duke was of relatively new origin in England; only one other ducal title existed previously. In addition to this, Lancaster was given palatinate status for the county of Lancashire, which entailed a separate administration independent of the crown. This grant was quite exceptional in English history; only two other counties palatine existed: Durham, which was an ancient ecclesiastical palatinate, and Chester, which was crown property. It is a sign of Edward's high regard for Lancaster that he would bestow such extensive privileges on him. In 1350 Henry was present at the naval victory at Winchelsea where he saved the life of the Black Prince. He spent 1351-2 on crusade in Prussia where a quarrel with Otto, Duke of Brunswick almost led to a duel between the two men only averted by the intervention of the French king, John II. As campaigning in France resumed Henry participated in the last great offensive of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War: the Rheims campaign of 1359–60 before returning to England where he fell ill and died at Leicester Castle, most likely of the plague. Edward III of England had married his third surviving son, John of Gaunt to Henry's heiress Blanche of Lancaster. On Henry's death Edward conferred on Gaunt the second creation of the title of Duke of Lancaster which made Gaunt the wealthiest landowner in England after the King. Gaunt enjoyed great political influence during his lifetime, but upon his death in 1399, his lands were confiscated by Richard II. Gaunt's exiled son and heir Henry of Bolingbroke returned home the same year with an army to reclaim the Lancaster estates, but ended up riding a tide of popular opposition to Richard II that saw him take control of the Kingdom. Richard II was deposed and died in captivity, and Bolingbroke was declared King Henry IV of England.
Henry's accession by force broke the principles of Plantagenet succession; from this point any magnate with sufficient power and Plantagenet blood could consider the throne His assertion that his mother had legitimate rights through descent from Edmund Crouchback, whom he claimed was the elder son of Henry III of England, set aside due to deformity, was not widely believed. Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, was the heir presumptive to Richard II by being the grandson of Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, but as a child he wasn't considered a serious contender and as an adult never showed any interest in the throne, instead serving the House of Lancaster loyally. When Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, later plotted to use him to displace Henry's newly crowned son, and their mutual cousin, he informed the new King and the plotters were executed. However, the marriage of his sister to Conisborough, son of Edward III's fourth son Edmund of Langley consolidated the Mortimers' claim to the throne with that of the more junior House of York.
Henry planned to resume war with France, but was plagued with financial problems, declining health and frequent rebellions. A Scottish invasion was defeated at the Battle of Homildon Hill, but it resulted in a long war with Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, for northern England, which was resolved only with the near complete destruction of the Percy family at the Battle of Bramham Moor. In Wales Owain Glyndŵr's widespread rebellion was only put down in 1408. So many saw it as a punishment from God when Henry was later struck down with leprosy and epilepsy.
Henry V and the Hundred Years' War – the Lancastrian war
Henry V of England was a successful and ruthless martial leader. He invaded France to re-assert the claim to the French throne he inherited from Edward III, captured Harfleur, made a chevauchée to Calais and won a near total victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt, despite being outnumbered, outmanoeuvred and low on supplies. Subsequently, Henry recaptured much of Normandy and in a treaty secured a marriage to Catherine of Valois. The terms of the Treaty of Troyes were Henry and Catherine's heirs would succeed to the throne of France. However, this was contested by the Dauphin and Henry's brother, Thomas, Duke of Clarence, was killed in the defeat at the battle of Baugé in 1421. Henry died shortly after of dysentery when his son Henry VI of England was less than a year old. The boy Kings uncle's continued the campaign led by Henry V's brother John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford. There were several more victories, such as the Battle of Verneuil, in 1424, but it was impossible to maintain campaigning at this level. Joan of Arc's involvement helped force the lifting of the siege of Orleans. French victory at the Battle of Patay and the Dauphin was crowned after which he continued the successful Fabian tactics, avoiding full frontal assaults and exploiting logistical advantage. Joan was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, tried as a witch and burned at the stake.
During the minority of Henry VI the war caused political division between the Lancastrians and the other Plantagenets. Bedford wanted to defend Normandy, Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester, just Calais, but Cardinal Beaufort wanted peace. This division led to Gloucester's wife being accused of using witchcraft with the aim of putting him on the throne and he was later arrested and died in prison. The Lancastrian refusal to renounce the claim to the French crown at the congress of Arras led to the defection of their ally Philip III, Duke of Burgundy to Charles and gave him time to reorganise his feudal levies into a modern professional army that put its superior numbers to good use. The French retook Rouen and Bordeaux, regained Normandy, won the Battle of Formigny in 1450 and with victory at the Battle of Castillon in 1453 brought an end to the war with the result that all the Lancastrian holdings in France, except Calais and the Channel Islands, were lost forever.
Henry VI proved to be a weak king vulnerable to the over-mighty subjects who developed private armies of retainers. Rivalries often spilled over from the courtroom into armed confrontation such as Percy–Neville feud. The common purpose of the war in France had ended and Henry's cousin, Richard, Duke of York, and Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick used their networks to defy the crown. Henry became the focus of discontent, as population, agricultural production, prices, wool trade and credit declined in the Great Slump. Most seriously, in 1450 Jack Cade raised a rebellion in an attempt to force the King to address economic problems or abdicate his throne. The uprising was suppressed, but remained deeply unsettling with more radical demands coming from John and William Merfold.
Fall of The House of Lancaster
Henry's marriage to Margaret of Anjou prompted criticism from Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York because it included the surrender of Maine and an extended the truce with France. York was Henry's cousin through his descent from two of Edward III sons, Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence and Edmund, Duke of York. This gave York political influence but he was removed from English and French politics through his appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Conscious of the fate of Henry's Uncle Humphrey at the hands of the Beauforts and suspicious that Henry intended to nominate Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset as heir presumptive York recruited militarily on his return to England. Armed conflict was avoided because York lacked aristocratic support and he was forced to swear allegiance to Henry. However, when Henry later had a mental breakdown York was named regent. Henry himself was trusting and not a man of war, but Margaret was more assertive, showing open enmity toward York particularly after the birth of a male heir that resolved the succession question and assured her position.
When Henry's sanity returned the court party reasserted its authority, but York and his relatives, the Nevilles, defeated them at a skirmish called the First Battle of St Albans. Possibly as few as 50 men were killed, but among them were Somerset and the two Percy lords, Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland, and Thomas Clifford, 8th Baron de Clifford, creating feuds that would confound reconciliation attempts despite the shock that armed conflict had been to ruling class. Threatened with treason charges and lacking support, York, Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, and Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, fled abroad. Henry was captured by the opposition when the Nevilles returned, winning the Battle of Northampton. When York joined them he surprised Parliament by claiming the throne and then forcing through the Act of Accord. This stated that Henry would remain as monarch for his lifetime, but that York would succeed after him. The disinheriting of Henry's son Edward was unacceptable to so continuing conflict was inevitable. York was killed at the Battle of Wakefield and his head set on display at Micklegate Bar, York along with those of Edmund, Earl of Rutland, and Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, who had both been captured and beheaded.
Margaret gained the support of the Scottish queen Mary of Guelders and with a Scottish army pillaged into southern England. However, this caused London to fear being plundered and the city enthusiastically welcomed York's son Edward, Earl of March as King. Margaret's defeat at the Battle of Towton confirmed Edward's position and he was crowned. However, his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville and preferment of her formerly Lancastrian-supporting led to the defection of Warwick and Clarence to Henry's cause. The alliance was sealed with the marriage of Henry's son, Edward, to Warwick's daughter, Anne. Edward and Richard, Duke of Gloucester fled England. When they returned Clarence switched sides at the Battle of Barnet and Warwick and his brother were killed. Before Henry, Margaret and Edward of Lancaster could escape back to France they were caught at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales was executed on the battlefield and the last of the Beauforts were killed. The captive Henry was murdered on 21 May 1471 in the Tower of London and buried in Chertsey Abbey, extinguishing the House of Lancaster.
Lancastrian cognatic descent from John of Gaunt and Blanche's daughter Phillipa continued in the royal houses of Spain and Portugal. However, the remnants of the Lancastrian court party coalesced support around Henry Tudor, albeit a relatively unknown scion of the Beauforts. They had been amongst the most ardent supporters of the House of Lancaster and were descended from John of Gaunt by his mistress Katherine Swynford. With the House of Lancaster extinct Henry claimed to be the Lancastrian heir through his mother Lady Margaret Beaufort. On the paternal side his father had been Henry VI's maternal half-brother. In 1485 Henry Tudor united increasing opposition within England to the reign of Richard III with the Lancastrian cause to take the throne. To legitimise his questionable claim, Henry married the daughter of Edward IV of England, Elizabeth of York and promoted the House of Tudor as a dynasty of dual Lancastrian and Yorkist descent.
Henry VI founded both Eton College and King's College, Cambridge leaving a lasting educational legacy. This followed the architectural patronage begun by his father, such as King's College Chapel and Eton College Chapel.
Earls & Dukes of Lancaster (First Creation)
Dukes of Lancaster (Second Creation)
|John of Gaunt
Earl by right of his wife, the title Duke of Lancaster was vacant due to the lack of male heirs. Created Duke by his father Edward III of England
|6 March 1340
son of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault
|Blanche of Lancaster
Constance of Castile
21 September 1371
Catherine, Queen of Castile
13 January 1396
House of Beaufort
John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset
Cardinal Henry Beaufort
Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter
Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland
|3 February 1399
Lancastrian Kings of England
|Henry IV of England
3 April 1366
son of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster
|(1) Mary de Bohun
20 July 1380
Edward of Lancaster
Henry V of England
Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence
John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford
Humphrey, 1st Duke of Gloucester
Blanche, Electress Palatine
Philippa, Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden
(2) Joanna of Navarre
7 February 1403
|20 March 1413
|Henry's claim was extremely tenuous which meant he resorted to claiming the throne through his mother's descent from Edmund on basis he was older than Edward I but had been set aside due to deformity - this was not widely accepted|
|Henry V of England||Monmouth Castle
son of Henry IV and Mary de Bohun
|Catherine of Valois
2 June 1420
Henry VI of England
|31 August 1422
Château de Vincennes
|son of Henry IV
||6 December 1421
son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois
|Margaret of Anjou
22 April 1445
Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales
|21 May 1471
Tower of London
|son of Henry V
- Knighton's Chronicon
- Quia Emptores
- Philippa of Lancaster
- Jorge de Lencastre, Duke of Coimbra
- John of Lencastre, 1st Duke of Aveiro
- Weir 2008, p. 75
- Jones 2012, pp. 371
- Leese 2007, p. 201
- Weir 2008, p. 77
- Fowler 1969, p. 26
- Jones 2012, p. 471
- Fowler 1969, p. 30
- Fowler 1969, p. 34
- Fowler 1969, pp. 35–37
- Fowler 1969, pp. 58–59
- Fowler 1969, p. 61
- McKisack 1959, pp. 252
- Fowler 1969, pp. 173–174
- Fowler 1969, pp. 193–195
- Fowler 1969, pp. 106–109
- Jones 2012, pp. 586–592
- Weir 1995, p. 235
- Mortimer 2003, p. 353
- Mortimer 2003, pp. 253–264
- Weir 1995, p. 50
- Swanson 1995, p. 298.
- Schama 2000, p. 265
- Davies 1999, pp. 76–80
- Weir 1995, pp. 82–83
- Weir 1995, pp. 72–76
- Weir 1995, pp. 122–32
- Weir 1995, pp. 86,101
- Weir 1995, pp. 156
- Weir 1995, pp. 172
- Schama 2000, p. 266
- Hicks 2010, p. 44
- Weir 1995, pp. 147–155
- Mate 2006, p. 156
- Crofton 2007, p. 112.
- Crofton 2007, p. 111.
- Goodman 1981, p. 25.
- Goodman 1981, p. 31.
- Goodman 1981, p. 38.
- Weir 1995, p. 257
- Goodman 1981, p. 57.
- Goodman 1981, p. 1.
- Goodman 1981, p. 147.
- Weir 2008, p. 134
- Weir 2008, p. 100
- Weir 2008, pp. 146–149
- Weir 1995, p. 94
- Weir 2008, pp. 76–77
- Weir 2008, p. 124
- Weir 2008, p. 130
- Weir 2008, p. 133
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- Davies, Norman (1999). The Isles – A History. MacMillan. ISBN 0-333-76370-X.
- Fowler, Kenneth Alan (1969). The King's Lieutenant: Henry of Grosmont, First Duke of Lancaster, 1310–1361. London. ISBN 0-236-30812-2.
- Goodman, Anthony (1981). The Wars of the Roses: Military Activity and English Society, 1452–97. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-05264-5.
- Hicks, Michael (2010). The Wars of the Roses. Yale University Press.
- Jones, Dan (2012). The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England. HarperPress. ISBN 0-00-745749-9.
- Leese, Thelma Anna (2007). Blood Royal: Issue of the Kings and Queens of Medieval England, 1066–1399. Heritage Books Inc. ISBN 978-0-7884-0525-9.
- Mate, Mavis (2006). Trade and Economic Developments 1450–1550: The Experience of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Boydell Press. ISBN 1-84383-189-9.
- McKisack, M. (1959). The Fourteenth Century: 1307–1399. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-821712-9.
- Mortimer, Ian (2003). The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England: 1327—1330. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 0-312-34941-6.
- Schama, Simon (2000). A History of Britain – At the edge of the world. BBC. ISBN 0-563-53483-4.
- Swanson, R.N. (1995). Religion and Devotion in Europe, c. 1215-c. 1515. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37950-4.
- Weir, Alison (1995). Lancaster & York – The Wars of the Roses. Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-6674-5.
- Weir, Alison (2008). Britain's Royal Families. Vintage. ISBN 978-0-09-953973-5.
- Nuttall, Jenni, The Creation of Lancastrian England: Literature, Language and Politics in Late Medieval England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007) (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, 67).
- House of Lancaster on the official website of the British monarchy
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to House of Lancaster.|
House of Lancaster
Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet
House of Valois
|Ruling house of the Kingdom of France
(disputed with the House of Valois)
House of Valois
House of Plantagenet
|Ruling house of the Duchy of Aquitaine
|Ruling house of the Kingdom of England
House of York
House of York
|Ruling house of the Kingdom of England