John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter
|The Duke of Exeter|
Coat of arms of John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter
|Died||16th January 1400 (aged 47–48)|
|Title||Duke of Exeter
Earl of Huntingdon
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth of Lancaster|
John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter
Sir Edward Holland
|Parents||Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent
Joan "The Fair Maid of Kent"
John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter KG (c. 1352 – 16 January 1400), also 1st Earl of Huntingdon, was an English nobleman, primarily remembered for helping cause the downfall of Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester and then for conspiring against Henry IV.
He was the third son of Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent and Joan "The Fair Maid of Kent", daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, a son of Edward I. His mother later married her cousin Edward, the Black Prince. Holland was thus half-brother to Richard II, to whom he remained loyal the rest of his life.
Political career 
Holland had a violent temper, which got him in trouble several times. The most famous incident occurred during Richard II's 1385 expedition to the Kingdom of Scotland. An archer in the service of Ralph Stafford, eldest son of the Earl of Stafford, killed one of Holland's esquires. Stafford went to find Holland to apologize, but Holland killed him as soon as he identified himself. The king had Holland's lands seized. Their mother, Joan of Kent, died during this time; it was said she died of grief at the quarrel between her sons.
Early the next year Holland reconciled with the Staffords, and had his property restored. Later in 1386 he married Elizabeth of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Blanche of Lancaster. He and Elizabeth then went on Gaunt's expedition to Spain, where Holland was constable of the English army. After his return to the Kingdom of England, Holland was created Earl of Huntingdon, on 2 June 1387. In 1389 he was appointed Lord Great Chamberlain for life, admiral of the fleet in the western seas, and constable of Tintagel Castle. During this time he also received large grants of land from the king.
Over the next several years he held a number of additional offices: constable of Conway Castle (1394), governor of Carlisle (1395), and then in 1398 Warden and then constable-general of the west marches towards Scotland. His military services were interrupted by a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1394 (which may be connected with his earlier troubles with the Staffords).
Holland helped the king take down Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester and Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel in 1397 (though it is less certain he was involved in Gloucester's death). He was rewarded by being created Duke of Exeter on September 29.
He then went with Richard on the king's 1399 Ireland expedition. When they returned the king sent him to try to negotiate with Holland's brother-in-law Henry Bolingbroke. After Henry deposed Richard and took the throne (as Henry IV), he called to account those who had been involved in the downfall of Thomas of Woodstock, and in the end took away all rewards Richard had give them after Thomas' arrest. Thus Holland became again merely Earl of Huntingdon.
Early the next year Holland entered into a conspiracy, called the Epiphany Rising, with his nephew Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, Thomas le Despencer, 1st Earl of Gloucester, and others. Their aim was to assassinate king Henry and return Richard (who was in prison) to the throne. Their plot failed, Holland fled, but was caught near Pleshy Castle in Essex and executed by the order of Joan Fitzalan, Countess of Hereford, the mother-in-law of Henry IV, and sister of the executed Earl of Arundel who Holland had arrested some years before. Among those who witnessed the execution was Arundel's son, Thomas Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel.
Holland's lands and titles were forfeited, but eventually they were restored for his second son John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter.
He had the following children:
- Richard Holland (d. 3 September 1400)
- Constance Holland (1387–1437), married first Thomas Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk, married second Sir John Grey, KG
- Elizabeth Holland (c. 1389 – 1449), married Sir Roger Fiennes
- Alice Holland (c. 1392 – c. 1406), married Richard de Vere, 11th Earl of Oxford
- John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter (1395–1447)
- Sir Edward Holland (c. 1399 – aft. 1413)
- Hardy, W. H. (1891). "John Holand, duke of Exeter and earl of Huntingdon (1352?-1400)". Dictionary of National Biography 27: 147–148.
- From Froissart's Chronicles: Sir John Holland kills Lord Ralph Stafford
The Duke of Ireland
|Lord Great Chamberlain
1389 – 1399?
The Earl of Oxford
|Justice of Chester
1381 – 1385
The Duke of York
The Duke of Gloucester
|Justice of Chester
1391 – 1394
The Earl of Nottingham
|Peerage of England|
|New creation||Duke of Exeter
1397 – 1399 (forfeit)
Restored 1416 (Earl)
and 1439 (Duke)
|Earl of Huntingdon
1387 – 1400 (forfeit)