John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter
|The Duke of Exeter|
Coat of arms of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter
|Born||18 March 1395
Dartington, Devonshire, England
|Died||5 August 1447 (aged 51–52)
Stepney, Middlesex, England
|Title||Duke of Exeter
Earl of Huntingdon
|Spouse(s)||Lady Anne Stafford
Beatrice of Portugal
Lady Anne Montacute
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, widow of Edward, Prince of Wales. 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.
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.
On 6 March 1427, he married Lady Anne Stafford (d. 20 September 1432), widow of Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, and daughter of Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford. By her he had two children, a son and daughter:
- Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter (1430–1475).
- Lady Anne Holland (d. 26 December 1486), who married firstly, Sir John Neville (d. before 16 March 1450), son of her second cousin Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland. The marriage is said to have been unconsummated. She married secondly to her second cousin, John Neville, Baron Neville (uncle of her first husband), slain at the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461. She married thirdly, James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas.
By an unnamed mistress or mistresses he also had several illegitimate children, two of whom he named in his will. 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.
Holland recovered his father's dukedom of Exeter in 1439, 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 de Vincula in the Tower of London.
- Hardy, W. H. (1891). "John Holland, duke of Exeter and earl of Huntingdon (1395-1447)". Dictionary of National Biography 27: 148–149.
John Holland, 2nd Duke of ExeterBorn: 1395 1447
The Duke of Bedford
|Lord High Admiral of England
The Earl of Suffolk
|Peerage of England|
forfeit in 1400
|Duke of Exeter
|Earl of Huntingdon