John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford
|John of Lancaster|
|Duke of Bedford|
|John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford (left)|
|Spouse||Anne of Burgundy
m. 1423; dec. 1432
Jacquetta of Luxembourg
m. 1433; wid. 1435
|Father||Henry IV of England|
|Mother||Mary de Bohun|
|Born||20 June 1389|
|Died||14 September 1435
Castle of 'Joyeux Repos', Rouen
|Burial||Rouen Cathedral, Normandy|
John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, KG (20 June 1389 – 14 September 1435) was the third surviving son of King Henry IV of England by Mary de Bohun, and acted as regent of France for his nephew, King Henry VI.
After his father's accession to the throne of England as Henry IV, 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. He was created Earl of Kendal, Earl of Richmond and Duke of Bedford in 1414 by his brother, King Henry V.
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. In 1431, Bedford had Joan tried and executed at Rouen, 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.
Georgette Heyer's novel My Lord John deals with his life from when he was four to about twenty.
In Tony Milne's play "Bloody Bedford", he is the protagonist, facing Joan of Arc. The play focuses on his role as the last English Regent of France.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
As a son of the sovereign, John bore the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a label of five points per pale ermine and France.
In the Bedford Book of Hours  these arms are shown supported by an eagle collared with a crown and a sable yale all on a gold field sewn with gold uprooted tree-stumps. 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.
There is a Queen's Arms public house sign from Birmingham  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.
- "NORMANDY". Bruce R. Gordon. 15 March 2005. Retrieved 8 April 2007.
- "John PLANTAGENET (1º D. Bedford)". Jorge H. Castelli. Retrieved 8 April 2007.
- Chipps Smith, Jeffrey (1984). "The Tomb of Anne of Burgundy, Duchess of Bedford, in the Musée du Louvre". Gesta 23 (01): 39–50. JSTOR 766962.
- Weir, Alison (1996). The Wars of the Roses: Lancaster and York. London: Ballantine Books. p. 84. ISBN 0-345-40433-5.
- Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
- Bedford Book of Hours armorial coat
- Queen's Arms pubsign from Birmingham
John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford
Cadet branch of the House of PlantagenetBorn: 20 June 1389 Died: 14 September 1435
|Peerage of England|
|New creation||Duke of Bedford
Extinct, next held by George Neville
The Duke of Exeter
|Political offices||Regent of France
|Political offices||Lord High Admiral
The Earl of Huntington
Ralph de Neville
|Honour of Richmond
reverted to the crown
Title next held byEdmund Tudor