John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter

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The Duke of Exeter
Arms of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter.svg
Coat of arms of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter
Born (1395-03-18)18 March 1395[citation needed]
Dartington, Devonshire, England
Died 5 August 1447(1447-08-05) (aged 52)
Stepney, Middlesex, England
Title Duke of Exeter
Earl of Huntingdon
Spouse(s) Lady Anne Stafford
Beatrice of Portugal
Lady Anne Montacute

John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter KG (18 March 1395[citation needed] – 5 August 1447) was an English nobleman and military commander during the Hundred Years' War. He was Admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitaine.


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, who after Holland's death had married the Prince of Wales, Edward, the Black Prince. 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.

Life account[edit]

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.

Marriage and issue[edit]

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:

He married secondly Beatrice of Portugal on 20 January 1433; then finally, he married Lady Anne Montagu (d. 28 November 1457), daughter of John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury.

By an unnamed mistress or mistresses he also had several illegitimate children, two of whom he named in his will.[citation needed] 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.[1]


In 1435 he was appointed admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitaine, and in 1439 he was made the king's lieutenant in Aquitaine, and later governor of Aquitaine.

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 ad Vincula in the Tower of London.

External link[edit]


  1. ^ Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition By Douglas Richardson (page 138)


  • 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 Exeter
Born: 1395 1447
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Bedford
Lord High Admiral of England
Succeeded by
The Earl of Suffolk
Peerage of England
Preceded by
John Holland
forfeit in 1400
Duke of Exeter
Succeeded by
Henry Holland
Earl of Huntingdon