The Medieval Combat Society
Born: 1306, Grosmont Castle, Monmouthshire (also given as 1300 and 1310)
Died: 24th March 1361, Leicester Castle, Leicestershire
Buried: Collegiate Church in Newark (Notts), on the north side of the high altar
Parents: Henry Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, grandson of King Henry III, (born 1281, Grismond Castle, Monmouthshire, England, died 22 September 1345, Monastry of Cann, England, buried in Monastry of Cann, England married before (2 March 1296/1297 Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales) Maud De Chaworth (born about 1282 Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales died after 19 February 1317 buried before 3 December 1322 Priory, Mottisfont, Hampshire, England) her mother was, Blanche D'Artois, grandaughter of King Louis VIII of France
Blanche Plantagenet (born 1297, Stevington, Bedfordshire, England, christened before 12 July 1380, died about 12 July 1380, buried in Friars Minor, Stamford, Lincolnshire, England), married (before 9 October 1318) Thomas Wake, Baron Wake (Stevington, Bedfordshire, England)
Maud "Of Lancaster" Plantagenet (born 1298 Lancaster, Lancashire, England, died 5 May 1377, buried in Priory, Campsey, Suffolk, England) married 1: (before 1 May 1327) William De Burgh, Earl of Ulster, by Papal Dispensation, married 2: (before 8 August 1343) Ralph De Ufford, Justiciar of Ireland, born about 1302, died 9 April 1346
Isabel Plantagenet (born about 1308, Grismond Castle, Monmouth, England)
Joan Plantagenet, Baroness Mowbray (born about 1310, Norfolk, England, died on 7 July 1349, buried in High Alter, Byland) married (about 1339) John De Mowbray, Baron Mowbray
Eleanor Plantagenet, Countess of Arundel (born about 1311/1322, Grismond Castle, Monmouthshire, England, died 11 Jan 1372, Arundel, Sussex, England, buried Lewes, Sussex, England) married 1: (1339) John De Beaumont, Baron Beaumont married 2: (5 February 1344/1345, Ditton, England) Richard "Copped Hat" Fitzlan, Earl of Arundel
Mary Plantagenet, Baroness Percy (born 1320, Tutbury Castle, Tutbury, Staffordshire, England, died 1 Sep 1362, buried Alnwick, Northumberland, England) married (September 1334 in Tutbury Castle, Tutbury, Staffordshire, England) Henry De Percy, Baron Percy, son of Sir Henry de Percy, Lord Percy, and Idoine de Clifford
Spouse: Isabel, daughter of Henry, Lord Beaumont (born 1315 Loughborough Castle, Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, died 1361 Newark Abbey, Leicestershire)
Maud, Countess of Leicester, Duchess of Bavaria (born 4 April 1339, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, died 10 April 1362) betrothed to Ralph, son of Ralph, Earl of Stafford, at the age of six years, his widow, married 1352, William V Duke of Bavaria, Count of Holland & Zealand, died soon after her marriage, without issue.
Blanche of Lancaster (born 25 March 1345, Lancaster, Lancashire, England, died 12 September 1369, Bolingbroke Castle) married (19 May 1359 Queen's Chapel, Reading, Berkshire, England) John of Gaunt, Earl of Richmond (afterwards Duke of Lancaster)
Heraldic Coat of Arms: Three lions passant guardant, a label of three points azure, each charged with as many fleur de lys, or
Order of the Garter 1348, founder member, Stall 3
Henry "of Grosmont" named after the castle in Monmouthshire became known as 'the father of soldiers', and was the only son of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster & Leicester, and great-grandson of King Henry III. His mother was Maud Chaworth; and his grandmother, Blanche D'Artois, grandaughter of King Louis VIII of France and relict of Henry of Champagne, King of Navarre. In 1327 Henry was made the High Sheriff of Lancashire, which he held until 1345. In 1329, he traveled with King Edward III, when the King paid homage to King Philip VI at Amiens, for the Duchy of Guienne and County of Ponthieu. Henry took part in the Scottish expedition of 1336, in which he showed valour and martial skill, and in the following year was granted "Henry de Lancaster, Banneret," the appointment of Captain-General of the King's forces in Scotland, with extra-ordinary powers. His father had been blind since 1330, and Henry took his place at the Royal Court and, on 16th March 1337, he was created Earl of Derby. In May 1337 Henry and Sir Walter Manny received, orders from the King to proceed to the Flemish coast. They arrived on 10 November on the Isle of Cadzand with 500 men-at-arms and 2,000 archers, and disembarked near Cadsand. The town was taken, more than 3,000 Flemings being slain and the victors returned with their prisoners (amongst whom was the celebrated Guy, illegitimate brother of Louis, Count of Flanders) to England. Froissart states that the Earl of Derby, being amongst the first assailants, pressed onwards to make good his landing and was struck to the ground, but was rescued from his perilous situation by the promptitude and bravery of Walter Manny.
In July 1338, the Earl attended the King on his first military expedition into France, and in October 1339, held a principal command in the King's own division of the army, which was drawn up in battle array, but without any battle, near Vironfosse. The affairs of the King requiring, soon afterwards, his presence in England, Edward left, with the Duke of Brabant, as hostages for his return, the Earls of Derby and Salisbury. As, however, the Earls of Northampton and Suffolk were afterwards sent over to join the hostages, it is probable that Derby was relieved from that service. Henry was mentioned foremost in the naval battle off Sluys, directed by the King, on 24 June 1340. Upon the truce concluded with the French in the same year, Henry was nominated one of the commissioners. In October 1341, he was appointed the King's Lieutenant in the Northern parts of England and in Scotland and, spending Christmas at Roxburgh (the King keeping being at Melrose), he is said to have jousted with and wounded Sir William Douglas. Henry was present with the Earl of Salisbury in 1342 when the Spanish Muslims used cannon against Casilian army at the Siege of Algeciras. In 1342, Henry accompanied Edward on his expedition into Brittany, having in his retinue five bannerets, fifty knights, with a proportional number of esquires and archers. During the Siege of Vannes, Henry was made one of the commissioners to conclude a truce for three years. In 1343, Henry marched into Scotland, in order to raise the Siege of Lochmaben, and, later that year, was joined in embassy with the Earl of Salisbury to adjust certain differences between the King's subjects at Bayonne and those of Alphonso, King of Castile. In 1343 Henry was one of the commissioners sent to Rome to treat, in the presence of the Pope, for a peace with Philip of Valois concerning the King's claim to the French Crown. Froissart states that when the King had received intelligence of the execution of Clisson and other adherents of the English party by order of King Philip, and would have retaliated, in his anger, on his prisoner, Sire Hervé de Leon, the monarch was dissuaded from so ungenerous an act by the remonstrance of the Earl of Derby, and even induced to release Leon for a ransom adequate to his rank. In June following, the Earl was despatched with a considerable army into Aquitaine and then started a series of exploits and victories.
In 1345 his father died at Leicester and his funeral was attended by the King and Queen, and he succeeded to the Earldom of Lancaster & Leicester on 22 September 1345 and the title of Lord of Beaufort and Nogent, and very ample possessions, while in France. In 1345 Henry sailed to Gascony with 152 ships to transport 500 men at arms, 500 mounted archers, 500 foot archers and 500 Welsh infrantymen and defeated the Comte de l'Isle at Bergerac, reduced Perigord, took the castle of Auberoche, in Gascony, and overthrew 10,000 French with only 1000, taking prisoners nine earls and nearly all the barons, knights, and squires. Henry relieved the siege of Auberoche and defeated the French on 21 October 1345. Sainte-Bazeille submitted and la Roche Meilhan was taken by assault, Monsegur was besieged for 15 days and then a truce was agreed to with the captain there, to see if the king of France would could relieve Monsegur within a month, as was standard prctice, if relief did not arrive then they would surrender. Aiguillon surrendered, for which the captain of it was later charged with treason and hanged at Toulouse. Castelsagrat was taken by assault and he captured La Reole, Henry ordered that the citizens and town of La Reole should not be harmed as they had surrendedred to him, but not the garrison. In 1346 Henry was still in Gascony with his small army and stormed Saint Jean d'Angely, Lusignan and Poitiers where the town was put to the sword as they had not surrendered to him. He took the fortresses of, Montpezat, Villefranche, Miraumont, Tonneins, Damazin. He was in Bordeaux in October 1346 and the King, recalled Henry to England where he arrived on 1 January 1347. Henry was directed, on 14 May 1347, to join the King, with the forces under his command, to protect the bridge of Nieulay and aid the lifting of the siege of Calais. A dispute had arisen between John, son and heir of Sir John De Warblington, and Theobald, the son of Sir Theobald Russell (whose family had assumed the surname of Gorges), concerning the right to the arms "Lozenge or and azure," the King, amidst the more pressing matters which then engaged his attention, referred the case for decision to Henry, William De Clinton, Earl of Huntingdon; Reginald De Cobham; Walter De Manny; William Lovel; and Stephen De Cosinton, by whom an award was made in favour of Warblington, on the eve of St. Margaret's Day, 19 July 1347.
Henry took part in several commissions to treat with France, and, on the 25 September 1348, was made the King's Lieutenant as well in the parts of Flanders and Calais, as elsewhere in France. On 20 August 1349, Henry was made the Earl of Lincoln and soon after his commission was renewed as Captain-General and King's Lieutenant in Aquitaine. In France Henry increased his income by obtaining a licence to mint coins and through a monopoly over salt in Poitou. On 29 August 1350 he fought in the sea battle in the channel against the Spanish fleet and Prince Edward's ship was holed in the fighting whilst alongside a Spanish ship. Henry of Lancaster saw the danger and moved his ship to he other side of the Spanish ship thus allowing its capture and Prince Edward's escape on to it.
In a charter dated 6 March 1351, Edward III created Henry the 1st Duke of Lancaster. In the same charter, Edward III raised Lancaster to a County Palatine for Henry's lifetime. This meant that the new Duke had sovereign rights in the county in the spheres of justice and administration. The law courts in Lancashire were under the Duke's administration, and he appointed the sheriff, judges, justices of the peace and other senior officials. In medieval England, Palatnate powers were devolved royal powers, for use in regions where central government was difficult. The creation of Lancashire as a County Palatine may have been intended by Edward III as a protective barrier against the Scots.
Henry, obtained a licence to join the expedition against the Lithuanian pagans. Previous to his departure for Prussia, William of Bavaria, called the Duke of Zealand & Holland, came into England, and was married to Maud, the Duke's eldest daughter, with great pomp, in the presence of the King and Queen, in the Royal Chapel at the Palace of Westminster. Duke Henry probably accompanied the pair to the continent. It is stated by Knyghton, that the Duke of Lancaster was, on reaching Cologne given the news that Otto, Duke of Brunswick, had been directed, by the King of France, to arrest him on his journey. Henry, was not put off, by this information, but he found before he had got to Prussia a truce had been concluded between the Christians and the infidels and he returned to Cologne. In Cologne the Friday after Easter 1352, in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, and in presence of the Margrave of Juliers and many other knights and esquires, he complained of the conduct of the Duke of Brunswick towards him, a stranger knight, on a righteous crusade. He added that, if the Duke had any desire to meddle with him, he should find him ready to fight. The letter of challenge which the Duke of Brunswick, addressed to Henry, accused Henry of lying and a challenge was made to prove it, in the castle of Guisnes, at St. Omer, or wherever else the King of France should think fit to appoint.
King Edward, by patent dated at Westminster 23 August 1352, alluding to the cause of quarrel, granted licence to the Duke of Lancaster, to accept the challenge and to travel, with one Earl and sixty knights and esquires, their horses and accoutrements. The Duke, accordingly, landing at Calais, proceeded towards Guisnes and was met by the Marshal of France, John De Clermont, with a large train, on the quindena of the Nativity, and conducted with great honour to Hesdin. From here, the Lord James De Bourbon attended him to Paris, where he was received by John, King of France, and the Duke's kinsman, the King of Navarre. The matter could not be resolved so a day was fixed for the duel. On entering the lists, the countenance of the Duke of Brunswick is said to have suddenly become pallid and his arm so enfeebled and termbled so violently that he could not wield his sword, wiled his spear or put on his helm and, apologised for his letter and submitted himself to the arbitration of the King of France. At a grand banquet, the latter terminated the difference between the Dukes and entertained the Duke of Lancaster most courteously, showing and offering him many rich presents, amongst which, however, he would only accept a thorn out of the Saviour's crown. This relic he deposited in the Collegiate Church of Our Lady in Leicester. He then returned to King Edward, who was celebrating Christmas at St. Alban's.
The Duke sailed to Normandy with the King at the end of October 1355 and on November 2 1355 arrived in Calais with 3000 men-at-arms, 2000 mounted archers and 2000 foot archers.. They raided in Pas de Calais, Artois and Picardy and had returned to England by 15 November 1355. In June/July 1356 Henry lead an expeditionary force to Normandy, landing at Saint-Vaast, where the French were attacking the Strongholds of Charles of Navarre. In the late summer of 1356 he was ordered to move to Touraine to support Prince Edward's forces, moving from Gascony. On the 3 of October 1356 Henry laid siege to Rennes with about 2500 men. The French were led by Tort Boiteux (The lame hunchback) the Lord of Penhöet, and Bertrand de Saint-Pern. The English tried to mine the walls but a French counter mine stopped their efforts. It was said that the English had 2,000 swine driven before the walls to tempt the hungry French into surrender, but the French twisted a Sows ears to make it squeal and encourage the swine into the city. A French Burger double crossed the English by pretending to defect and telling the English that 4,000 German mercenaries were on route and Henry arranged his troops to meet them. Meanwhile Bertrand du Guesclin raided the English Siege camp and entered Rennes. The English brought up a siege tower but it was burnt by the French. Henry met with Bertrand du Guesclin and offered him lands and titles if he would fight for the English but Bertrand reefused. Bertrand was the challenged to a duel by Guillaume de Blanbourne for having been un-chivalrous and broken hostage terms on an earlier occasion. Bertrand was offered by Henry a fine charger for the duel. Bertrand defeated Guillaume in the duel. Henry was reluctantly forced to give it up the siege in July 1357, after a truce was signed between Prince Edward and King Jean II. Henry had promised not to leave before his banner flew over Rennes, so it was arranged for him to put his banner up, but before the English were out of sight it was torn down and burnt. The sum of 60,000 gold ecus was paid by Rennes to their besiegers.
Henry had a large Mansion, the palace of Savoy, where King Jean of France spent the first years of his captivity. Henry gained the title of Earl of Moray on 5 April 1359. In 1359 he commanded the 2nd battle moving through france, and on the 4 December 1359 he was at Brimont near Rheims, and raided to the North East of the region. In 1360 he joined the king in returing to France, laying siege to Rheims without success and then to Paris. On 12 April 1360 Edward III and Duke Henry of Lancaster withdrew from Paris, under the cover of a diversion by the Prince Edward, who then waited to ambush those who came out of Paris. As he had proved, throughout his long career, his wisdom and valour as a great commander, he also was able to negotiate for peace upon honourable terms and Henry persuaded an unwilling Edward III to accept the terms of the Treaty of Bretigny, Henry also helped extend the truce from 1 May to midsummer which was made at Relines between Charles of Blois and the Count of Montfort.
Henry, Duke of Lancaster, married Isabel, daughter of Henry, Lord Beaumont, by whom he had two daughters, his heiresses: Maud, Countess of Leicester, Duchess of Bavaria, first, the betrothed wife of Ralph, son of Ralph, Earl of Stafford, and, at the age of six years, his widow, marrying, secondly, in 1352, William V, Duke of Bavaria, Count of Holland & Zealand, though she died soon after her marriage, without issue. The second and only surviving daughter and heir of the Duke was, Blanche of Lancaster. She became the consort of Prince John of Gaunt, Earl of Richmond (afterwards Duke of Lancaster)
The Duke made his last will at his Leicester Castle on 15 March 1361 and, died of the pestilence on 24 March 1361. He was buried in the Collegiate Church in Newark Nottinghamshire, on the north side of the high altar, as directed in his will. As he died without a male heir, the ducal title became extinct, and the palatinate powers reverted to King Edward III. In April 1361 Prince Edward travelled to Leicester to place 2 cloths of gold on the bier of Henry Duke of Lancaster.
It has been argued that the poet of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" paid tribute to the English nobleman Henry of Grosmont
Henry wote a book entitled "Livre de sainctes médecines" where using allegory he tells of wounds to his soul and tells how he recoils to the stench of the poor and sick, extorting money, lands and property by exercising his influence in the courts. At jousts he would stretch out his legs for ladies to notice and the elegance of his long pointed shoes in his stirrups.