Gaunt married Blanche of Lancaster on 19 May 1359 by 1361 he had been created Earl of Lancaster by right of his wife who was a co-heiress with her elder sister Matilda who died soon after. Gaunt became the Duke of Lancaster in November 1362. The Lancaster inheritance made him extremely wealthy.
The first child be born to the couple was called Philippa and she was born in 1360 at Leicester. Her marriage was negotiated as part of Gaunt’s aspirations to hold the throne of Castile by right of his second wife Constanza. She married John I of Portugal with whom she had eight children including Henry the Navigator. And there we shall leave her.
The second child to survive childhood was Elizabeth who was born in 1363, the baby brother born the year before died in infancy. She married three times. Elizabeth added scandal to the Lancaster line and a bit of a tangle! Her father married her to John Hastings in 1380. The groom was eight at the time whilst Elizabeth was seventeen. The marriage was about political alliances. Perhaps unsurprisingly Elizabeth was not overly impressed with her new groom – it would certainly be several years before she became a wife in anything but name.
John Holland, Duke of Exeter- half brother of Richard II by their shared mother Joan of Kent was ten years older than Elizabeth and he wooed her persistently. The unsurprising result was that she became pregnant. Gaunt had to arrange an annulment as Hastings was still only fourteen and a second marriage for Elizabeth which took place in June 1386. Altogether the couple would have five children.
As for Hastings he married Philippa Mortimer who has been mentioned in a previous post – she was the daughter of Philippa of Clarence. Or put another way Hastings was rejected by a granddaughter of Edward III so married a great-grand daughter. Philippa went on to marry Richard FitzAlan the 11th Earl of Arundel (there was a thirty year age gap if you recall) after Hastings died on the 30th December 1389 in a jousting accident.
So far so good . Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel – Philippa Mortimer’s second husband was a Lord Appellant who effectively revolted against Richard II who was also Philippa Mortimer’s first cousin once removed. Arundel was, of course, beheaded for treason by Richard II in 1397. Holland occupied Arundel Castle, the home of FitzAlan on Richard’s request. Just so that the other key strand of the political pattern is clear Elizabeth’s brother Henry of Bolingbroke was also a Lord Appellant.
Meanwhile Elizabeth having moved on to husband number two found herself on the opposite side of the fence to Philippa and her brother. John Holland, despite his violent temper and the murder of the earl of Stafford which resulted in the temporary confiscation of his lands, was loyal to his half brother. In short he was an Anti-Appellant. In 1388 he was created Earl of Huntingdon, was given parcels of land by his half brother (often confiscated from the Lords Appellant) handheld assorted important official roles.
In 1397 John Holland was present at the arrest of Thomas of Woodstock (Duke of Gloucester) at Pleshey Castle. Thomas of Woodstock was Elizabeth’s uncle as well as being a Lord Appellant and uncle of Richard II who ultimately ordered Thomas’s murder.
In 1399 John of Gaunt died and Richard II felt able to take his revenge against Elizabeth’s brother, Henry of Bolingbroke by changing banishment for a period of ten years to banishment for life. As a consequence Henry returned and usurped his cousin becoming Henry IV. He acted against those involved in the arrest anqdmurder of Thomas of Woodstock. John Holland was stripped of much of the land which Richard II had given him. He also lost his dukedom and reverted to being only the Earl of Huntingdon.
Unsurprisingly John resented this and plotted to restore his half brother to the throne. The Epiphany Plot conspired to murder Henry IV and his sons in January 1400. How Elizabeth might have felt about the death of her brother and nephews is not recorded. The plot was uncovered and the conspirators fled. John Holland was captured at Pleshey where Thomas of Woodstock had been arrested four years earlier. He was executed on 16 January 1400. The execution was ordered by Joan FitzAlan the sister of the Earl of Arundel …who had been executed three years earlier.
And I think that’s a good place to stop for the time being. Incidentally I have no idea how the yellow square appeared on the family tree! I have posted about Elizabeth of Lancaster and John before – follow the link to open a new window. https://thehistoryjar.com/2015/03/16/elizabeth-of-lancaster-and-sir-john-holland/