Beaufort, Henry(bō`fərt), 1377?–1447, English prelate and statesman. The son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and his mistress (later wife) Catherine Swynford, he was half-brother to Henry IV. He was declared legitimate (1397) and made bishop of Lincoln (1398) by Richard II, and under Henry IV served as chancellor (1403–4) and became (1404) bishop of Winchester.
On the accession of his friend Henry VHenry V,
1387–1422, king of England (1413–22), son and successor of Henry IV. Early Life
Henry was probably brought up under the care of his uncle, Henry Beaufort.
..... Click the link for more information. , Beaufort again was chancellor (1413–17). At the Council of Constance, Beaufort swung (1417) English influence to help elect Pope Martin VMartin V,
1368–1431, pope (1417–31), a Roman named Oddone Colonna; successor of Gregory XII. He was created cardinal by Innocent VII, and in the schism (see Schism, Great) he attended and supported the decisions of the Council of Pisa (see Pisa, Council of).
..... Click the link for more information. , but Henry refused to let him accept the pope's reward of a cardinalate. When in 1422 the infant Henry VIHenry VI,
1421–71, king of England (1422–61, 1470–71). Reign
The only son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, he became king of England when he was not yet nine months old.
..... Click the link for more information. succeeded to the throne, Beaufort became involved in a vigorous struggle for power with Humphrey, duke of GloucesterGloucester, Humphrey, duke of,
1391–1447, English nobleman; youngest son of Henry IV and Mary de Bohun. He was well educated and had a great interest in humanist scholarship.
..... Click the link for more information. . Beaufort's enormous wealth (he loaned money to the government for the war in France) and political skill gave him the advantage, and he served again as chancellor (1424–26).
Made a cardinal (1426) and papal legate, he preached a crusade against the Hussites in Bohemia in 1429, but the troops he raised were diverted to join the English army in France. In 1431 he crowned Henry VI as king of France in Paris. Beaufort defeated (1432) an attempt by Gloucester to remove him from the see of Winchester and by 1437 enjoyed complete ascendancy. He and his faction, which was later led by William de la Pole, 4th earl and 1st duke of Suffolk (see under PolePole,
English noble family. The first member of importance was William de la Pole, d. 1366, a rich merchant who became the first mayor of Hull (1332) and a baron of the exchequer (1339).
..... Click the link for more information. , family), sought to end the French wars.