Gloucester, Humphrey, duke of

Gloucester, Humphrey, duke of,

1391–1447, English nobleman; youngest son of Henry IVHenry IV,
1367–1413, king of England (1399–1413), eldest son of John of Gaunt and grandson of Edward III; called Henry of Bolingbroke. He founded the Lancastrian dynasty.
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 and Mary de Bohun. He was well educated and had a great interest in humanist scholarship. After the accession of his eldest brother as 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.
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, Humphrey was created (1414) duke of Gloucester and earl of Cambridge. He served in Henry's French campaigns and was wounded at the battle of Agincourt (1415). In 1420–21 he remained in England as regent during Henry's absence.

In 1422, when Henry was succeeded by his infant son, Henry VIHenry VI,
1421–71, king of England (1422–61, 1470–71). Reign
Early Years

The only son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, he became king of England when he was not yet nine months old.
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, Gloucester claimed the regency. However, Parliament disregarded this claim, which was based on Henry V's will, and made Gloucester's older brother, John of Lancaster, duke of BedfordBedford, John of Lancaster, duke of,
1389–1435, English nobleman; third son of Henry IV of England and brother of Henry V. At the death (1422) of his brother and succession of his 9-month-old nephew, Henry VI, Bedford was designated as regent of France and protector of
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, protector of the realm. Since Bedford was occupied in France, Gloucester was given the title of protector during his absences, but he had to share his authority with a council of magnates. Gloucester's ensuing struggle for power against his uncle, Henry BeaufortBeaufort, Henry
, 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.
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, forced Bedford to return from France several times to reconcile them.

Gloucester married (c.1422) JacquelineJacqueline,
1401–36, countess of Hainaut, Holland, and Zeeland (1417–33). The daughter and heiress of William IV, duke of Bavaria and count of Hainaut, Holland, and Zeeland, and of Margaret of Burgundy, Jacqueline was passed over for the succession to the counties on
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 of Hainaut but abandoned (1425) her after their disastrous military expedition to Hainaut. A papal decree of 1428 invalidated that marriage and permitted him to marry his mistress, Eleanor Cobham, but he was severely criticized.

Henry was crowned king of England in 1429 and king of France in 1431, and Beaufort's ascendancy henceforth increased. After the death of Bedford in 1435, Gloucester became heir presumptive, but his influence with the young king waned as he advocated continuing the unsuccessful war in France. When Eleanor, Gloucester's wife, was imprisoned in 1441 for sorcery against the king, Gloucester's political importance was practically ended. In 1447, William de la Pole, 4th earl 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).
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, family), who had succeeded Beaufort as the king's chief adviser, had Gloucester arrested for treason. The duke fell sick and died in custody.

Gloucester was known as "Good Duke Humphrey," probably because of his patronage of scholars and men of letters. He corresponded with the leaders of the new Italian humanism, had translations made from the Greek classics, and collected a considerable library. His gift of books to the Univ. of Oxford formed the nucleus later restored and developed by Sir Thomas BodleyBodley, Sir Thomas,
1545–1613, English scholar and diplomat, organizer of the Bodleian Library at Oxford. He was a Greek scholar and teacher at Oxford, and in 1584 he was elected to Parliament.
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 into the Bodleian Library. However, in matters of state he lacked determination, flitting from one project to another and following through with none. Unable to appear decisive, he thus antagonized all by his assertions of power.


See biography by E. F. Jacob, The Fifteenth Century (1961).

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