Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence

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Thomas of Lancaster
Duke of Clarence
Effigy Thomas of Lancaster Duke of Clarence.png
Drawing of his tomb effigy
BornAutumn 1387 [1]
Probably London
Died22 March 1421 (aged 33)
Battle of Baugé, Anjou, France
Burial
Spouse Margaret Holland (m. 1411)
IssueJohn of Clarence (illegitimate)
House Lancaster
Father Henry IV of England
Mother Mary de Bohun

Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence KG (autumn 1387 – 22 March 1421) was a medieval English prince and soldier, the second son of King Henry IV of England, brother of Henry V, and heir to the throne in the event of his brother's death. He acted as councillor and aide to both.

Henry V of England King of England

Henry V, also called Henry of Monmouth, was King of England from 1413 until his death in 1422. He was the second English monarch of the House of Lancaster. Despite his relatively short reign, Henry's outstanding military successes in the Hundred Years' War against France, most notably in his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, made England one of the strongest military powers in Europe. Immortalised in the plays of Shakespeare, Henry is known and celebrated as one of the greatest warrior kings of medieval England.

Contents

After the death of his father, he participated in the military campaigns of his brother in France during the Hundred Years' War. Left in charge of English forces in France when Henry returned temporarily to England after his marriage to Catherine of Valois, Thomas led the English in their disastrous defeat at the hands of a mainly Scottish force that came to the aid of the French at the Battle of Baugé. In a rash attack, he and his leading knights were surrounded, and Thomas was killed.

Hundred Years War Series of conflicts and wars between England and France during the 14th and 15th-century

The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the French House of Valois, over the right to rule the Kingdom of France. Each side drew many allies into the war. It was one of the most notable conflicts of the Middle Ages, in which five generations of kings from two rival dynasties fought for the throne of the largest kingdom in Western Europe. The war marked both the height of chivalry and its subsequent decline, and the development of strong national identities in both countries.

Catherine of Valois Queen consort of England

Catherine of Valois was the queen consort of England from 1420 until 1422. A daughter of Charles VI of France, she married Henry V of England, and gave birth to his heir Henry VI of England. Her liaison with Owen Tudor proved the springboard of that family's fortunes, eventually leading to their grandson's elevation as Henry VII of England. Catherine's older sister Isabella was queen of England from 1396 until 1399, as the child bride of Richard II.

Kingdom of Scotland Historic sovereign kingdom in the British Isles from the 9th century to 1707

The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England. It suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.

Origins

Thomas was born before 25 November 1387 as on that date his father's accounts note a payment made to a woman described as his nurse. [2] 29 September 1388 [3] sometimes features as his birth date, but it now seems clear that Thomas was born before Christmas 1387. [4] He was probably born in London, [2] but some sources give Kenilworth Castle. [5]

Kenilworth Castle castle ruin in the town of Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, UK

Kenilworth Castle is located in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England. Constructed from Norman through to Tudor times, the castle has been described by the architectural historian Anthony Emery as "the finest surviving example of a semi-royal palace of the later middle ages, significant for its scale, form and quality of workmanship". Kenilworth has also played an important historical role. The castle was the subject of the six-month-long Siege of Kenilworth in 1266, thought to be the longest siege in Medieval English history, and formed a base for Lancastrian operations in the Wars of the Roses. Kenilworth was also the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne, the French insult to Henry V in 1414, and the Earl of Leicester's lavish reception of Elizabeth I in 1575.

Marriage

In November or December 1411 Thomas married Margaret Holland, widow of John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, and daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent. No children were born from this union, though Thomas was stepfather to her six children from her first marriage, who were his first cousins. He had, however, a natural son, Sir John Clarence, called "Bastard of Clarence" who fought by his father's side in France.

John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset Earl of Somerset

John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and 1st Marquess of Dorset, later only 1st Earl of Somerset, was an English nobleman and politician. He was the first of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt (1340-1399) by his mistress Katherine Swynford, whom he later married in 1396. Beaufort's surname probably reflects his birthplace at his father's castle and manor of Beaufort in Champagne, France, situated 100 miles east of Paris, 25 miles north-east of Troyes, and between the River Seine and River Marne. The Portcullis heraldic badge of the Beauforts, now the emblem of the House of Commons, is believed to have been based on that of the castle of Beaufort, now demolished.

Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent English nobleman

Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent was an English nobleman and a councillor of his half-brother, King Richard II of England.

Career

After Thomas's father became ill in 1411, his older brother became head of the royal council. Conflicts arose between the young Henry and his father when the prince gathered a group of supporters favouring his policy of declaring war on France. The prince was removed from the council by his father after he had defied the king's wishes by persuading it to declare war. Thomas was given his brother's seat, and fell in line with his father's peace policy. [6]

Military career

The Battle of Bauge, from Les Vigiles de Charles VII Vigiles du roi Charles VII 53.jpg
The Battle of Baugé, from Les Vigiles de Charles VII

During the wars of his elder brother Henry V in France, Clarence fought in both the Siege of Caen and the Siege of Rouen (29 July 1418 – 19 January 1419), where he commanded the besieging force. After Henry had negotiated the Treaty of Troyes, in which he became heir to the French throne, the king returned to England with his new wife Catherine. The Dauphin, the disinherited former heir, refused to accept the situation and organised continuing resistance, aided by a Scottish army led by John Stewart, Earl of Buchan.

The Siege of Caen took place during the Hundred Years War when English forces under Henry V laid siege to and captured Caen in Normandy from its French defenders.

Siege of Rouen Siege in 1418–19 during the Hundred Years War

The Siege of Rouen was a major event in the Hundred Years' War, where English forces loyal to Henry V captured Rouen, the capital of Normandy, from the Norman French.

The Treaty of Troyes was an agreement that King Henry V of England and his heirs would inherit the French crown upon the death of King Charles VI of France. It was signed in the French city of Troyes on 21 May 1420 in the aftermath of Henry's successful military campaign in France. It forms a part of the backdrop of the latter phase of the Hundred Years' War finally won by the French at the Battle of Castillon in 1453, and in which various English kings tried to establish their claims to the French throne.

Following the King's instructions, Clarence led 4,000 men in raids through the Anjou and Maine. [7] This chevauchée met with little resistance, and by Good Friday, 21 March 1421, the English army had made camp near the little town of Vieil-Baugé. The Franco-Scots army of about 5,000 also arrived in the Vieil-Baugé area to block the English army's progress; it was commanded by the Earl of Buchan and the new Constable of France, the Sieur de Lafayette; however, the English forces were dispersed, and, significantly, many of the English archers had ridden off in search of plunder or forage. On Easter Saturday, one of these foraging groups captured a Scots man-at-arms whom they brought before the Duke of Clarence. Clarence was keen to engage the enemy; however, he had a problem: the following day was Easter Sunday, one of the most holy days in the Christian calendar, when a battle would be unthinkable. A two-day delay was also deemed as out of the question. [8] [9] According to the chronicles of Walter Bower, both commanders agreed a brief truce to celebrate Easter, but then joined battle that day. [10]

Perhaps underestimating the size of the Franco-Scottish army, Clarence decided to launch a surprise cavalry-led attack rather than use his archers against the enemy. With only about 1,500 men-at-arms available, and virtually no archers, he charged the Franco-Scottish lines. The shock temporarily disordered the Franco-Scots, but soon Clarence and his knights were overwhelmed. Clarence was unhorsed by a Scottish knight, Sir John Carmichael, and finished off on the ground by Sir Alexander Buchanan, probably with a mace. [8] [11]

Burial

Clarence's natural son John accompanied the remains of his father from Baugé to Canterbury for their interment. This Sir John Clarence had a grant of lands in Ireland from Henry V and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. The noble de Langlée family of France claimed him for their ultimate ancestor. Henry V was forced to return to France with a new army to retrieve the situation.

Clarence's executors, as seen in a legal record of 1430, were John Colvylle, of Neuton, Cambs, knight; Henry Merston, of Westminster, clerk & his widow, Margaret, Duchess of Clarence, living in Bermondsey, Surrey. [12]

In the movie The King Thomas is portrayed by English actor Dean-Charles Chapman.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Arms of Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence: Arms of King Henry IV a label of three points argent each charged with three ermine spots and a canton gules (or possibly just differenced by a label of three points ermine ) Arms of Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence.svg
Arms of Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence: Arms of King Henry IV a label of three points argent each charged with three ermine spots and a canton gules (or possibly just differenced by a label of three points ermine )

Titles and styles

Honours

Offices held

Ancestry

Notes

  1. Mortimer 2007, p.  372.
  2. 1 2 Mortimer 2007, p. 372.
  3. Kenneth J. Panton. Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy. Scarecrow Press (2011). P. 473.
  4. Mortimer 2007, p. 371.
  5. Alison Weir (2008). Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy. Vintage. p. 125.
  6. J. Madison Davis, The Shakespeare Name and Place Dictionary, Routledge, 2012, p.399.
  7. Wagner, J. (2006). Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War (PDF). Westport: Greenwood Press. ISBN   978-0-313-32736-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2018. pp. 43–44.
  8. 1 2 Brown. The Black Douglases: War and Lordship in Late Medieval Scotland, 1300–1455. pp. 216–218
  9. Neillands. The Hundred Years War. p. 233,
  10. Macdougall. An Antidote to the English p. 65
  11. Allmand, C. (23 September 2010). "Henry V (1386–1422)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12952.
  12. Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40 / 677; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT1/H6/CP40no677/aCP40no677fronts/IMG_0116.htm; second entry, as defendants
  13. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family

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References

Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence
Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet
Born: 1387 Died: 22 March 1421
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Lancaster
Lord High Steward
1399–1421
End of permanent office