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Duke of Lancaster John "of Gaunt" Plantagenet
19 generations from the origin. Great x 17 grandfather.

Birth: Mar 6, 1340, St. Bavon's Abbey, Ghent, East Flanders, Belgium;
Death: Feb 3, 1399; Leicester Castle, Leistershire, England;
Age: 59

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  • 1st Duke of Lancaster - Dates: 1362-1399
  • Duke of Aquitaine - Dates: 1390-1399
  • 5th Earl of Leicester, 2nd creation - Dates: 1361–1399
  • 5th Earl of Lancaster - Dates: 1361–1399
  • 1st Earl of Lincoln, 5th creation - Dates: 1361–1399
  • 2nd Earl of Derby, 2nd creation - Dates: 1361–1399
  • 1st Earl of Richmond, 7th creation - Dates: 1342-1372
  • 14th Baron of Halton - Dates: 1361-1399
  • Prince of England


Source: David Faris, Plantagenet Ancestry of 17th Century Colonists, (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1996, Baltimore), 15:11, [2] Weis, Frederick Lewis, Ancestral Roots, Seventh Edition, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, [1992], 1-31.

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (1340-99), English soldier and statesman, the fourth son of King Edward III of England, and brother of Edward, the Black Prince. John was born in March 1340 in Ghent (M.E., Gaunt), now in Belgium. In 1359 he married Blanche, daughter of Henry, duke of Lancaster; when Henry died, John became duke.

John of Gaunt played an important part in the wars of the period between England and France and between England and Spain. He commanded a division of the English army, led by the Black Prince, that defeated the army of Henry (later Henry II, king of Castile and Leon) at N·jera in 1367. As a result of his second marriage, to Constance, daughter of Peter the Cruel (king of Castile and Leon), John laid claim to the throne of Castile. During the Hundred Years' War, he aided (1370-71) the Black Prince against France and established English rule over most of southern France. After a severe illness forced the return of the Black Prince to England, John took command of the English armies; by 1380 he had lost much of the territory the English had previously won. In 1386 John invaded Castile, but was defeated by John I, king of Castile and Leon. John of Gaunt gave up his claim to Castile and Leon in 1387, when his daughter married Henry, later Henry III, king of Castile and Leon.

John of Gaunt was also prominent in English affairs. Together with Alice Perrers, his father's mistress, John dominated the English government. He was opposed by Parliament and by the Black Prince. In 1376 Parliament banished Alice Perrers and curtailed John's powers. The death of the Black Prince that year and the dissolution of Parliament, however, enabled John to regain his power. In 1377, on the death of Edward III and the accession of Richard II (John's nephew and son of the Black Prince), John gave up his control of the government and thereafter played the role of peacemaker; he also supported the king, by whom he was made (1390) duke of Aquitaine.

In 1396, after the death of his second wife, John married his mistress Catherine Swynford, and Richard legitimized their children the following year. Saddened by the exile (1398) of his son, Henry of Lancaster (later King Henry IV of England), John died on February 3 of the following year.

"One of the most powerful men in England during Edward III's reign and later. A Plantagenet, this name originating as a nick-name for "Geoffrey the Fair" Count of Anjou who wore a sprig of broom in his hat [Fr: genet=broom]."

He was granted by his father, Edward III, the title 5th Earl of Lancaster & 2nd Duke of Lancaster, thus holding the vast Duchy of Lancaster and Pontefract castle. In fact there is a place named after him "John of Gaunt's" about 5 miles north of Wakefield not far from the town of "Robin Hood" around Rothwell.

The ownership of the Duchy made him the overlord of the knight's fees of the Honour of Pontefract and would indicate that the Midgley families in West Yorkshire were of these, William de Miggeley [b. abt. 1280] being one, who as a Paliamentary knight and Yorkshire Court Lawyer, had likely invested heavily in the wool trade.

John of Gaunt was part of the 'Lancastrian Line' whilst his brother Edmund of Langley 1st Duke of York was the progenitor of the Yorkists. The name Plantagenet was not used by either family from Richard I to Richard II but thereafter was employed as a form of superiority. John was born in 1340 in Ghent/Gaunt, Flanders, the fourth son of Edward III."

Blanche Plantagenet "was his cousin and heiress to the Honour of Lancaster. On her father's death in 1362 John became Duke of Lancaster and the greatest landholder in England. In 1369 Blanche died at the early age of 29 after giving birth to three children the eldest of whom became Henry IV of England and another, Elizabeth Plantagenet [b.1364] who married John Hastings, 5th Lord Hastings [his first marriage]. The marriage was annulled in 1383, Elizabeth died in 1425 at the age of 61. Secondly, Lord Hastings 5th Baron married Philippa Mortimer.

This was the second time one of the Hastings line had married into Edward III's pedigree for earlier John Hastings [3rd Lord Hastings] had married Margaret Plantagenet the 10th child of Edward III.

This would indicate, why later, William Lord Hastings became such a friend and confidant to Edward IV.

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem to Blanche Plantagenet entitled "The Deth of Blaunche the Duchesse" in1369 to commemorate her death."

He married "Constance [Constanza] of Castile in 1371 He was in France to 1375 and supported Alice Perrers, Edward III's mistress and William Lord Latimer. In 1376 the "Good Parliament" formed in opposition to Alice Perrers influence over Edward. But John de Ghent managed to reverse most of the decrees in 1377. As a result, during the "Peasants' Revolt" on 13th June 1381 under Wat Tyler ["Jack Straw"?] his residence in London, the Savoy Palace, was sacked and burned. His hereditary arms were hung up-side-down by the crowd in a sign of humiliation and insult.The heraldic arms were originally meant for identification during battle and at tournaments and symbolised the bearers prestige."

"In 1394 or 1396 his second wife died and he married his mistress Catherine Swynford, his long standing mistress. Catherine was born in 1350 and died 1403. She became the Duchess of Lancaster at her marriage. Her first husband was Sir Hugh Swynford, who was a retinue member of John of Gaunt. Hugh died in 1372 and she became a governess of his children by his second wife & John's mistress. She bore John four children who were given the name Beaufort after one of John's estates. The Beauforts were all legitimised in 1397 by an act of parliament with the proviso inserted in 1407 that they had no claim to the throne. Catherine's maiden name was Roet, a Flemish name, she was the sister to Geoffrey Chaucer's wife, Philippa Roet. who had been one of Queen Philippa's chamber ladies. John Chaucer, his father had been in attendance on Edward III in 1338 this led to Geoffrey's employment with the King's Court, engaged as a page in Duke Lionel & Elizabeth's household [Duke of Clarence]

John of Gaunt died in 1399.


1. Hallam, Elizabeth [Ed.], The Plantagenet Encyclopaedia, Tiger Books, London, 1996.
2. Johnson, Paul, The Life and Times of Edward III, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1973.
3. Bedingfield, Henry, Heraldry, Bison Books, 1973.
4. Speed, John, The Counties of Britain, 1610.

His children:
By Blanche of Lancaster:
  • Philippa (1360–1415), married King John I of Portugal (1357–1433)
  • John (1362–1365); Buried Church of St Mary de Castro, Leicester
  • Elizabeth (1364–1426), married (1) in 1380 John Hastings, 3rd Earl of Pembroke (1372–1389), annulled 1383; married (2) in 1386 John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter (1350–1400); (3) Sir John Cornwall, 1st Baron Fanhope and Milbroke (d. 1443)
  • Edward (1365–1368); Buried Church of St Mary de Castro, Leicester
  • John (1366–1367); Buried Church of St Mary de Castro, Leicester
  • Henry IV of England (1366–1413), married (1) Mary de Bohun (1369–1394); (2) Joanna of Navarre (1368–1437) Isabel (1368–1368)
    By Constance of Castile:
  • Katherine (Catalina) (1372–1418), married King Henry III of Castile (1379–1406)
  • John (1374–1375)
    By Katherine Swynford (nee de Roet/Roelt):
  • John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset (1373–1410), married Margaret Holland (1385-1429)
  • Henry Cardinal Beaufort (1375–1447)
  • Thomas Beaufort (1377–1427), Duke of Exeter, married Margaret Neville - no descendents
  • Joan Beaufort (1379–1440), married (1) Robert Ferrers, 3rd Baron Ferrers of Wemme (d. 1396); married (2) Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmoreland (1364–1425)

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See the Family Tree

King of England Edward III Plantagenet
Nov 13, 1312 - Jun 21, 1377
Queen Consort of England Philippa of Hainault
c. 1314 - Aug 15, 1369
Primary or Last Marriage:
Date: Jan 13, 1354/55, Place: Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, Status: Marriage, Note:
Duchess of Lancaster Katherine Roet
c. 1350 - May 10, 1403
Queen of Castile Constance of Castile
1354 - Mar 24, 1394
Countess of Westmoreland Joan Beaufort
Great x 16 grandmother
c. 1379 - Nov 13, 1440
Earl Somerset John Beaufort
Great x 17 grandfather
c. 1371 - Mar 16, 1410
King of England Henry IV
Great x 16 granduncle
Apr 3, 1366 - Mar 20, 1413
Queen Consort of Castile and León Catherine of Lancaster
Great x 16 grandaunt
Mar 31, 1373 - 1418
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