John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster
Death of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster – ancestor of the Lancastrian Kings and the Tudors
The death of John of Gaunt occurred on 3 February 1399 at Leicester Castle.
He was the third surviving son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault. He was born on 6 March 1340 in Ghent, which why he was called ‘of Gaunt’.
His first wife was Blanche, the daughter of Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster. They married in 1359. His father gave him the title Duke of Lanacster in 1362 after the death of his father-in-law. Their eldest son surviving infancy was Henry Bolingbroke, who would later become the Lancastrian king Henry IV.
After Blanche’s death in 1369, he married the Infanta Constance of Castile in 1371. She died in 1394.
With Katherine de Roet he is the ancestor of the Beaufort family. The children were born when Katherine was his mistress. However, Katherine and John married in 1396 and the children were legitimised. Their half-brother Henry IV barred the Beauforts from the succession to the throne. The later fact was conveniently forgotten by Margaret Beaufort and her son Henry Tudor, when he aimed to become king (Henry VII). Katherine and her relationship with John of Gaunt is the subject of Anya Seton’s unforgettable novel Katherine.
Richard Cavendish, ‘Death of John of Gaunt‘, History Today (2 February 1999). [accessed 3 February 2013]
John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, Encyclopaedia Britannica
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Death of Katherine de Roet, first mistress and later third wife of John of Gaunt.
Katherine was probably born in 1350, the daughter of Sir Payn Roet, a knight from Hainault who came to England with Philippa, Edward III’s queen. She married in 1365 Sir Hugh Swynford.
In 1368 she became governess to the children of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, after the death of his wife Blanche. It is not sure, when exactly she became John of Gaunt’s mistress, but between 1373 and 1377 they had four children.
Following the death of John of Gaunt’s second wife, they married in Lincoln Cathedral in January 1396, where she is also buried.
She is the title character of Anya Seton’s novel Katherine.
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