John of Gaunt 1340 – 1399

John of Gaunt

Born – 6th March 1340
Died – 3rd February 1399
FatherKing Edward III (1312 – 1377)
MotherPhilippa of Hainault (1314 – 1369)
Spouses – m. 1359 – Blanche of Lancaster (1342 – 1368), m. 1371 – Constanza of Castile (1354 – 1394), m. 1396 – Katherine Swynford (1350 – 1403)
Children – by Blanche of Lancaster – Philippa (1360 – 1415), John 1362 – 1365), Elizabeth (1363 – 1426), Edward (1365), John (1366 – 1367), King Henry IV (1367 – 1413), Isabella (1368)
by Constance of Castile – Catherine (1372 – 1406), John (1374 – 1375)
by Katherine Swynford – John (1373 – 1410), Henry (1375 – 1447), Thomas (1377 – 1427), Joan (1379 – 1440)

1340 (6th March)
John of Gaunt, was born to King Edward III and Philippa of Hainault at St Bavon’s Abbey, Ghent. He was the fourth son of the royal couple, his brothers Edward (known as the Black Prince), William and Lionel had been born earlier. At the time of his birth, England was involved in the Hundred Years’ War with France.
1340 (24th June)
Battle of Sluys
King Edward III successfully destroyed the French fleet which gave England control of the English Channel.
1341 (5th June)
John’s brother, Edmund, was born to Edward and Phillipa at King’s Langley.
1342 (March)
John’s sister, Blanche, was born to Edward and Philippa in the Tower of London. She died before she was a month old.
1343 (12th May)
John’s elder brother, Edward was created Prince of Wales.
1344 (10th October)
John’s sister, Mary, was born to Edward and Philippa at Waltham.
1346 (July)
King Edward III, invaded Normandy with a force of 15,000 men. He took Caen, the main city of Normandy and then marched onwards into France.
1346 (20th July)
John’s sister, Margaret, was born to Edward and Philippa at Windsor Castle.
1346 (26th August)
Battle of Crecy
King Edward, and Edward the Black Prince scored a decisive victory over the French.
1347 (Summer)
John’s brother, Thomas, was born to Edward and Philippa. He died before he was a year old.
1347 (3rd August)
John’s father, Edward III took the French town of Calais.
1348 (23rd April)
Order of the Garter
King Edward III founded the Order of the Garter, to acknowledge services to the country. He and his eldest son, Edward were the first members together with knights that had fought at the Battle of Crecy.
1348 (June)
The Black Death
The Black Death which had swept across Europe, reached England. It killed a third of the population.
1348 (24th June)
John’s brother, William, was born to Edward and Philippa at Windsor Castle. He died before September 1348.
1350 (29th August)
Battle of Winchelsea
Prince Edward took command of a ship in this battle against Charles de la Cerda of Spain. His younger brother, John of Gaunt sailed with him. Although the English won the battle, at least two ships were sunk with a significant loss of life.
1359 (during)
John fathered a daughter, Blanche, by his mistress Marie de St Hilaire of Hainault, a lady-in-waiting to his mother.
1359 (19th May)
John of Gaunt married his third cousin, Blanche of Lancaster, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster.
1355 (7th January)
John’s brother, Thomas, was born to Edward and Philippa at Woodstock Palace.
1360 (31st March)
A daughter, Philippa, was born to John of Gaunt and his wife Blanche.
1361 (during)
John of Gaunt became Earl of Lancaster after the death of his father in law.
1361 (April)
John became a Knight of the Garter.
1362 (during)
A son, John, was born to John and Blanche.
1362 (13th November)
John was created Duke of Lancaster.
1363 (21st February)
A daughter, Elizabeth, was born to John and Blanche.
1365 (during)
A son, Edward was born to John and Blanche but he died within a year.
1366 (Spring)
A son, John was born to John and Blanche but he died within a year.
1367 (6th January)
John’s nephew, Richard was born to Prince Edward and his wife, Joan of Kent.
1367 (3rd April)
A son, Henry was born to John and Blanche. He was known as Henry of Bolingbroke.
1368 (during)
A daughter, Isabella was born to John and Blanche but she died at a young age.
1368 (12th September)
John’s wife, Blanche, died of bubonic plague. She was buried in Old St Paul’s Cathedral.
1369 (during)
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote an elegy on the death of John of Gaunt’s wife entitled ‘The Boke of the Duchesse’.
1369 (during)
Hundred Years’ War
Charles V of France had renewed the war. John was sent to Calais and raided northern France.
1369 (15th August)
John’s mother, Philippa of Hainault, died at Windsor Castle.
1370 (Summer)
John was sent, at the head of a small force, to help his brother, Edward the Black Prince, fighting in Aquitaine.
1370 (19th September)
Siege of Limoges
John supported his brother, Edward the Black Prince in laying siege to and retaking the town of Limoges in France.
1370 (8th October)
John was created Lord of Bergerac and Roche-sur-Yon.
1371 (21st September)
John married Constance of Castile at Roquefort in France.
1372 (during)
King Edward III had planned a new invasion of France and John was to support this invasion, but due to unfavourable winds it had to be abandoned.
1372 (during)
John began an affair with Katherine Swynford, widow of Hugh Swynford.
1372 (during)
John of Gaunt was sympathetic to the teachings of the reformer, John Wycliffe. Wycliffe was leader of an increasingly popular move against Bishops and Archbishops having power in government. He also believed that every man had the right to read the Bible in his own language and to interpret it according to his own convictions. Wycliffe’s followers were known as Lollards and they preached in the streets.
1372 (Autumn)
A daughter, Catherine, was born to John and Constanza.
1372 (Autumn)
A son, John, was born to John and his mistress Katherine Swynford. He was given the surname Beaufort.
1373 (August – December)
John of Gaunt was sent back to Aquitaine at the head of an army of around 9,000 men. The journey was long and arduous and many soldiers died of plague and other diseases. Although they succeeded in weakening the French by raiding and plundering the land, by the time they reached Aquitaine the army was too weak to be of much use.
1374 (during)
A son, John was born to John and Constanza but he died before he was a year old.
1374 (during)
John of Gaunt returned to England.
1375 (during)
A son, Henry, was born to John and his mistress, Katherine Swynford. He was given the surname Beaufort.
1376 (8th June)
John’s brother, Edward the Black Prince, died, his young son, Richard, now became heir to the throne.
1377 (January)
A son, Thomas, was born to John and his mistress, Katherine Swynford. He was given the surname Beaufort.
1377 (21st June)
John’s father, Edward III died following a stroke. He was succeeded by his ten year old grandson, Richard II. John of Gaunt acted as regent for his young nephew.
1378 (Summer)
John went to France at the head of a large army to try to take Brittany. The mission was a failure because John was unable to feed such a large force due to the French occupation of the countryside.
1379 (during)
A daughter, Joan, was born to John and his mistress, Katherine Swynford. She was given the surname Beaufort.
1381 (during)
Peasant’s Revolt
John was in France at the time of this revolt against the introduction of a new poll tax.
1386 (during)
Following the death of King Pedro of Castile, John made an unsuccessful attempt to claim the throne by right of his wife, Constance of Castile.
1368 (September)
Having failed to claim the throne of Castile for himself, John’s daughter, Catherine, married Henry, the new King of Castile.
1389 (during)
John and his wife returned to England.
1390 (2nd March)
John was created Duke of Aquitaine.
1394 (24th March)
John’s wife, Constance of Castile, died at Leicester Castle. She was buried at Newark Abbey.
1396 (13th January)
John married his long time mistress, Katherine Swynford at Lincoln Cathedral.
1396 (1st September)
The Pope legitimised the children of John and Katherine Swynford but they were excluded from the succession.
1397 (during)
John’s son, Henry Beaufort, became Dean of Wells Cathedral.
1398 (14th July)
John’s son, Henry Beaufort became Bishop of Lincoln.
1398 (16th September)
John was in Coventry to watch a trial by battle between his son, Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. However, King Richard II intervened, forbade the fight and banished both men.
1399 (3rd February)
John of Gaunt died at Leicester Castle. He was buried beside his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster.

 

First Published 2016; Updated and re-published Mar 06 @ 10:51 am – Updated – Mar 6, 2021 @ 10:52 am

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2016 – 2021). John of Gaunt 1340 – 1399. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/john-of-gaunt-1340-1399 Last accessed March 9th, 2021