Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster

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Henry of Lancaster
Earl of Lancaster and Leicester
Arms of Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Leicester and Lancaster.svg
Earl of Lancaster and Leicester
Predecessor Thomas, 2nd Earl
Successor Henry of Grosmont, 4th Earl, later 1st Duke of Lancaster
Born c. 1281
Died 22 September 1345(1345-09-22) (aged c. 63–64)
Spouse Maud Chaworth
Issue Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster
Blanche of Lancaster, Baroness Wake of Liddell
Maud of Lancaster, Countess of Ulster
Joan of Lancaster, Baroness Mowbray
Isabel of Lancaster, Prioress of Amesbury
Eleanor of Lancaster, Countess of Arundel
Mary of Lancaster, Baroness Percy
House Plantagenet
Father Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster
Mother Blanche of Artois
Seal of Henry of Lancaster from the Barons' Letter, 1301, which he signed as Henricus de Lancastre, Dominus de Munemue (Henry of Lancaster, Lord of Monmouth). His shield couche shows the armorial of Plantagenet differenced by a bend azure (see below)

Henry, 3rd Earl of Leicester and Lancaster (c. 1281 – 22 September 1345) was an English nobleman, one of the principals behind the deposition of Edward II of England.


He was the younger son of Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster, Earl of Leicester,[1] who was a son of King Henry III by his wife Eleanor of Provence. Henry's mother was Blanche of Artois, Queen Dowager of Navarre.

Henry's elder brother Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, succeeded their father in 1296, but Henry was summoned to Parliament on 6 February 1298/99 by writ directed to Henrico de Lancastre nepoti Regis ("Henry of Lancaster, nephew of the king", Edward I), by which he is held to have become Baron Lancaster. He took part in the Siege of Caerlaverock in July 1300.

Petition for succession and inheritance

After a period of longstanding opposition to King Edward II and his advisors, including joining two open rebellions, Henry's brother Thomas was convicted of treason, executed and had his lands and titles forfeited in 1322. Henry did not participate in his brother's rebellions; he later petitioned for his brother's lands and titles, and on 29 March 1324 he was invested as Earl of Leicester. A few years later, shortly after his accession in 1327, the young Edward III of England returned the earldom of Lancaster to him, along with other lordships such as that of Bowland.


On the Queen's return to England in September 1326 with Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, Henry joined her party against King Edward II, which led to a general desertion of the king's cause and overturned the power of Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester, and his namesake son Hugh the younger Despenser.

He was sent in pursuit and captured the king at Neath in South Wales. He was appointed to take charge of the king and was responsible for his custody at Kenilworth Castle.

Full restoration and reward

Henry was appointed "chief advisor" for the new king Edward III of England,[2] and was also appointed captain-general of all the king's forces in the Scottish Marches.[3] He was appointed Constable of Lancaster Castle and High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1327. He also helped the young king to put an end to Mortimer's regency and tyranny, also had him declared a traitor and executed in 1330.

Loss of sight

In about the year 1330, he became blind.


According to Froissart, he was nicknamed Wryneck, or Tort-col in French, possibly due to a medical condition.[citation needed]


He was succeeded as Earl of Lancaster and Leicester by his eldest son, Henry of Grosmont, who subsequently became Duke of Lancaster.


He married Maud Chaworth, before 2 March 1296/1297.[4]

Henry and Maud had seven children:

Titles, styles, honours and arms


Prior to his restoration to his earldoms, Henry bore the arms of the kingdom, differenced by a bend azure. Upon his restoration, his difference changed, to a label France of three points (that is to say azure three fleur-de-lys or, each).[5]


In fiction

Henry is a supporting character in Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings), a series of French historical novels by Maurice Druon. He was portrayed by fr (William Sabatier) in the 1972 French miniseries adaptation of the series, and by fr (Romain Rondeau) in the 2005 adaptation.[6]


  1. Armitage-Smith, Sir Sydney, John of Gaunt: king of Castile and Leon, duke of Aquitaine and Lancaster, (Archibald Constable and Co. Ltd., 1904), pg 197.
  2. Leese, Thelma Anna, Blood royal: issue of the kings and queens of medieval England, 1066–1399, (Heritage Book Inc., 2007), 201.
  3. Burke, John, A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland, (Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley:London, 1831), 424.
  4. Cambrian Archaeological Association, Archaeologia cambrensis, Volume 3, (W.Pickering:London, 1852), 15.
  5. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
  6. "Les Rois maudits: Casting de la saison 1" (in French). AlloCiné. 2005. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Secondary Sources
  • Armitage-Smith, Sir Sydney (1904). John of Gaunt: king of Castile and Leon, duke of Aquitaine and Lancaster. Archibald Constable and Co. Ltd.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Burke, John (1831). A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "Archaeologia cambrensis". Cambrian Archaeological Association. London: W.Pickering. vol. 3. 1852.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Leese, Thelma Anna (2007). Blood royal: issue of the kings and queens of medieval England, 1066–1399. Heritage Book Inc.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Thomas of Lancaster
Lord High Steward
Succeeded by
Henry of Grosmont
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Thomas of Lancaster
Earl of Lancaster and Leicester Succeeded by
Henry of Grosmont