JOHN or (AUNT, Doke of Lancaster (1340 99). The fourth son of Edward III. of England. He was born at Ghent, whence his name (Gaunt). In the French wars he served with great bravery under his brother. Edward the Black Prince. Ile succeeded in 1361 to the Earldom of Lan caster in the name of his wife, Blanche, who was the daughter of Henry, Duke of Lancaster, and W110111 he had married in 1361. In 1369 his wife died, but two years later John mar ried Constance. daughter of Peter the Cruel, King of Castile, whom the English had been aiding against his rival. Henry of Trastamare (q.v.). Peter the Cruel having been killed in 1369, John claimed the erown of Castile, but was never able to make any headway against Henry. The contest was ended upon the mar riage of his daughter to the heir to the throne.
Meanwhile war had broken out with France also, and as the Black Prince was ill, John took com mand of the army, but was singularly unsuccess ful, and the English lost nearly all of their conquests in France. The domestic affairs of England were also approaching a crisis, for Par liament objected to the corrupt practices of Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons. whom John
protected, and to the influence of King Edward's mistress, Alice l'errers. In 1376 the so-called 'Good Parliameut' banished her. but when the Black Prince died it was dissolved, and John of Gaunt returned to power. He became involved, on account of his hostility to Bishop •ykeham, in a long contest with the clergy, in which he became allied with Wiclif (q.v.). His second wife died in 1394, and iu 1396 lie married his mistress. Catharine Swynford, whose children, the Beauforts, were declared legitimate by Parlia ment iu 1397. He died February 3. 1399. at Ely House in Holborn. He was the foremost patron of art and literature of his day, among his pro teges being the poet Chaucer. whose material fortunes were dependent the Duke's career. His son, surnamed Bolingbroke. became in 1399 King of England under the title of Henry IV. (q.v.). Consult: Longman. Life and Times of Edward III. (London, 1S69); Stubbs, Constitu tional History of England. vol. ii. (Oxford. 1S96): Trevelyan. England in the Age of Wycliffe (2d ed., London, 1899).