Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter

Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter

Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter (June 27,1430 – September 1475) was a Lancastrian leader during the English Wars of the Roses. He was the only son of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter and his first wife Lady Anne Stafford. His maternal grandparents were Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford and Anne of Gloucester.

He inherited the dukedom of Exeter when his father died in 1447. A great-grandson of John of Gaunt, he might have had a plausible claim on the throne after the death of Henry VI. However, he was cruel, savagely temperamental and unpredictable, and so had little support.

Exeter was for a time Constable of the Tower of London, and afterwards the rack there came to be called "the Duke of Exeter's daughter". [However, Stubbs says it was named after the 2nd duke, who was also constable of the Tower, in his "The Constitutional History of England in Its Origin and Development", vol. 3, p. 302] In 1447, he married Anne of York.

His wife was the second child and eldest surviving daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York and Cecily Neville. She was an older sister of Edward IV of England, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk, Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, George, Duke of Clarence and Richard III of England.

In the Wars of the Roses, however, he remained an enemy of the House of York. He was a commander at the great Lancastrian victories at Wakefield and St Albans.

He was also a commander at the Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Towton. He fled to Scotland after the battle, and then joined Queen Margaret in her exile in France. He was attained in 1461, and his estates were given to his wife, who separated from him in 1464. During the brief period of Henry VI's restoration he was able to regain many of his estates and posts.

At the Battle of Barnet Exeter commanded the Lancastrian left flank. He was badly wounded and left for dead, but survived. Afterwards he was imprisoned, and Anne divorced him in 1474. He "volunteered" to serve on Edward's 1475 expedition to France. On the return voyage he fell overboard and drowned. Some say he was in fact thrown overboard at the king's command.

He had one daughter, and one son:
*Anne Holland (c. 1455 – 1475), married Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset
*Thomas Holland (1461)

For the complex matter of the disposition of his estates, see Anne of York.



*cite journal | first=Ralph A. | last=Griffiths | title=Local Rivalries and National Politics: the Percies, the Nevilles, and the Duke of Exeter, 1452-55 | journal=Speculum| year=1968| volume=43|pages=589–632 | doi=10.2307/2855323
* cite journal | first=T.B. | last=Pugh
title=Richard, duke of York, and the rebellion of Henry Holand, duke of Exeter, in May 1454| journal=Historical Research| volume=63 | pages=248–62 | year=1990

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