This Day in History: 1361-03-23

On 23rd March 1361, Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster died at Leicester Castle, possibly of the plague. Henry was the eventual heir of his executed uncle Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, who had been married to Alice de Lacy, of Pontefract, daughter and heiress of Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln. Henry’s dukedom was the first one created since the Norman Conquest, with the exception of the Black Prince in 1337.  Not only had he won several major battles, skirmishes and sieges, he had been chief negotiator in Edward’s desire for peace since 1353. Literate and speaking English as well as French, his work ‘The Book of Holy Medicines’ recounted how his five senses had become infected with the Seven Deadly Sins. John of Gaunt, third surviving son of Edward III, received half of his father-in-law’s (the Duke of Lancaster) lands and the title ‘Earl of Lancaster’ on the duke’s death.