1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/York, Edmund of Langley, Duke of

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YORK, EDMUND OF LANGLEY, Duke of (1341–1402), fifth son of Edward III., was born at King's Langley in Hertfordshire on the 5th of June 1341. He accompanied his father on a campaign in France in 1359, was created earl of Cambridge in 1362, and took part in expeditions to France and Spain, being present at the sack of Limoges in 1370. After marrying Isabella (d. 1393), daughter of Peter the Cruel, king of Castile, he was appointed one of the English lieutenants in Brittany, whither he led an army in 1375. A second campaign in Brittany was followed in 1381 by an expedition under the earl's leadership to aid Ferdinand, king of Portugal, in his struggle with John I., king of Castile, but after a period of inaction Edmund was compelled to return to England as Ferdinand had concluded an independent peace with Castile. Accompanying Richard II. on his march into Scotland, he was created duke of York in August 1385, and subsequently on three occasions he acted as regent of England. In this capacity he held a parliament in 1395, and he was again serving as regent when Henry of Lancaster, afterwards Henry IV., landed in England in July 1399. After a feeble attempt to defend the interests of the absent king, York joined the victorious invader, but soon retired from public life, and, in the words of Froissart as translated by Lord Berners, “laye styll in his castell, and medled with nothynge of the busyness of Englande.” He died at King’s Langley on the 1st of August 1402. York was a man who preferred pleasure to business, and during the critical events of his nephew’s reign he was content to be guided by his more ambitious brothers, the dukes of Lancaster and Gloucester. His second wife was Joan, or Johanna (d. 1434), daughter of Thomas Holland, earl of Kent, but his only children were two sons and a daughter, Constance (d. 1416), by his first wife.