Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Holland, Thomas (d.1360)

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HOLLAND, Sir THOMAS, first Earl of Kent of the Holland family (d. 1360), soldier, was the second son of Sir Robert Holland of Holland, Lancashire, and Maud, daughter of Allan la Zouche of Ashby, Leicestershire. He joined the expedition to Flanders in 1340, and took part in the battle of Sluys. In 1342 he was sent to Bayonne with Sir John d'Artevelle to defend the Gascon frontier. In 1344 he was chosen one of the founders of the order of the Garter. In 1346 he received a yearly annuity from Edward III, and the same year he accompanied the king in his invasion of France. He took an active part in the siege of Caen. While the town was being sacked by the English soldiers, the Comte d'Eu and Guisnes, constable of France, who had command of the place, and the Comte de Tancarville, with their suites, appealed to him to save their lives. They surrendered to him, and he afterwards disposed of the Comte d'Eu to the king for eighty thousand florins (Fœdera, iii. pt. i. 126). On the subsequent march of the army Holland had the command of the rear-guard. Some English soldiers, having either gone astray or been left behind at Poissy, were killed by the French. Holland thereupon returned with an armed force and burned the town (Froissart, i. § 265). At the battle of Crecy which ensued he held a command in the division of the Black Prince. After the battle he was appointed with four clerks to visit the field and make up lists of the killed. He was at the siege of Calais (1346–7). In 1354 he was appointed lieutenant of the king of England in Brittany and the adjoining parts of Poitou during the minority of the Duke of Brittany (Fœdera, iii. pt. i. 273–4). He received also at the same time an assignation of the entire revenues of the duchy. In 1356 he was governor of the Channel Islands, and in the following year warden of the fortress of Oruyk in Normandy (ib. iii. pt. i. 452). He was summoned to parliament as Baron de Holland from 1353 to 1356 inclusive. In October 1359 he was appointed jointly with Philip of Navarre lieutenant and captain-general in all the English possessions in France and Normandy, and next year he assumed the title of Earl of Kent, in right of his wife, who had succeeded to her brother John, earl of Kent. His crown is included in the armorial of Guildres Herald. He died in Normandy on 28 Dec. 1360.

He married before 1347 Joan Plantagenet, daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent [q. v.], and granddaughter of Edward I, who shortly after his death married the Black Prince. In his absence abroad his wife married William de Montagu, second earl of Salisbury, but on Holland's return this union was dissolved by papal commission (1349). He left three sons: Thomas [q. v.], who succeeded, Edmund, and John, afterwards duke of Exeter [q. v.]; and two daughters, one of whom, Matilda, married Hugh, grandson of Hugh Courtenay, second earl of Devon.

[Froissart, ed. Luce; Rymer's Fœdera, ed. 1830; Ashmole's Order of the Garter; Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 74; Doyle's Official Baronage, ii. 276; Beltz's Memorials of the Garter.]

J. G. F.