Exeter, Thomas Beaufort, 1st duke of

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Exeter, Thomas Beaufort, 1st duke of (c.1377–1426). The youngest legitimized son of John of Gaunt, Beaufort first served his half-brother Henry IV in the Welsh war and at sea. He was chancellor of England when Prince Henry (later Henry V) controlled the king's council, was created earl of Dorset in 1411 and admiral of England for life in 1412. He participated in Clarence's French expedition and was briefly lieutenant in Gascony. After the capture of Harfleur, he defended it against French attacks and was rewarded by promotion in 1416 to ducal rank. While visiting north country shrines in 1417, he organized the repulse of a Scottish invasion. From 1418 he had a prominent role in the conquest of Normandy; he was governor of Rouen and Paris. He attended the death-bed of Henry V. Back in England, he was a senior member of Henry VI's council in his own last years.

R. L. Storey