Gloucester, Humphrey, 1st duke of

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Gloucester, Humphrey, 1st duke of (1390–1447). The youngest son of Henry IV and brother of Henry V. Created duke of Gloucester in 1414, Humphrey played a prominent role, both in France and at home, during his brother's reign. He became protector of England following Henry's death in 1422, surrendering the office in 1429 when Henry VI was crowned, but continued as president of the minority council until 1437. These years were dominated by his quarrel with Cardinal Beaufort, which caused disruption in 1425–6, 1432, and 1440. Fiercely loyal to the memory of his dead brother, Gloucester emerged in the 1430s as the principal opponent of moves towards peace. As a result, after the king came of age, he was edged from influence. The scandal of his duchess's trial for witchcraft finally discredited him in 1442. But still perceived as a threat to the court faction, in 1447 he was accused of treason, imprisoned at Bury St Edmunds, and died in suspicious circumstances before he came to trial. Posthumously he acquired the reputation of Good Duke Humphrey. He commissioned the first official history of Henry V, patronized John Lydgate, England's leading poet, and sponsored English humanist scholars. He bequeathed his substantial library to the University of Oxford, where it forms the nucleus of the Bodleian collection. He died childless.

Anthony James Pollard

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Humphrey duke of Gloucester

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