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Henry Beaufort Plantagenet

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Cardinal, Bishop of Winchester, born c. 1377; died at Westminster, 11 April, 1447. He was the second illegitimate son of John of Gaunt, and Katherine Swynford, later legitimized by Richard II (1397). After his ordination he received much preferment, becoming successively dean of Wells (1397), Bishop of Lincoln (1398), chancellor of Oxford University (1399), chancellor of England (1403-4), and Bishop of Winchester (1404). He was much in favour with Henry Prince of Wales, and on his accession as Henry V, Beaufort again became chancellor (1413). He attended the Council of Constance (1417), and it was due to him that the Emperor Sigismund in alliance with Henry V withdrew his opposition to the plan of electing a new pope before measures for Church reform had been taken. This election ended the unhappy Western Schism. The new pope, Martin V , created Beaufort a cardinal. On Henry's death he was left guardian of the infant Henry VI and again acted as chancellor (1424-26). He was created cardinal-priest of St. Eusebius in 1426, and was employed as papal legate in Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia, where he assisted the pope in the Hussite War. Employed in French affairs in 1430-31, he crowned Henry, as King of France, in Paris (1431). The following year he defeated the Duke of Gloucester's effort to deprive him of his see on the ground that a cardinal could not hold an English bishopric. When war broke out with France he assisted the war-party with large financial advances. He completed the building of Winchester cathedral. where he is buried.


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