Mary de Bohun

Mary de Bohun (c. 1369/70[1] – 4 June 1394) was the first wife of Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Northampton and Hereford and the mother of King Henry V. Mary was never queen, as she died before her husband came to the throne as Henry IV.

Mary de Bohun
Countess of Northampton
Countess of Derby (by courtesy)
refer to caption
Psalter celebrating Mary's marriage
Bornc. 1369/70
Died4 June 1394 (aged about 26)
Peterborough Castle, Kingdom of England
Burial6 July 1394
(m. 1380)
FatherHumphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford
MotherJoan Fitzalan

Early lifeEdit

Mary was a daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford (1341–1373) by his wife Joan Fitzalan (1347/8–1419),[2] a daughter of Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel, and Eleanor of Lancaster.

Mary and her elder sister, Eleanor de Bohun, were the heiresses of their father's substantial possessions.[1] Eleanor became the wife of Thomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of Gloucester, the youngest child of Edward III.[1] In an effort to keep the inheritance for himself and his wife, Thomas of Woodstock pressured the child Mary into becoming a nun.[3] In a plot with John of Gaunt, Mary's aunt took her from Thomas' castle at Pleshey back to Arundel whereupon she was married to Henry Bolingbroke, the future Henry IV.[3]

Marriage and childrenEdit

Mary married Henry—then known as Bolingbroke—on 27 July 1380, at Arundel Castle. It was at Monmouth Castle, one of her husband's possessions, that Mary gave birth to her first child, the future Henry V, on 16 September 1386. Her second child, Thomas, was born probably at London shortly before 25 November 1387.[4]

Her children were:[a]


Mary de Bohun died at Peterborough Castle, giving birth to her last child, a daughter, Philippa of England.[8] She was buried in the collegiate Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady of the Newarke, Leicester, on 6 July 1394.[9][10][11]



  1. ^ According to some sources,[5][6] in 1382 she had a son who died shortly after birth. This is incorrect, as it is based on a misreading of a contemporary account book, by J. H. Wylie, in his biography of Henry IV (published in the 19th century). Wylie missed a line which made clear that the boy in question was Mary's nephew, Humphrey, 2nd Earl of Buckingham. There is no evidence that there was any child born to Mary at this time (when she was only about 14).[4]


  1. ^ a b c Given-Wilson 2016, p. 26.
  2. ^ Ward 1995, p. 21.
  3. ^ a b Goodman 2013, p. 276.
  4. ^ a b Mortimer 2007, p. appendix 3.
  5. ^ Ward 2006, p. 49.
  6. ^ Staley 2006, p. 229.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Allmand 1992, p. 8-9.
  8. ^ Given-Wilson 2016, p. 86.
  9. ^ Richardson 2011, p. 352.
  10. ^ Luxford 2008, p. 130.
  11. ^ Knighton 1995, p. 551.


  • Allmand, Christopher (1992). Henry V. The University of California Press.
  • Given-Wilson, Chris (2016). Henry IV. Yale University Press.
  • Goodman, Anthony (2013). John of Gaunt: The Exercise of Princely Power in Fourteenth-Century Europe. Routledge.
  • Knighton, Henry (1995). Martin, G.H. (ed.). Knighton's Chronicle, 1337-1396. Clarendon Press.
  • Luxford, Julian M. (2008). "The Collegiate Church as Mausoleum". In Burgess, Clive; Heale, Martin (eds.). The Late Medieval English College and Its Context. York Medieval Press.
  • Mortimer, Ian (2007). The Fears of Henry IV. Random.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families. Genealogical Publishing Company.
  • Staley, Lynn (2006). Languages of Power in the Age of Richard II. The Pennsylvania State University Press.
  • Ward, Jennifer C., ed. (1995). Women of the English Nobility and Gentry, 1066–1500. Manchester University Press.
  • Ward, Jennifer (2006). Women in England in the Middle Ages. Hambledon Continuum.

External linksEdit