Today in the Middle Ages: July 9, 1386

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, ancestor of English kings, sailed for Spain on July 9, 1386.

Gaunt had claims in Castile and also may have been serving the interests of Richard II of England. He ended by transferring his Spanish claims to his daughter and marrying her to a Spanish prince. He returned to England in 1389 and resolved some of the conflicts created by Richard II's poor administration.

In addition to his vast influence on the Lancaster and Tudor dynasties, Gaunt is also remembered as the protector of heretic John Wyclif and the patron of Chaucer. It is less well known that he had a lifelong mistress who, after twenty years of loyalty, became his third wife.