|Earl of Kent|
The Earl of Kent
|Died||26 December 1360 (aged around 46)|
|Spouse(s)||Joan of Kent|
|Father||Robert de Holland, 1st Baron Holand|
|Mother||Maud la Zouche|
He was from a gentry family in Upholland, Lancashire. He was a son of Robert de Holland, 1st Baron Holand and Maud la Zouche. One of his brothers was Otho Holand, who was also made a Knight of the Garter.
In his early military career, he fought in Flanders. He was engaged, in 1340, in the English expedition into Flanders and sent, two years later, with Sir John D'Artevelle to Bayonne, to defend the Gascon frontier against the French. In 1343, he was again on service in France. In 1346, he attended King Edward III into Normandy in the immediate retinue of the Earl of Warwick; and, at the taking of Caen, the Count of Eu and Guînes, Constable of France, and the Count De Tancarville surrendered themselves to him as prisoners. At the Battle of Crécy, he was one of the principal commanders in the vanguard under the Prince of Wales and he, afterwards, served at the Siege of Calais in 1346-7. In 1348, he was invested as one of the founders and 13th Knight of the new Order of the Garter.
Around the same time as, or before, his first expedition, he secretly married the 12-year-old Joan of Kent, daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent and Margaret Wake, granddaughter of Edward I and Margaret of France. However, during his absence on foreign service, Joan, under pressure from her family, contracted another marriage with William Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury (of whose household Holland had been seneschal). This second marriage was annulled in 1349, when Joan's previous marriage with Holland was proved to the satisfaction of the papal commissioners. Joan was ordered by the Pope to return to her husband and live with him as his lawful wife, which she did, and had 4 children by him.
Between 1353 and 1356, he was summoned to Parliament as Baron de Holland. His brother-in-law John, Earl of Kent, died in 1352, and Holland became Earl of Kent in right of his wife, although it was in 1360 that he was summoned to Parliament with that title.
In 1354, Holland was the king's lieutenant in Brittany during the minority of the Duke of Brittany, and in 1359 co-captain-general for all the English continental possessions.
Holland died fighting in Normandy on 28 December 1360. He was succeeded as baron by his son Thomas, the earldom still being held by his wife (though the son later became Earl in his own right). Another son, John became Earl of Huntingdon and Duke of Exeter.
Thomas and Joan of Kent had five children: