Henry Beaufort

c.1375-1447. Bishop of Winchester and cardinal. Born at Beaufort, Anjou, France, the illegitimate son of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford, he received rapid ecclesiastical preferment, and became bishop of Lincoln in 1398, and of Winchester in 1404. Under Henry V he became chancellor, and loans from his large fortune financed Henry's military expeditions. At the Council of Constance* in 1417 he was largely responsible for the election of Martin V as pope, but was prevented by the king from accepting the pope's offer of a cardinal's hat. As a guardian of the infant Henry VI and as chancellor, Beaufort virtually ruled the realm, but over the next twenty years he was involved in continual conflict with the duke of Gloucester. He became cardinal in 1426.