July 12 1389 Geoffrey Chaucer named chief clerk by Richard II

Craig Hill Training Services

On July 12th 1389, King Richard II appointed Geoffrey Chaucer to the position of chief clerk of the king’s works in Westminster.

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London sometime around 1343, the middle-class son of a wine merchant. He served as a page in an aristocratic household during his teens and was associated with the aristocracy for the rest of his life.

In 1359, he fought in France with Edward III, and was captured in a siege. Edward III ransomed him, and he later worked for Edward III and John of Gaunt. One of his earliest known works was an elegy for the deceased wife of John of Gaunt, Book of the Duchesse.

Around 1366, Chaucer married Philippa (de) Roet. She was a lady-in-waiting to Edward III’s queen, Philippa of Hainault, and a sister of Katherine Swynford, who later became the third wife of…

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