17 October, 2017

John, Lord Beaumont (1317-1342)

John Beaumont was an English nobleman of partly French, partly Scottish origin, who married into the great Lancastrian dynasty. Here's a post about him.

According to the evidence of his father's Inquisition Post Mortem in 1340, John Beaumont was born on or around Christmas Day 1317. He was the first son, though almost certainly not the first child, of Henry, Lord Beaumont, a French and partly-Spanish nobleman who was Edward II's second cousin, and Alice Comyn. Alice was one of the two nieces and co-heirs of John Comyn (d. 1308), earl of Buchan in Scotland, whose wife Isabel MacDuff crowned Robert Bruce as king of Scotland in 1306. Comyn himself was a great enemy of Bruce, and after his defeat to the latter at the battle of Inverurie in 1308 fled to England and died there shortly afterwards. Edward II arranged Alice Comyn's marriage to his kinsman Henry Beaumont in or a little before 1310, and Beaumont thereafter called himself earl of Buchan, though never held the lands. Alice was much her husband's junior, probably born in the late 1290s; Henry's date of birth is not known but was probably sometime in the 1270s or 1280, and his parents had married as early as 1253. He and his siblings Louis, elected bishop of Durham in 1317, and Isabella, Lady Vescy, spent most of their lives in England. They were the children of Agnes, viscountess of Beaumont - they used their mother's name - and Louis Brienne, also known as Louis of Acre, one of the sons of John Brienne, Latin emperor of Constantinople and king of Jerusalem. Louis Brienne's mother, the grandmother of Henry, Louis and Isabella Beaumont and their siblings was John Brienne's third wife Berenguela of Leon, sister of Edward II's grandfather King Fernando III of Castile and Leon.

John Beaumont's sisters, the daughters of Henry Beaumont and Alice Comyn, included Katherine, probably the eldest Beaumont child, who married David Strathbogie, earl of Atholl in or soon after January 1327, and Isabella, who married Henry of Grosmont, later the first duke of Lancaster, in or before June 1330. Isabella Beaumont was the mother of John of Gaunt's first wife Blanche of Lancaster, and was the grandmother of King Henry IV of England and Philippa of Lancaster, queen of Portugal. John Beaumont himself married Henry of Grosmont's sister Eleanor of Lancaster, fifth of the six daughters of Edward II's first cousin Henry, earl of Lancaster (d. 1345). The young couple wed sometime between September and November 1330, at Henry's castle of Kenilworth in Warwickshire; John was not yet thirteen at the time, and Eleanor was almost his own age, probably twelve or thirteen. His sister Isabella and her brother Henry of Grosmont had married some months before. The Beaumonts' mother Alice née Comyn may have attended her children's weddings, but their father Henry Beaumont could not: in 1330 he was in exile on the continent, plotting an invasion of England to bring down the queen mother Isabella of France and her ally Roger Mortimer, now the first earl of March. Henry Beaumont had, like his long-term ally and friend Henry of Lancaster, supported the invasion of 1326, but soon grew sick of Isabella and Roger's greed and illegitimate power. After Edward III overthrew the pair in October 1330, he recalled Henry Beaumont and the dowager queen's other enemies on the continent back to England. Beaumont died in March 1340, weeks before the birth of his granddaughter Maud of Lancaster (elder surviving daughter of Henry of Grosmont and Isabella Beaumont, and sister-in-law of John of Gaunt).

When John Beaumont and Eleanor of Lancaster consummated their marriage cannot be known, but their only child was born in late 1339 or thereabouts, nine years after their wedding. This was Henry Beaumont, named after both his grandfathers, and his birth brought about a change in English law. Edward III was extremely fond of Eleanor and John - they were his second cousin and third cousin respectively - and invited them to accompany him and Queen Philippa on their long sojourn on the continent between July 1338 and February 1340. Henry Beaumont the younger was born in the duchy of Brabant while Eleanor was attending the queen. In case their son's birth outside England and outside the lands ruled by the king of England caused the boy legal problems in the future – as in fact it did – Edward III announced in December 1340 that "the king’s kinsfolk John de Bello Monte [Beaumont] and Eleanor de Lancastre" had accompanied him and the queen overseas at his command and had intended to return to England for the birth of their child, but Edward and Philippa persuaded them to stay with them because their company was "very desirable." [1] Despite Edward III's statement, when John Beaumont's mother Alice Comyn died in July 1349 (John was already dead by then), her heir was returned as John's younger brother Thomas rather than John's son Henry, because John had died "without an heir of his body born within the realm of England or the allegiance of the king of England." [2] The parliament of February 1351, however, declared that Henry Beaumont and all other Englishmen "born beyond the sea" should have the full right to their inheritances, and Henry duly inherited his father and grandmother's lands when he came of age. [3]

According to the royal clerk and chronicler Adam Murimuth, John Beaumont was killed at a jousting tournament in Northampton on 14 April 1342. [4] He was only twenty-four, and had been Lord Beaumont for barely two years. However, there is an entry on the Patent Roll dated 10 May 1342, which gave John Beaumont royal permission to grant three of his own manors to himself and his wife Eleanor of Lancaster jointly. Either this permission was only recorded by royal clerks a few weeks after John was already dead, or the date of his death given by Murimuth is wrong. [5] John was certainly dead by 26 June 1342, however, when his Inquisition Post Mortem was ordered (unfortunately, the IPM does not give the date of his death). His lands were taken into the king's hand on 1 July, and an entry on the Close Roll of 10 August calls Eleanor of Lancaster "late his wife." [6] In early 1345 she married her second husband, Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, who had previously been married to her first cousin Isabella Despenser, eldest daughter of Hugh Despenser the Younger and a great-niece of Edward II. Richard and Isabella's marriage was annulled in December 1344 mere weeks before he married Eleanor. Eleanor and Richard had five children: Richard, earl of Arundel, executed by Richard II in 1397; Joan, countess of Hereford, grandmother of Henry V; Alice, countess of Kent; John, admiral; and Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury. The Arundel children were the younger half-siblings of John Beaumont's son Henry, born in c. late 1339. Henry Beaumont died in 1369, before his mother, but the Beaumont line continued: Henry had a son John, who had a son Henry, who had a son John, and so on and on in perpetuity. (Well, almost.)


1) CPR 1340-3, pp. 72-3.
2) CIPM 1347-52, no. 415.
3) CPR 1350-4, p. 63.
4) Murimuth, ed. Thompson, p. 142.
5) CPR 1340-3, p. 428.
6) CIPM 1336-46, no. 381; CFR 1337-47, pp. 288, 386; CCR 1341-3, p. 578; CPR 1340-3, p. 506.


Anonymous said...

Great article! Pity they had such a lack of originality in choosing names!


sami parkkonen said...

This makes my head spin. Henry, John, cousin, mother, brother... I can not imagine how an earth you can keep all this info in order! Once again: stunning amount of facts in such a short post.