John Beaumont, 1st Viscount Beaumont

John Beaumont
Viscount Beaumont
Coat of Arms of Sir John Beaumont, 1st Viscount Beaumont, KG.png
Arms of Sir John Beaumont, 1st Viscount Beaumont, KG
Bornc. 1409
Died10 July 1460,
Northampton, England
Noble familyHouse of Beaumont
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Phelip
Katherine Strangways
FatherHenry, 5th Baron Beaumont
MotherElizabeth Willoughby of Eresby

John Beaumont, 1st Viscount Beaumont (c. 1409–1460), was an English nobleman and magnate from Folkingham, Lincolnshire. He was a councillor to King Henry VI and was rewarded for his services, becoming a leading member of the East Anglian nobility. Beaumont held numerous offices for the crown, and was promoted up the peerage to become the first man with the rank of viscount. He also amassed immense personal wealth, acquired through inheritance, marriage, and royal patronage.

Beaumont was present for some of the most notable events of Henry VI's reign. He was present at the arrest of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester in 1447, helped defend the king against Jack Cade's Rebellion in 1450, and helped suppress the rebellion of Richard, duke of York in 1452. While York and his allies ended up fighting against the king, Beaumont remained loyal to the Lancastrian crown during the 1450s, which saw the beginning of the Wars of the Roses. His personal loyalty to Henry VI eventually cost him his life – he was killed, bodyguarding the king, at the battle of Northampton in 1460. Beaumont's son, William Beaumont, continued the struggle against the Yorkists.

Early life

Born at Folkingham Castle, the eldest son of Henry Beaumont, 5th Baron Beaumont,[1] and orphaned by the age of four,[2] Beaumont became Henry V's ward, who quickly put him in the custody of Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester.[1] On 24 July 1425 his marriage rights were granted by the council to Sir John Radcliffe as part-payment for debts owed him by the crown.[3] He was first summoned to parliament as Lord Beaumont in 1431,[2] and at some point between 1425 and 1436 he married Elizabeth Phelip. She was the daughter and heiress of Sir William Phelip, a knight of the Garter who was recognised as sixth Lord Bardolf.[2] On his death in 1441, his large East Anglian estates went to his daughter, and so to Viscount Beaumont.[2] This made him a leading figure in the region.[1] Combined with his own inheritance in Leicestershire, he was a figure worthy of the association of William de la Pole, earl of Suffolk (died 1450) and from there entered the household of King Henry VI.[4] In 1429 Beaumont was knighted by the seven-year old king on the eve of his coronation[5] and was in France with Henry the following year.[6] Dr. John Watts has suggested that, as a royal ward, he may have been brought up in the king's household as a young man, and that his later generous treatment was a consequence of this. Watts noted that a council act of 1425 brought wards of his status 'permanently about the king.'[1]

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