Beaufort Family

   A branch of the house of LANCASTER, the Beaufort family transmitted the Lancastrian claim to the Crown to the house of TUDOR. The family sprang from the 1396 marriage of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster (1340– 1399), to his longtime mistress Katherine Swynford (d. 1403). Gaunt was the third son of Edward III (r. 1327–1377) and the uncle of Richard II (r. 1377–1399). Although Gaunt’s four children by Swynford were all adults when their parents married, Richard II legitimized them in 1397 under the name Beaufort, which was drawn from the French castle in which they were born. The Beauforts were thus half siblings of Henry IV (r. 1399–1413), Gaunt’s eldest son by his first marriage,who became the first king of the house of Lancaster in 1399 when he usurped the throne of his childless cousin Richard (see Richard II, Deposition of). Although Henry confirmed the Beauforts’ legitimation in 1407, he added a proviso barring the family from the succession. The Beauforts prospered under Lancastrian rule. One of Gaunt’s sons, Henry Beaufort, cardinal-bishop of Winchester (c.1376–1447), was chancellor under both Henry IV and Henry V (r. 1413–1422), and a prominent member of the minority COUNCIL of HENRY VI. In the 1420s, Beaufort served as chancellor again and fell frequently at odds with the nominal leader of Henry VI’s council, Humphrey, duke of Gloucester (1390–1447), the king’s uncle. During the royal minority, the hostility between the two men was mainly personal, but in the 1440s they began to disagree over French policy, with Beaufort advocating peace and Gloucester preferring more vigorous prosecution of the war (see Hundred Years War). By his death in 1447, Beaufort, who held one of the wealthiest bishoprics in England, had lent the Crown over £200,000.
   During the WARS OF THE ROSES, the Beauforts were represented by the cardinal’s nephew, Edmund BEAUFORT, second duke of Somerset; by Somerset’s two sons, Henry and Edmund (see both under BEAUFORT); and by their cousin, Margaret BEAUFORT, daughter of John Beaufort (1404–1444), first duke of Somerset. The rivalry between Edmund, the second duke, and Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, was a major cause of the civil wars. Edmund was killed at the Battle of ST. ALBANS in 1455. Henry, the third duke, commanded the Lancastrian army at the Battle of TOWTON in 1461 and was executed by EDWARD IV in 1464. Edmund, considered the fourth duke by the Lancastrians, commanded the Lancastrian army at the Battle of TEWKESBURY in 1471. His execution after the battle ended the direct male line of Beaufort only weeks before the murder of Henry VI ended the direct male line of Lancaster (see HENRY VI, MURDER OF). The Lancastrian claim therefore devolved on Margaret Beaufort, who in 1455 had married Edmund TUDOR, earl of Richmond, half brother of Henry VI. Margaret transmitted the claim to her only child, Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, who in 1485 overthrew RICHARD III and the house of YORK at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD. Thanks to the Beaufort blood inherited from his mother, Richmond became HENRY VII, first king of the house of Tudor.
   Further Reading: Griffiths, Ralph A., and Roger S. Thomas, The Making of the Tudor Dynasty (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985); Harriss, G. L., Cardinal Beaufort (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988); Jones, Michael K., and Malcolm G. Underwood, The King’s Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Simon, Linda, Of Virtue Rare: Margaret Beaufort, Matriarch of the House of Tudor (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1982).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beaufort Family — ▪ English family       English family comprising the descendants of Edward III s son John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, by his liaison with Catherine Swynford; the name derived from a lordship that Gaunt had held in France, the modern Montmorency… …   Universalium

  • Beaufort (surname) — Beaufort is the name of a noble family of 14th and 15th century England, descended from John of Gaunt. For a list of individual Beauforts, see Beaufort family.Beaufort is also the surname of: * Carel Godin de Beaufort, Porsche Formula 1 Driver… …   Wikipedia

  • Beaufort, Edmund, Duke of Somerset —    1) (c. 1406–1455)    Through his quarrel with Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, Edmund Beaufort, second duke of Somerset, helped initiate the political conflicts that eventually escalated into the WARS OF THE ROSES.    Edmund Beaufort was a… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Beaufort, Margaret, Countess of Richmond and Derby — (1443–1509)    After RICHARD III’s usurpation of the Crown revived dynastic strife in the mid 1480s, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, worked secretly to ensure that her son, Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, made good the BEAUFORT FAMILY’s… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Beaufort, Henry, Duke of Somerset — (1436–1464)    The son and heir of Edmund BEAUFORT, second duke of Somerset, Henry Beaufort, third duke of Somerset, was one of the chief military leaders of the Lancastrian cause during the first phase (1459–1461) of the WARS OF THE ROSES.    In …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Beaufort's Naked-backed Fruit Bat — Conservation status Least Concern (IUCN 3.1) Scientific classification …   Wikipedia

  • Beaufort, South Carolina — Infobox Settlement official name = Beaufort, South Carolina settlement type = City nickname = motto = imagesize = image caption = image mapsize = 250px map caption = Location of Beaufort, South Carolina mapsize1 = map caption1 = subdivision type …   Wikipedia

  • Beaufort County, South Carolina — Infobox U.S. County county = Beaufort County state = South Carolina map size = 225 founded = 1769 seat = Beaufort | area total sq mi =923 area land sq mi =587 area water sq mi =336 area percentage = 36.41% census yr = 2000 pop = 120937 (137,849… …   Wikipedia

  • Beaufort, North Carolina — Infobox Settlement official name = Beaufort, North Carolina settlement type = Town nickname = motto = imagesize = image caption = image mapsize = 250x200px map caption = Location of Beaufort, North Carolina mapsize1 = map caption1 = subdivision… …   Wikipedia

  • Beaufort County, North Carolina — Infobox U.S. County county = Beaufort County state = North Carolina map size = 250 founded = 1712 seat = Washington | area total sq mi =959 area water sq mi =131 area percentage = 13.64% census yr = 2000 pop = 44958 density km2 =21 web =… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.