Beaumont, William, Lord Beaumont

(1438–1507)
   A staunch adherent of the house of LANCASTER, William Beaumont, Lord Beaumont, continued to resist Yorkist rule even after the destruction of the Lancastrian male line in 1471.
   After his father John Beaumont, Lord Beaumont, died fighting for HENRY VI at the Battle of NORTHAMPTON in July 1460, William Beaumont was courted by the Yorkist regime and allowed to take possession of his family estates. However, he maintained his father’s Lancastrian allegiance and in March 1461 fought against EDWARD IV at the Battle of TOWTON, where he was taken prisoner. In November, when Edward’s first PARBEAUMONT, Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII, transmitted to her son the Beaufort family’s claim to the Crown. (National Portrait Gallery: NPG 551) LIAMENT included Beaumont in a bill of ATTAINDER, the king pardoned him, but granted the Beaumont estates to William HASTINGS, Lord Hastings, and to John NEVILLE, Lord Montagu, both loyal Yorkists. Beaumont did not regain his lands until November 1470, when they were restored to him by the READEPTION government of Henry VI, whose leader, the former Yorkist Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, was desirous of winning the support of all former Lancastrians.
   Beaumont fought with Warwick at the Battle of BARNET in April 1471, escaping after that defeat into SCOTLAND with John de VERE, earl of Oxford. Although the death of Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER at the Battle of TEWKESBURY on 4 May 1471 and the murder of his father, Henry VI, in the TOWER OF LONDON (see Henry VI, Murder of) some weeks later seemed to end forever all hopes of a Lancastrian restoration, Beaumont and Oxford remained implacably hostile to the house of YORK. In September 1473, they seized the small fortress on the island of St. Michael’s Mount off the Cornish coast. Unable to do any real damage, Beaumont and Oxford were nonetheless sore irritants to a Yorkist government seeking to finally secure its hold on power. After a lengthy siege, the two lords surrendered in February 1474, and Beaumont remained in prison until after the fall of the house of York in 1485, when the new king, HENRY VII of the house of TUDOR, released him and restored him to his lands and titles. In 1487, Beaumont suffered a mental breakdown that rendered him incapable of caring for himself and his property. Custody of Beaumont’s estates was transferred to Oxford, who, in 1495, also received custody of Beaumont’s person. Beaumont spent the rest of his life as Oxford’s guest, dying at the earl’s house in Essex in December 1507.
   Further Reading: Gillingham, John, The Wars of the Roses (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981); Ross, Charles, Edward IV (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1998).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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