Henry de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Warwick

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Henry de Beaumont, (alias de Newburgh), 1st Earl of Warwick (died 20 June 1119) was a Norman nobleman who rose to great prominence in England.

Origins[edit]

Henry was a younger son of Roger de Beaumont by Adeline of Meulan, daughter of Waleran I, Count of Meulan.

Granted lordship of Le Neubourg[edit]

He was given by his father the modest lordship of Le Neubourg, in central Normandy, 12 km NE of his father's caput of Beaumont-le-Roger on the River Risle. From this lordship he adopted for himself and his descendants the surname Anglicised to "de Newburgh", frequently Latinised to de Novo Burgo (meaning "from the new borough/town").

Career[edit]

Henry was said by Orderic Vitalis, the Norman monk historian, to have been with the Conqueror on his 1068 campaign in the Midlands, when he was supposedly given charge of Warwick Castle, but there is no supporting evidence for this late source. Little is in fact known of his career before 1088. However he took a leading role in reconciling the Conqueror with his eldest son Robert Curthose in 1081 and he stood high in the Conqueror's favour. In 1088 he was a royal agent in the arrest and trial of the traitorous bishop of Durham William de Saint-Calais.

Created 1st Earl of Warwick[edit]

In due course he acquired a much greater land-holding in England, when, in reward for help in suppressing the Rebellion of 1088, King William II made him Earl of Warwick in 1088. The lands of the earldom were put together from several sources. The bulk was provided by the majority of the lands in Warwickshire and elsewhere recorded as those of his elder brother Robert, Count of Meulan in the Domesday Survey of 1086. He also received large royal estates in Rutland and the royal forest of Sutton, which became Sutton Chase. The complicated arrangement to endow his earldom is unprecedented, and must have been the result of a three way arrangement between his father, his brother and the king.

Supporter of Henry I[edit]

Henry became the companion and friend of William II's successor King Henry I, and when in 1100 a division took place amongst the barons who had gathered together in the aftermath of the king's sudden death to choose a successor to William II, it was mainly owing to his advice that Henry was selected and when in the following year most of the barons were openly or secretly disloyal and favoured the attempt of Duke Robert to gain the Crown, he and his brother were amongst the few that remained faithful to the King.

Acquires lordship of Gower[edit]

He acquired the lordship of Gower in Wales around 1107 from the favour of King Henry and built a castle at Swansea, which was unsuccessfully attacked by the Welsh in 1113; he also captured the Gower Peninsula in south west Glamorgan. He or his barons built other castles at Penrhys, Llanrhidian and Swansea in 1120, together with the others at Oystermouth and Loughor, the only remains of the latter are a mound and a keep.[1][2][2]

Marriage & progeny[edit]

He married before 1100 Margaret, daughter of Geoffrey II of Perche and Beatrix of Montdidier, and had the following children:

  1. Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick (c.1102-1153), who succeeded him as Earl of Warwick.
  2. Robert de Neubourg (d.1159), who inherited Henry's Norman lands and was Steward of Normandy.
  3. Rotrou (died 27 November 1183), who was Bishop of Évreux subsequently Archbishop of Rouen, and Chief Justiciar and Steward of Normandy.
  4. Geoffrey de Neubourg. He moved to England at the end of 1137 and resided thereafter with his eldest brother Earl Roger of Warwick. He made a number of appearances in Earl Roger's charters as "Geoffrey the earl's brother." When Roger died in 1153 and was succeeded by his son, Earl William, "Geoffrey the earl's uncle" continued to live in the Warwick household. He appears as a ducal justice in Normandy in his later years. See Haskins Society Journal 13 (2004): 50.
  5. Henry de Neubourg, otherwise known as "Henry of Gower", who re-conquered the family's Welsh estates in around 1136, holding the lordship of Gower throughout the reign of King Stephen.

Death & burial[edit]

He entered the abbey of St Peter of Les Preaux before his death and died as a monk there on 20 June 1119. An eighteenth-century woodcut of his tomb in the chapter house, with those of his brother and father beside him, survives, though the abbey is long ruined.

Sources[edit]

See also[edit]

Ivo de Grandmesnil

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Swansea Castle; New Castle, Swansea - Site Details - Coflein". The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales website. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  2. ^ a b "Loughor Castle - Site Details - Coflein". The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales website. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 


Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Warwick
1st creation
1088–1119
Succeeded by
Roger de Beaumont