Sir John Beaumont, 1st Baronet

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For other people named John Beaumont, see John Beaumont (disambiguation).
John Beaumont, 1st Baronet Beaumont
Born c. 1582
Thringstone, Leicestershire
Died c. 1627 (aged c. 45)
Nationality English
Occupation poet
Notable work(s) Bosworth Field

Sir John Beaumont, 1st Baronet (1583 – 19 April 1627 or c. 1582 – c. April 1627) was an English poet.

He was born at Grace Dieu Manor, Thringstone in Leicestershire, the second son of the judge, Sir Francis Beaumont and Anne Pierrepont.

The deaths of his father (in 1598) and of his elder brother, Sir Henry Beaumont (in 1605), made the poet the head of this brilliant family: the dramatist, Francis Beaumont, was his younger brother. John went to University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire on 4 February 1596/1597, and entered as a gentleman commoner matriculated in Broadgates Hall, later Pembroke College. He was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1598 or 1600, but when his brother Henry died he is thought to have returned to Grace-Dieu to manage the family estates.[1][2]

He began to write verse early, and in 1602, at the age of nineteen, he published anonymously his Metamorphosis of Tabacco, written in very smooth couplets, in which he addressed Michael Drayton as his loving friend. He lived in Leicestershire for many years as a bachelor, before eventually marrying Elizabeth Fortescue (died aft. 16 April 1652), daughter of John Fortescue and paternal granddaughter of one of the only two married daughters of Sir Geoffrey Pole and Constance Pakenham. The family were Roman Catholics. Beaumont and his wife were fined for recusancy in 1607, and in 1625 he was again in trouble on that score.[3]

They had four sons, the eldest of whom, another John, was considered one of the most athletic men of his time. The younger John Beaumont edited his father's posthumous poems, and wrote an enthusiastic elegy on him, but was killed in 1643 at the Siege of Gloucester. Another of Beaumont's sons, Gervaise, died in childhood, and the circumstances of his death are recorded in one of his father's most touching poems. Beaumont's major work is a poem in twelve books, entitled The Crown of Thornes, which was greatly admired in manuscript by the Earl of Southampton and others. Though lost for centuries, scholars have established that a long poem in twelve books contained in a British Library manuscript was indeed Beaumont's lost major work.

After long retirement, Beaumont was persuaded by the Duke of Buckingham to return to society; he attended court and on 31 January 1626/1627 was made the 1st Baronet Beaumont, of Gracedieu, in Belton, County Leicester, in the Baronetage of England. Shortly afterwards, he died intestate and his estate was administered on 3 January 1628/1629, and was buried on 19 April 1627 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London. His son, John, succeeded him as baronet.

The new Sir John, the strong man, published in 1629 a volume entitled Bosworth Field; with a taste of the variety of other Poems left by Sir John Beaumont. No more tastes were ever vouchsafed, so Beaumont's reputation rests on this the juvenile Metamorphosis of Tobacco. Beaumont's favoured medium was the heroic couplet. Bosworth Field, the scene of the battle described in Beaumont's principal poem, lay close to the poet's house of Grace-Dieu. He always wrote with a remarkable smoothness, which marks him, with Edmund Waller and George Sandys, as one of the pioneers of the classic reformation of English verse.

The poems of Sir John Beaumont were included in Alexander Chalmers's English Poets, vol. vi (1810). An edition, with memorial introduction and notes, was included (1869) in Dr AB Grosart's Fuller Worthies Library; and the Metamorphosis of Tobacco was included in JP Collier's Illustrations of Early English Popular Literature, vol. i. (1863).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 228.
  2. ^ George Edward Cokayne, editor, The Complete Baronetage, 5 volumes (no date (c. 1900); reprint, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 1983), volume II, p. 5.
  3. ^ Skillington, Florence (4 October 1971). "Sir John Beaumont of Gracedieu"
Baronetage of England
Preceded by
New creation
Baronet
(of Grace Dieu)
1627
Succeeded by
John Beaumont