William Beaumont, 2nd Viscount Beaumont
Sir William de Beaumont, 2nd Viscount Beaumont (April 1438 – 19 December 1507) was the son of Sir John de Beaumont, 1st Viscount Beaumont and Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Phelip. He was born at Edenham, Lincolnshire. Although his exact date of birth is not recorded, parish records show the date of his baptism as 23 April 1438.
Wars of the Roses
Sir William led an uneventful life until the feud between the houses of York and Lancaster broke into open bloodshed. While he always claimed in life "...to let each man place his feet in the soil as the good lord intended..."[this quote needs a citation], he ultimately sided with the Lancastrians.
Battles and land issues
He fought in several of the major battles of the Wars of the Roses. He was probably knighted before the Battle of Northampton where his father was killed. He fought at the Battle of Towton, the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil, but was taken prisoner and attainted along with other prominent Lancastrian lords. Beaumont obtained a general pardon two days before Christmas but all his lands were declared forfeit and granted to Lord Hastings. This action erected a permanent barrier to any reconciliation with King Edward.
After the restoration of Henry VI in November 1470, King Henry revoked the bill of attainder and restored Sir William's lands and titles. However, the following April, he opposed Edward's landing at Ravenspur and joined forces with the Duke of Exeter but they were too weak and were forced to stand aside at Newark and allow Edward to march south to London.
During the period 1471 through 1474, he was continually at war, holding (amongst other bastions), St Michael's Mount along with John De Vere, Earl of Oxford, for the Lancastrians in 1473. However, misfortune continued to dog Sir William and in 1474 he was taken prisoner and imprisoned at Hammes. Released by Sir James Blount he landed at Milford Haven with Henry Tudor and fought against Richard at the Battle of Bosworth Field (23 August 1485).
Sir William's lands and titles were restored (for the second time), by act of Parliament on 7 November 1485.
The strain of the war years seems to have left untold psychological scars for Sir William and between 1487 and 1495 he was variously unfit and most often reliant upon the care of his friend and former comrade at arms John De Vere.
Beaumont was reported insane in 1487 and died on 19 December 1507, aged 69, at Oxford's home at Wivenhoe where he is buried. His widow later married Oxford.
The Beaumonts were one of only seven great families who remained irreconcilably anti-Yorkist throughout the Wars of the Roses.
Beaumont married firstly on 6 August 1462, Joan daughter of Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham. This marriage was set aside before 1477. He married secondly Elizabeth Scrope, daughter and coheir of Sir Richard Scrope, the second son of Henry Scrope, 4th Baron Scrope of Bolton, by Eleanor, the daughter of Norman Washbourne.
At least one child was born to his mistress Jayne Stephens circa 1459, by the name of John Francis Beaumont. Whilst Sir William never recognised the child as his heir, he did provide for the child's education and welfare.
Upon the death of Sir William, the Viscountcy of Beaumont became extinct in both England and France and due to discord and fighting between his great nephews, the title fell into abeyance.
- Cokayne 1945, p. 243.
- Cokayne, George Edward (1945). The Complete Peerage, edited by H.A. Doubleday X. London: St. Catherine Press. pp. 239–244.
- The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, UK: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 62-63.