John de Beauchamp (c.1319 - c.1388)

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Death: Died
Cause of death: Executed, beheaded, for treason
Managed by: Steven McRorie
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About John de Beauchamp

Sir John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp of Kidderminster (died 1388) was an administrator and landowner. He came from Holt, Worcestershire, and belonged to a cadet branch of the great family of Beauchamp, whose head was the Earl of Warwick. He was the son of another John (born 1319), whom he succeeded in the 1360s. A favourite of the ailing King Edward III, in the years 1370 to 1375 he received several grants of offices, including the constableship of Bridgnorth Castle. He was elected for Worcestershire to Edward III's last parliament (January 1377) and Richard II's first (October 1377).

Richard II regarded him warmly, and acted as godfather to his son. Retained in the household, Beauchamp soon received substantial further patronage, and by 1384 he had been made Receiver of the Chamber and Keeper of the King's Jewels. He took the order of knighthood on Richard II's entry into Scotland in 1385. That December he was granted for life the office of Justiciar of North Wales, to which was added in August 1386 a charter of liberties within his recently purchased estate at Kidderminster. Even though the Commons demanded in October that a new Steward of the Household be appointed only in parliament, Richard II refused to comply, and in January 1387 he promoted Beauchamp to the stewardship. Even more provocative was Sir John's creation on 10 October following as ‘Lord of Beauchamp and Baron of Kidderminster’, a new dignity to be maintained from the estates of Deerhurst Priory. This was the first creation of a peerage by letters patent.

Beauchamp's rapid rise from esquire to baron could not be borne by the Lords Appellant, who included his kinsman, Thomas Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick. The latter probably saw the rise of his cousin as a threat to his dominance of the midlands.[1] Arrested and imprisoned along with three other household knights, Lord Beauchamp[2] was impeached in the Merciless Parliament in 1388 and condemned by the lords for treason. He was beheaded on Tower Hill and buried in Worcester Cathedral. Fortunately for his heir, John Beauchamp, 2nd Baron Beauchamp of Kidderminster, then aged eleven, he had entailed certain of his manors, so these were exempt from forfeiture.[3]

Notes

  1. Saul 179
  2. Although the Lords Appellant disregarded his peerage and addressed him simply as a knight (Ross 564).
  3. Ross 563-564
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