Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester

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Henry "Cardinal" Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of England

Also Known As: "3rd Duke of Somerset"
Birthplace: Château de Beaufort, Anjou, France
Death: April 11, 1447 (67-76)
Wolvesey Palace, Winchester, Hampshire, England
Place of Burial: Winchester, Hampshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, 1st Earl of Richmond and Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster
Partner of Lady Alice FitzAlan, Baroness Cherleton
Father of Joan Stradling and Joan Stradling
Brother of Thomas Beaufort, 1st Duke of Exeter; Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland; John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset and Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of England
Half brother of Blanche Swynford; Dorothy Thimelby (Swynford); Sir Thomas Swynford; Blanche fitzJohn; Filipa de Lencastre, rainha consorte de Portugal and 8 others

Occupation: Cardinal, Bishop, Cardinal of Winchester, Cardinal/polititian, Bishop of Lincoln and Winchester
Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:

About Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester

From Medlands:

HENRY Beaufort (-Wolvesey Palace, Winchester 11 Apr 1447, bur Winchester Cathedral). A late 15th century/early 16th century manuscript records that “post mortem Constancie secunde uxoris”, “Johannes Gaunt” married “dominam Katerinam de Swynfurth” by whom “in diebus domine Blanchie prime uxoris sue” he had “Johannem Bowfurth comitem Somersissie, Johannam Bowfurth comitissam Westmorelandie, Henricum Bowfurth presbiterum cardinalem et episcopum Wyntonyensem...Thomam Bowforth ducem Exoniensem vel Exeter” who were legitimated by the Pope and called “Bowfurthes aut Faerborne”[1063]. Dean of Wells Cathedral, Somerset 1397. Bishop of Lincoln. The will of "John son of the King of England, Duke of Lancaster", dated 3 Feb 1397, chose burial “in the cathedral church of St Paul, of London...beside my...late wife Blanch”, bequeathed property to “Dame Katherine del the Duke of Henry Duke of Hereford, Earl of Philippa Queen of Katherine Queen of Castile and Elizabeth Duchess of John Beaufort Marquis of the Bishop of Thomas their sister Countess of Westmoreland and Lady of John brother to...Henry...Mons. Thomas Swyneford...Mons Walter Blount...”[1064]. He launched a crusade against the "heretic" Bohemians Jun 1429. Bishop of Winchester 19 Nov 1404. The will of "John Beaufort late Earl of Somerset, Chamberlain of England and Captain of Calais", dated 16 Mar 1409, proved 5 Apr 1410, bequeathed property to “Henry his brother...Bishop of Winchester” and appointed him and “Margaret his wife” as his executors[1065]. Nominated Cardinal-Priest of St Eusebius 24 May 1426. The will of "Henry commonly called Cardinal of England, Bishop of Winchester", dated 20 Jan 1446, chose burial “in my church of Winchester”, bequeathed property to “Johanna wife of Edward Stradlyng Knight...Hans Nulles...”[1066]. Under a second codicil dated 9 Apr 1447, proved 2 Sep 1447, "Henry Cardinal of England, and Bishop of Winchester" bequeathed property to “John Bastard of Somerset...William Swynford my nephew”[1067]. The Annales of William Wyrcester record the death 11 Apr 1447 of “Henricus Beauford cardinalis Angliæ”[1068].

[Mistress (1): ALICE FitzAlan, wife of JOHN Cherleton Lord Cherleton, daughter of RICHARD FitzAlan Earl of Arundel & his first wife Elizabeth de Bohun. She is said to have been the mother of Cardinal Beaufort´s supposed illegitimate daughter shown below[1069]. If this is correct, the chronology suggests that he would have been considerably younger than her.] [Thomas had one possible illegitimate daughter by Mistress (1):]

a) [JOAN (-after 20 Jan 1446). The will of "Henry commonly called Cardinal of England, Bishop of Winchester", dated 20 Jan 1446, chose burial “in my church of Winchester”, bequeathed property to “Johanna wife of Edward Stradlyng Knight...Hans Nulles...”[1070]. The prominent position of “Johanna” in this will suggests a close family relationship with the testator, maybe she was his illegitimate daughter. m EDWARD Stradling of St Donat´s, Glamorgan, son of --- (-after 20 Jan 1446).]


Henry Beaufort

Henry Beaufort (died 11 April 1447) was a medieval English clergyman, Bishop of Winchester,[1] a member of the royal house of Plantagenet,[2] and Cardinal.[1]

The second of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt and his mistress Katherine Swynford, Beaufort was born in Anjou, an English domain in France, and educated for a career in the Church. After his parents were married in early 1396, Henry, his two brothers and one sister were declared legitimate by the pope and legitimated by Act of Parliament on 9 February 1397, but they were barred from the succession to the throne;[3][4][5] this later proviso, that they were specifically barred from inheriting the throne, the exact phrase being excepta regali dignitate (English: the royal dignity excepted), was inserted with dubious authority by their half-brother Henry of Bolingbroke.[citation needed] On 27 February 1398 he was nominated Bishop of Lincoln and on 14 July 1398 he was consecrated.[6] When his half-brother deposed Richard and took the throne as Henry IV of England,[citation needed] he made Bishop Beaufort Lord Chancellor of England in 1403.[7] Beaufort resigned that position in 1404 when he was appointed Bishop of Winchester on 19 November.[8]

Between 1411 and 1413, Bishop Beaufort was in political disgrace for siding with his nephew, the Prince of Wales, against the King, but when King Henry IV died and the Prince became Henry V of England,[citation needed] he made his uncle Chancellor again in 1413; however, Beaufort resigned the position in 1417.[7] Pope Martin V offered the Bishop a Cardinal's hat, but King Henry V would not let him accept it. Henry V died in 1422, shortly after making himself heir to France by marrying Charles VI's daughter, and their infant son Henry VI of England. Bishop Beaufort and the child king's other uncles formed the Regency Government of England 1422-1437,[citation needed] and in 1424 Beaufort became Chancellor once more, but was forced to resign again in 1426 because of disputes with the King's other uncles.[7]

Part of Halsway Manor in Somerset was built by Beaufort as his hunting lodge.[9] He is traditionally held to have built the north aisle of the Church of St Mary at Stogumber "as penance for his lax life whilst at his Hunting lodge".[10]

Pope Martin V finally made him a Cardinal in 1426.[7] In 1427 Martin made Beaufort the Papal Legate for Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia, and directed him to lead the fourth "crusade" against the Hussites heretics in Bohemia. Beaufort's forces were routed by the Hussites at the Battle of Tachov on 4 August 1427.[11]

When the English captured Joan of Arc in 1431, Beaufort presided at her trial before she was burned at the stake.

Beaufort continued to be active in English politics for years, fighting with the other powerful advisors to the King .[citation needed] He died on 11 April 1447[8] and was laid to rest in a tomb in Winchester Cathedral. He suffered from delirium on his deathbed and, as he hallucinated, according to legend he offered Death the whole treasury of England in return for living a while longer.

When Henry was Bishop of Lincoln, he supposedly had an affair with Alice FitzAlan (1378–1415), the daughter of Richard FitzAlan and Elizabeth de Bohun; however, there is no evidence to support this allegation and the theory has been countered by Brad Verity.[12] Henry fathered an illegitimate daughter, Jane Beaufort, in 1402, who some make Alice's daughter. Both Jane and her husband, Sir Edward Stradling, were named in Cardinal Beaufort's will. Their marriage about 1423 brought Sir Edward into the political orbit of his shrewd and assertive father-in-law, to whom he may have owed his appointment as chamberlain of South Wales in December 1423, a position he held until March 1437.[13] The hypothesis of Jane's mother being Alice Fitzalan is possibly a legend subscribed to by the Tudor-era descendants of Sir Edward and Jane Stradling. There is no late-14th or early-15th century documentation to support this affair at all, and the surviving documentation entirely discounts it. However, a blood connection to Cardinal Beaufort would itself be prestigious, regardless of the mother or her marital status.



  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 04
  • Beaufort, Henry by William Hunt
  • BEAUFORT, HENRY (d. 1447), bishop of Winchester and cardinal, was the second and illegitimate son of John of Gaunt by Catherine, widow of Sir Hugh Swynford. His parents having been married in 1396, their children were the next year declared legitimate by Richard II, and the king's patent of legitimation was confirmed by parliament. In common with his brother John, earl of Somerset, and Thomas, duke of Exeter, Henry took his name from Beaufort Castle, in Anjou, the place of his birth. He is said to have studied at Oxford, but he spent the greater part of his youth at Aachen, where he read the civil and the canon law. He was made prebendary of Thame 1389, and of Sutton 1391, both in the diocese of Lincoln. He held the deanery of Wells in 1397, and, having been appointed bishop of Lincoln by papal provision, was consecrated 14 July 1398, after the death of John Bokyngham [see Bokyngham, John]. The next year he became chancellor of the university of Oxford. The election of his half-brother, Henry of Lancaster, to the throne, gave the Bishop of Lincoln a prominent place in the kingdom. Forming a kind of constitutional court party, he and his brother steadily upheld the Lancastrian dynasty, while at the same time they were opposed to the masterful policy of Archbishop Arundel [q. v.]. Bishop Beaufort was made chancellor in 1403, and in the same year was named as a member of the king's 'great and continual council.' On the death of William of Wykeham, in 1404, he was nominated to the bishopric of Winchester by papal provision, and in the spring of the next year received the spiritualities of the see. He resigned the chancellorship on his translation to Winchester. He is said to have been the tutor of the Prince of Wales. He certainly exercised considerable influence over him. While the king was in a great measure guided by Arundel, the prince attached himself to the younger and more popular party, of which the Bishop of Winchester was the head. In 1407 the archbishop, who was then chancellor, gained a triumph over the Beauforts; for when in that year the king exemplified and confirmed the patent of their legitimation granted by Richard, he inserted in it words ('excepta regali dignitate') which expressly excluded them from the succession. As, however, these words do not occur in the document confirmed by parliament in the preceding reign, they have no legal value, though probably this fact was not recognised at the time. The strength of Bishop Beaufort and the weakness of the archbishop alike lay in the parliament. Arundel felt himself unable to continue in office, and in 1410 Thomas Beaufort was made chancellor. As the new chancellor was not installed when the parliament met, his brother the bishop declared the cause of summons. Taking as the text of his discourse 'It becometh us to fulfil all righteousness,' he dwelt on the relations of England with France and Scotland, and on the duty of loyalty to the crown. Dr. Stubbs, who in his 'Constitutional History' (iii. c. 18) has given a masterly sketch of the career of Bishop Beaufort as an English politician, has pointed out the probability that during the administration of Thomas Beaufort the Prince of Wales ruled in the name of his father; for during this period the illness of Henry IV seems to have .... etc.
  • .... A few weeks later, on 11 April, the great cardinal died. The scene in which Shakespeare portrays (Second Part Hen. VI, act iii. sc. 3) 'the black despair' of his death has no historical basis. Hall records some words of complaint and repentance which, he says, Dr. John Baker, the cardinal's chaplain, told him that his master uttered on his death-bed. In spite, however, of this authority, there is good reason for doubting the truth of the story. A short account of the cardinal's last days has been given us by an eye-witness (Cont. Croyland). As he lay dying in the Wolvesey palace at Winchester, he had many men, monks and clergy and laymen, gathered in the great chamber where he was, and there he caused the funeral service and the requiem mass to be sung. During the last few days of his life he was busied with his will, and added the second of its two codicils on 9 April. In the evening before he died the will was read over to him before all who were in the chamber, and as it was read he made such corrections and additions as he thought needful. On the morning of the next day he confirmed it with an audible voice. Then he took leave of all, and so died. He was buried, according to his directions, in his cathedral church of Winchester. .... In his early years he was the lover of Lady Alice Fitzalan, daughter of Richard, Earl of Arundel, and by her had a daughter named Joan, who married Sir Edward Stradling, knight, of St. Donat's, in the county of Glamorgan. Beaufort was ambitious, haughty, and impetuous. Rich and heaping up riches, he has continually been charged with avarice. He certainly seems to have clung unduly to his office as trustee of the family estates of the house of Lancaster, which must have given him command of a considerable sum of money. Trading in money, he was not to blame if he took care that he should as far as possible be defended from loss, and if he loved it too well he at least made his country a gainer by his wealth. His speeches in parliament are marked by a constitutional desire to uphold the crown by the advice and support of the estates of the realm. He was unwearied in the business of the state and farsighted and patriotic in his counsels. Family relationships with foreign courts, as well as his position as cardinal, gave him a place in Europe such as was held by no other statesman, and made him the fittest representative of his country abroad. The events which followed his death are the best proofs of the wisdom of his policy and of his loyalty both to the crown and to the truest interests of England.
  • [Ordinances of the Privy Council, ii.-v. ed. Sir H. Nicolas; Rolls of Parliament, iii. iv.; Rymer's Fœdera, ix. x.; Gesta Henrici V. ed. Williams, Eng. Hist. Soc.; Thomas Otterbourne's Chron. ed. Hearne; Thomas do Elmham's Vita, &c. ed. Hearne; Letters illustrative of the Wars in France, ed. Stevenson, Rolls Ser.; Historical Collections of a Citizen of London, ed. Gairdner, Camden Soc.; Walsingham's Historia, John Amundesham's Annales, Chron. Monast. Sancti Albani, ed. Riley, Rolls Ser.; Hardyng's Chron.; Hall's Chron.; Cont. Croyland, Gale's Scriptores, i.; Raynaldus, Eccl. Annales; Æneas Sylvius, Historia Bohemica; Andrew of Ratisbon, Höfler, Geschichtschreiber der Hussitischen Bewegung, ii.; Duck's Life of H. Chichele, Abp. of Cant. 1699; Godwin de Præsulibus; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy; Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i.; Nichols's Royal Wills; Stubbs's Const. Hist. iii. c. 18; Excerpta Historica, ed. Bentley; Creighton's History of the Papacy during the Reformation]
  • From:,_Henry_(DNB00)
  • ________________________
  • Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Lincoln, Winchester, Cardinal St. Eubesius1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
  • M, #10738, b. circa 1374, d. 11 April 1447
  • Father Sir John 'of Gaunt' Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Lancaster, King of Castile and Leon, Earl of Derby, Lincoln, Leicester, & Richmond9,10,6,11,12 b. Mar 1340, d. 3 Feb 1399
  • Mother Katherine Roet9,10,6,11,12 b. 25 Nov 1340, d. 10 May 1403
  • Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Lincoln, Winchester, Cardinal St. Eubesius married Alice FitzAlan, daughter of Sir Richard FitzAlan, 11th Earl Arundel, 10th Earl of Surrey, Chief Butler of England, Admiral of the West and Elizabeth de Bohun, DID NOT MARRY; They had 1 illegitimate daughter (Joan/Jane, wife of Sir Edward Stradling).13,4,6,7,14 Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Lincoln, Winchester, Cardinal St. Eubesius was born circa 1374 at Chateau de Beaufort, Meuse, France.7,8 He left a will on 20 January 1446.6,7,8 He wrote a codicil on 7 April 1447.6,7,8 He wrote a codicil on 9 April 1447.6,7,8 He died on 11 April 1447 at Wolvesey Palace, Winchester, Hampshire, England; Buried in chantry chapel, Winchester Cathedral.3,6,7,8 His estate was probated on 11 September 1447.6,7,8
  • Family Alice FitzAlan b. c 1373, d. b 13 Oct 1415
  • Child
    • Joan Beaufort+3,6,7,8 b. c Jan 1392, d. 19 Oct 1479
  • Citations
  • [S2688] Unknown author, Plantagenet Ancestry of 17th Century Colonists, by David Faris, p. 15; Ancestral Roots of 60 Colonists, p. 190-1.
  • [S11569] Europaische Stammtafeln, by Wilhelm Karl, Prinz zu Isenburg, Vol. III, Tafel 157.
  • [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 77-78.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, p. 193.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, p. 541.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 114-115.
  • [S6] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 203-204.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 51-53.
  • [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 75-78.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, p. 534-536.
  • [S6] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 203.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 51.
  • [S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 322.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. II, p. 612.
  • From: _______________________
  • Henry de Beaufort1
  • M, #101972, b. circa 1375, d. 11 April 1447
  • Last Edited=29 Dec 2009
  • Henry de Beaufort was born circa 1375 at Château de Beaufort, Montmorency-Beaufort, Champagne, France.1,2,3 He was the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Katherine Roët. He died on 11 April 1447 at Wolvesey Palace, Winchester, Hampshire, England.1 He was buried at Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, Hampshire, England.1
  • He held the office of Dean of Wells Cathedral in 1397.1 In February 1397 Parliament legitimised his birth, even though he was born before his parent's marriage. He was provided to the See of Lincoln on 27 February 1398.1 He held the office of Bishop of Lincoln on 14 July 1398.1 He held the office of Bishop of Winchester on 19 November 1404.1 He held the office of Cardinal-Priest of St. Eusebius on 24 May 1426.1 He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.4
  • Child of Henry de Beaufort and Alice FitzAlan
    • Joan Beaufort+5 b. c 1402, d. c 1453
  • Citations
  • [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 107. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families.
  • [S1381] Cheryl Nicol, "re: Long Family," e-mail message to Darryl Lundy, 5 July 2005 to 14 May 2006. Hereinafter cited as "re: Long Family."
  • [S4396] William Skyvington, "re: Beaufort Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger LUNDY (101053), 29 December 2009. Hereinafter cited as "re: Beaufort Family."
  • [S18] Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995), reference: "Beaufort, HEnry de". Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of National Biography.
  • [S2] Peter W. Hammond, editor, The Complete Peerage or a History of the House of Lords and All its Members From the Earliest Times, Volume XIV: Addenda & Corrigenda (Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.: Sutton Publishing, 1998), page 39. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage, Volume XIV.
  • From: ____________________________
  • Henry BEAUFORT (Cardinal)
  • Born: ABT 1376, Chateau de Beauf, Meuse-et-Loire, France
  • Christened: Chateau de Beauf, Meurthe-et-Mosel, Anjou, France
  • Died: 11 Apr 1447, Winchester, Hampshire, England
  • Buried: Winchester Cathe, Hampshire, England
  • Notes: Prebendary of Thame, 1389. Prebendary of Sutton in the Cathedral, 1391. Dean of Wells, 1397. Bishop of Lincoln. Bishop of Winchester. Lord Chancellor.
  • Father: John "of Gaunt" PLANTAGENET (1º D. Lancaster)
  • Mother: Catherine De ROET SWYNFORD
  • Associated with: Alice FITZALAN
  • Children:
    • 1. Jane BEAUFORT
  • From: BEAUFORT (Cardinal) ____________________
  • Cardinal Henry Beaufort
  • Birth: c. 1374 Departement de la Haute-Loire, Auvergne, France
  • Death: Apr. 11, 1447, Winchester, Hampshire, England
  • Cardinal Bishop of Winchester completed the building of the cathedral itself after being largely rebuilt from Norman times by William of Wykeham. Beaufort was the illegitimate son of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swyneford. He crowned Kenry VI King of France in 1431 in Paris. (bio by: Connie Nisinger)
  • Family links:
  • Parents:
  • John Duke of Lancaster Plantagenet (1340 - 1399)
  • Katherine Roet Swynford (1350 - 1403)
  • Children:
    • Joan Beaufort Stradling (____ - 1479)*
  • Siblings:
  • Philippa of Lancaster (1360 - 1415)**
  • Elizabeth Lancaster (1363 - 1425)**
  • Henry Plantagenet-Lancaster (1367 - 1413)**
  • Thomas Swynford (1368 - 1432)**
  • John de Beaufort (1371 - 1410)*
  • Catherine Plantagenet Of Lancaster (1373 - 1418)**
  • Henry Beaufort (1374 - 1447)
  • Joan Beaufort Neville (1375 - 1440)*
  • Thomas de Beaufort (1377 - 1426)*
  • *Calculated relationship
  • **Half-sibling
  • Burial: Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, City of Winchester, Hampshire, England
  • Plot: Chantry in the south retro-choir
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 22420
  • From: _________________________
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Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester's Timeline

Château de Beaufort, Anjou, France
Age 22
February 27, 1398
Age 23
July 14, 1398
Age 23
Westminster, Middlesex, England (United Kingdom)
November 19, 1404
Age 29
May 24, 1426
Age 51
April 11, 1447
Age 72
Wolvesey Palace, Winchester, Hampshire, England