Beauchamp, Thomas de (DNB00)

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BEAUCHAMP, THOMAS de, Earl of Warwick (d. 1401), statesman, was son of Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, who had distinguished himself at Crecy, Poitiers, and elsewhere, and was one of the founders of the order of the Garter. He succeeded his father 13 Nov. 1369, being then twenty-four years old. He accompanied John of Gaunt in the fruitless French campaign of 1373, and took part shortly after in the descent on Britanny (T. Wals. i. 318). In the 'Good Parliament' of 1376, and in those of February and of October 1377, he was one of the committee of magnates deputed by the lords to act in concert with the commons for reform, and he was placed on the commission of iniquiry in that of 1379. The parliament now insisted on a governor for the king, and Warwick was appointed, 'communi sententiâ,' to the post (ib. 427), and was placed on the commission of retrenchment in the parliament of January 1380 (Fœdera, iv. 75). On the rising of the villeins in 1381 he was despatched, with Thomas Percy, against those of St. Edmund's (T. Wals. ii. 28). He accompanied Richard in his Scotch campaign (1385), at the head of 600 archers and 280 men-at-arms, the largest contingent in the field (MS. ut infra); but on the king commencing his struggle for independence, joined the opposition which was forming under Gloucester and Derby. Of a retiring and somewhat indolent disposition, and unsuited to his great station among the nobles, he withdrew for the time to Warwick, and indulged his tastes in quietude, till the decision of the judges in Richard's favour (25 Aug. 1387) compelled him to come forth from his seclusion and join Gloucester and Arundel in their advance on London (T. Wals. ii. 164). From Waltham Cross (14 Nov. 1387) they issued a manifesto against the king's advisers, and formally 'appealed' them of treason, 27 December. A parliament was summoned in February (1388), and the ministers accused by 'the lords appellant 'were tried and condemned. The lords appellant retained power till 3 May 1389, when Richard, by a coup-d'état, removed them from his council; and the earl, again withdrawing to Warwick, occupied himself in adding to his castle and building the nave of St. Mary's Church. Richard, ever eager for vengeance on the opposition, contrived, in 1396, that Warwick and Nottingham should quarrel over the lands of Gower; and the former, who lost his case, may have been goaded into joining the alleged, but most obscure, conspiracy at Arundel in July 1397 (Chronique, 5-6), revealed by Nottingham to Richard. Invited by the king, with Gloucester and Arundel, to a banquet July, he alone came, and was arrested (ib. 9, T. Wals. ii. 222), and committed to the Tower (his quarters giving name to 'the Beauchamp Tower'). Tried in parliament, on 28 Sept., his courage failed him, and pleading guilty ('confessa toute la traison'), he threw himself on the king's mercy (Chronique, 10, T. Wals. 226, Trok. 219-20). He was sentenced to forfeiture and to imprisonment for life in the Isle of Man, where he was harshly treated by the governor, William le Scrope (Trok. 252). But on 12 July 1398 he was recommitted to the Tower, whence he was liberated, on Henry's triumph, in August 1399. Hastening to meet the king and Henry, he returned with them to town, and attended Henry's first parliament (October 1399), in which he attempted to deny his confession of 1397, but was silenced by Henry (Trok. 307-8). He was also one of those who challenged Arundel (ib. 310), and he is said, with other magnates (1 Jan. 1400), to have urged Henry to put Richard to death (Chronique, 78). On 6 Jan. 1400 he set out with the king from London against the rebel lords (ib. 82), but after their capture disappeared fromm public life, and died 8 July 1401 (T. Wals. ii. 247, Trok. 337). He was succeeded by his son, Richard de Beauchamp, 1382-1439 [q. v.].

[Chronique de la Traison (Eng. Hist. Soc.); Thomas of Walsingham and Trokelowe (Rolls series); a Latin MS. 6049, Bibl. du Roy. f. 30; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 236; The Rows Roll of the Earls of Warwick, 1845; Stuble's Constitutional History, chaps, xvi. xviii.]

J. H. R.