Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Beaumont, Robert (d.1567)

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BEAUMONT, ROBERT (d. 1567), divine, may have belonged either to the Whitley Beaumonts of Yorkshire, whose arms were depicted on the gates of Trinity College after his death, or to the Leicestershire family, so prominent in the sixteenth century. Beaumont went to Westminster School, and afterwards to Peterhouse, Cambridge; graduated B.A. in 1543-4, and became fellow of his college; in 1550 he took the degree of M.A. In the reign of Mary he fled with the protestant refugees, and resided at Zurich (Troubles at Frankfurt, published in Phoenix, ii. 55). In 1556 he joined the English congregation of Geneva (Burn's Livre des Anglois, 8). Returning to England after the death of Mary, he was admitted Margaret professor of divinity (1559). He proceeded B.D. in 1560, and on 28 Sept. of that year was presented by the Earl of Rutland to the archdeaconry of Huntingdon. In 1561 he became master of Trinity College, and vacated his professorship. He commenced D.D. in 1564, and in that year disputed a thesis in divinity before Queen Elizabeth on her visit to Cambridge.

He was vice-chancellor of the university in 1564-5, and was collated to a canonry of Ely on 15 Nov. 1564. In 1566 he was a second time made vice-chancellor, and died in that office in 1567. (For his preferments see Le Neve's Fasti, i. 355, ii 52, iii. 604, 654,699).

Dr. Beaumont is a prominent figure in the movement of the Calvinists at Cambridge against conforming to the ordinances of Elizabeth and Parker. Dr. Baker, in his preface to Fisher's sermon on Lady Margaret, mentions Robert Beaumont as 'a learned good man, but deeply tinctured.' By 'deeply tinctured' Baker has been thought to mean that Beaumont was not free from Romish doctrine (Alumni Westmonasterienses, 8); but though in his will Beaumont confesses that he once was in 'that damnable pit of idolatry,' all his public acts and his connection with Geneva point towards puritanism. He subscribed to the articles of 1562, and, both by signing a request to the synod concerning rites and ceremonies, and by voting with the minority in convocation for the six articles on discipline, he supported the anti-ritualistic side in the church (Strype, Ann. 1. i. 480, 501, 504, 512). In a letter to Parker, 27 Feb. 1564, he disapproves of dramatic representations among the students (Fuller's Cambridge, 266). On 26 Nov. 1565 Beaumont with Kelk, master of Magdalen, Hutton, master of Pembroke, Longworth, master of St. John's, and Whitgift, then Margaret professor, wrote to Cecil as chancellor of the university for a remission in the orders just issued by the queen through Parker for enforcing the use of the surplice at Cambridge. Cecil was angry and Parker contemptuous (Strype's Life of Parker, i. 386, letter in the appendix); thereupon Beaumont wrote in his own name a submissive letter to Cecil, saying that he was careful to observe order himself and only wrote on behalf of others (Lansdowne MS. 8, art. 64) . Dr. Beaumont and Sir William Cecil had many dealings together on unimportant matters (see Lemon's State Papers, 1547-80), Beaumont left a will (dated 1 May 1567), in which he bases his salvation on the free adoption of God, and desires to be buried without 'the jangling of bells or other popish ceremonies.' He also bequeathed 50l. to Trinity College.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantalirigienses, i. 245; Alumni Westmonasterienses, 8; Strype's Annals of the Reformation, 1. i. and ii.; Life of Parker, book i., and General Index to Strype; Burn's Livre des Anglois à Genève; Troubles at Frankfurt (1575), reprinted in Phœnix, ii.; Lemon's Calendar of State Papers (1547-80); Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesise Anglicanæ; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, ii.; Bishop Fisher's Sermon for Lady Margaret, ed. Hymers, 68; Baker MSS. iii. 309, xxxii. 427, 430.]

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