Astronomical Societies, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy, a corresponding member of the Institute of France and of the United States Naval Lyceum.
Sir Francis married Alicia Magdalena Wilson. Their son, Francis Lestock Beaufort, born in 1815, served in the Bengal civil service from 1837 to 1876, and was for many years judge of the twenty-four Purgunnahs, Calcutta. He was the author of the well-known 'Digest of the Criminal Law Procedure in Bengal' (1850), and died in 1879.
[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biog. vi. (supplement, part ii.), 82; O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Gent. Mag. 1858, i. 118; information from W. M. Beaufort, Esq.]
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 rendered him incapable of performing the duties of kingship. The rule of the prince involved the predominance of the Bishop of Winchester in the council. The divergence of the parties of Beaufort and Arundel came to a climax in 1411. A family quarrel probably hastened the issue of the struggle. On the death of John Beaufort, earl of Somerset, the bishop's brother, in 1410, Thomas of Lancaster, the earl's nephew, married his widow, and demanded that Bishop Beaufort should give up to him part of a sum of 30,000 marks, which he had received as the earl's executor. The bishop refused the demand, and in the quarrel which ensued the Prince of Wales upheld his uncle against his brother. Prince Henry and the bishop were alike anxious to secure the continuance of their power. With the assent of the numerous lords of their party they tried to prevail on the king to resign the crown, and to allow the prince to reign in his stead. The king was much angered at this request, and dismissed the prince from the council. Bishop Beaufort and his whole party seem to have shared the disgrace of the prince; for in November the commons prayed the king to thank the Prince of Wales,