Clement-Jones family v2/21 - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family v2/21 - Person Sheet
NameJohn BEAUFORT 1st Earl of Somerset, 16086
Birth1371
Death1410
FatherJohn PLANTAGANET JOhn of GAUNT , 16088 (1340-1399)
MotherKatherine SWYNFORD , 16089
Spouses
Unmarried
ChildrenJohn , 12608
 Edmund , 6953 (1406-1455)
Notes for John BEAUFORT 1st Earl of Somerset
John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and 1st Marquess of Dorset, later only 1st Earl of Somerset, KG (c. 1371 – 16 March 1410) was an English nobleman and politician. He was the first of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt (1340-1399) (third surviving son of King Edward III) by his mistress Katherine Swynford, whom he later married in 1396. Beaufort's surname (properly de Beaufort, "from Beaufort") probably reflects his birthplace[1] at his father's castle and manor of Beaufort ("beautiful stronghold") in Champagne, France.[3][4][5] The Portcullis heraldic badge of the Beauforts, now the emblem of the House of Commons, is believed to have been based on that of the castle of Beaufort, now demolished.[6]

The Beaufort children were declared legitimate twice by parliament during the reign of King Richard II of England, in 1390 and 1397,[7] as well as by Pope Boniface IX in September 1396.[8] Even though they were the grandchildren of Edward III and next in the line of succession after their father's legitimate children by his first two wives, the Beauforts were barred from succession to the throne by their half-brother Henry IV.[9]

Early life

Early arms of John Beaufort with a bend dexter
Between May and September 1390, Beaufort saw military service in North Africa in the Barbary Crusade led by Louis II, Duke of Bourbon.[8] In 1394, he was in Lithuania serving with the Teutonic Knights.[10]

John was created Earl of Somerset on 10 February 1397,[8][11] just a few days after the legitimation of the Beaufort children was recognized by Parliament. The same month, he was also appointed Admiral of the Irish fleet, as well as Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports.[12] In May, his admiralty was extended to include the northern fleet. That summer, the new earl became one of the noblemen who helped Richard II free himself from the power of the Lords Appellant. As a reward, he was created Marquess of Somerset and Marquess of Dorset on 29 September, and sometime later that year he was made a Knight of the Garter and appointed Lieutenant of Aquitaine.[8] In addition, two days before his elevation as a Marquess he married the king's niece, Margaret Holland, sister of Thomas Holland, 1st Duke of Surrey, another of the counter-appellants.[8] John remained in the king's favour even after his older half-brother Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) was banished from England in 1398.

Later career

Arms of Beaufort family, Earls and Dukes of Somerset: Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Azure, three fleurs de lis or (France); 2nd & 3rd: Gules, three lions passant guardant in pale or (England); all within a bordure compony argent and azure[13]
After Richard II was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke in 1399, the new king rescinded the titles that had been given to the counter-appellants, and thus John Beaufort became merely Earl of Somerset again. Nevertheless, he proved loyal to his half-brother's reign, serving in various military commands and on some important diplomatic missions. It was Beaufort who was given the confiscated estates of the Welsh rebel leader Owain Glyndŵr in 1400, although he would not have been able to take possession of these estates unless he had lived until after 1415. In 1404, he was named Constable of England.

Family
John Beaufort and his wife Margaret Holland, the daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent and Alice FitzAlan, had six children. His granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort married Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, the son of Dowager Queen Catherine of Valois by Owen Tudor.

Somerset died in the Hospital of St Katharine's by the Tower. He was buried in St Michael's Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral.

His children included the following:

Henry Beaufort, 2nd Earl of Somerset (1401 – 25 November 1418)
John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset (baptized 25 March 1404 – 27 May 1444), father of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, grandfather of King Henry VII of England
Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scotland (1404 – 15 July 1445) married James I, King of Scots.
Thomas Beaufort, Count of Perche (1405 – 3 October 1431)
Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1406 – 22 May 1455)
Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Devon (1409–1449) married Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon.
Last Modified 27 Aug 2020Created 11 Feb 2021 using Reunion for Macintosh