Earls of Warwick - Encyclopedia

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EARLS OF. WARWICK John Rous (c. 1411 - ,491), the historian of the earls of Warwick, gives an account of them from Brutus their founder through many mythical ancestors, among whom is the Guy of romance. The 1st earl of Warwick was Henry de Newburgh (d. 1123), lord of Newbourg in Normandy and son of Roger de Beaumont. He became constable of Warwick Castle in 1068, and, though there is no proof that he actually came over with the Conqueror, his elder brother Robert de Beaumont, comte de Meulan, fought at Hastings. He apparently spent most of his time in Normandy, and was a baron of the Norman exchequer. He was created earl of Warwick early in the reign of William II. receiving a grant of the great estates of the Saxon, Thurkill of Arden, in Warwickshire. He was attached throughout his life to Henry and both the Beaumont brothers were faithful to the king at the time of the conspiracy of the Norman nobles in 1101. By his wife Margaret, daughter of Geoffrey II., count of Perche, he had five sons and two daughters. He died on the 20th of June 1123, and was buried in the Norman abbey of Preaux, near Pont-Audemer, a family foundation of which he and his brother were patrons. At Warwick he founded the priory of the Austin Canons, and endowed the church of St 1Vlary.

Of his sons Roger de Newburgh became 2nd earl of Warwick and died in 1153; Rotrou (d. 11 3 9) became archbishop of Rouen; and Robert, seneschal and justiciar of Normandy, died in 1185 in the abbey of Bec, of which he was a benefactor. The 2nd earl was followed by his two sons in succession, William (d. 1184) and Waleran (d. 1204). Henry de Newburgh, 5th earl of Warwick (1192-1229), took the royal side in the civil wars of the reigns of John and Henry III. The 6th earl, Thomas de Newburgh (c. 1213-1297), left no heirs, and was succeeded by his sister Margaret, countess of Warwick in her own right, who was twice married, but left no heirs. Her second husband, John du Plessis, assumed the title of earl of Warwick in 1245, and in 1250 received a grant of his wife's lands for life. He was succeeded in 1263 by Countess Margaret's cousin and heir, Sir William Mauduit (1220-1268), 8th earl of Warwick. Mauduit's sister and heiress, Isabel de Beauchamp, had apparently adopted the religious life at the time of her brother's death, and her son William de Beauchamp became 9th earl of Warwick.

His son Guy de Beauchamp, 10th earl of Warwick (1278-1315), received grants of land in Scotland for his services at Falkirk, and in 1301 was one of the signatories of the letter to the pope denying the papal right to interfere in Scottish affairs. He was with Edward I. at the time of his death, and is said to have been warned by him against Piers Gaveston. He was one of the lords ordainers of 1310, and was concerned in the capture of Gaveston, though he declined to countenance his execution. He died on the 10th of August 1315. His son, Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th earl (1313-1369), was marshal of England in 1344, and of the English army in France in 1346. He fought at Crecy and Poitiers, and was one of the original knights of the Garter.

Thomas de Beauchamp, 12th earl (c. 1345-1401), was about twenty-four years old when he succeeded his father. He served on the lords' committee of reform in the Good Parliament in 1376, and again in 1377, and was a member of the commission of inquiry in 1379. Appointed governor to Richard II. in February 1381, he joined the nobles who sought to impose their authority on the king, and was one of the lords appellant in 1388. After the overthrow of his party in 1389 Warwick lived in retirement, but although he had for the moment escaped Richard's vengeance he was not forgiven. Being invited with Gloucester and Arundel to a banquet at court on the 10th of July 1397 he alone of the three was imprudent enough to obey the summons. He was immediately arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London, in that part of the fortress since known as the Beauchamp Tower. Warwick made a full confession in parliament; his honours were forfeited and he himself banished. He was again in the Tower in 1398, but was liberated and restored to his honours on the accession of Henry IV. His son Richard Beauchamp, 13th earl of Warwick, is separately noticed.

Henry, 14th earl of Warwick (1423-1445), Earl Richard's son, a descendant, through his mother Constance le Despenser, of Edmund, duke of York, fifth son of Edward III., received a patent making him premier earl in 1444. A year later he was created duke of Warwick with precedence next after the duke of Norfolk, a rank disputed by the duke of Buckingham. The :assertion that he was crowned king of the Isle of Wight seems to have no foundation in fact. The 14th earl, whose honours were probably due to his father's services, died in his twenty-second year, leaving a daughter Anne, who died in 1449. On her death the earldom lapsed to the crown. The estates passed to Sir Richard Neville (see Warwick, Richard Neville, earl of), in right of his wife Anne, sister of Henry Beauchamp, duke of Warwick. He and his wife were created earl and countess of Warwick each for life in 1450, with remainder to Anne's heirs, and, these failing, to Margaret, countess of Shrewsbury, half-sister of the countess Anne. After the death of her husband, the Kingmaker, at Barnet in 1471, the rights of the countess, heiress of the Beauchamp estates, were set aside "as if the seid countes were nowe naturally dede" (act of 13 Edward IV. 1473) in favour of her daughters, Isabel, wife of George, duke of Clarence, and Anne, who, after the murder of her first husband Edward prince of Wales in 1471, married Richard, duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III. Their mother was allowed to resume her estates in 1487, but only to settle them on the crown. She was succeeded in 1493 in the earldom by her grandson Edward Plantagenet, 18th earl of Warwick (1475-1499), son of the duke of Clarence, and therefore the Yorkist heir to the crown. He was imprisoned in 1484, his sole offence being his birth, and was executed in 1499 on a charge of conspiracy with his fellowprisoner, Perkin Warbeck. He was the last representative of the male line of the Plantagenets. His honours were forfeited, and his estates passed to his sister Margaret, countess of Salisbury in her own right, the unfortunate lady who was executed in 1541.

The next bearer of the title was John Dudley, Viscount Lisle, afterwards duke of Northumberland, who was created earl of Warwick in 1547, on account of his descent from Margaret, countess of Shrewsbury, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. The earldom became extinct with his son John Dudley, 20th earl of Warwick (c. 1528-1554), who was condemned to death for having signed the letters patent making his sister-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, heir apparent. He was released from prison in October 1554, but died in the same month. His brother, Ambrose Dudley (c. 1528-1590), who fought at St Quentin in 1557, secured the reversal of the attainder of himself and his brother consequent on the attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne, and in 1561 was created Baron Lisle and earl of Warwick. He was in high favour with Elizabeth, as was his third wife Anne, daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd earl of Bedford. His brother Robert, earl of Leicester, having predeceased him his honours became extinct on his death in 1590.

The earldom was revived in 1618 in favour of Robert Rich, 3rd Baron Rich (c. r 560-1619), grandson of Lord Chancellor Rich, who died shortly after his elevation. His wife Penelope, Lady Rich, is separately noticed. He was succeeded in 1619 by his eldest son Robert Rich, 2nd or 23rd earl of Warwick, whose two sons Robert (1611-1659) and Charles (1619-1673) succeeded him in the earldom and died leaving no male issue. The 5th or 26th earl of Warwick was their cousin Robert Rich (1620-1675), eldest son of Henry, 1st earl of Holland. His grandson, the 7th or 28th earl, left no issue, and the title became extinct on the death, on the 15th of September 1759, of his kinsman Edward Rich, 8th or 29th earl. It was revived two months later, when Francis Greville, Baron Brooke of Beauchamps Court (1719-1773), who had in 1746 been created Earl Brooke of Warwick Castle, became earl of Warwick. Greville was descended from Robert Greville, the 2nd baron, who was killed at Lichfield during the civil war and he represented a cadet branch of the Beauchamp family. His son George (1746-1816) became the 2nd earl of this line, and the earldom has remained with his descendants, Francis Richard (b. 1853) becoming the 5th earl in 1893. His wife, Frances Evelyn, countess of Warwick, daughter of Colonel the Hon. C. H. Maynard (d. 1865), inherited the estates of her grandfather, Henry Maynard, 5th and last Viscount Maynard (1788-1865). She became well known in society, and later for her interest in social questions.

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