Saturday 6 June 2009

Comberford Appendix 1: The Beaumont family of Wednesbury

A modern artistic impression of Wednesbury Manor ... a painting by D. Clarke now in the Sandwell Museums

Patrick Comerford


The Comberford family of Comberford Hall might have remained a minor gentry and merchant family in South Staffordshire and remained a minor player in the commerce and politics of nearby Tamworth and Lichfield but for the wealth and large estates inherited through intermarriage with the Beaumont family of Wednesbury, This inheritance brought with it an increase in prosperity and in influence, and extended the ties of kinship with other powerful local families.

When Thomas Comberford (ca 1472-1532) of Comberford married Dorothy, daughter of Ralph Fitzherbert of Norbury, he was already a progressive farmer and merchant, consolidating and extending his family’s interests in the political, ecclesiastical, social, economic and legal life in south Staffordshire. Dorothy Comberford’s brothers included the Revd Dr Thomas Fitzherbert, Precentor of Lichfield Cathedral, and the Revd Canon William Fitzherbert, Chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral, while her younger sister, Alice, was Abbess of Polesworth, five miles east of Tamworth. Polesworth Abbey traced its origins to Saint Editha of Tamworth, who gave her name to Saint Editha’s parish church.

In 1495, as M’r Thomas Cumberforth, he was admitted to membership of the Guild of Saint Mary and Saint John the Baptist in Lichfield.

In 1499, Thomas Comberford and David Rochford, a Lichfield mercer, leased the manor of Timmor for 12 years from John Beaumont. Timmor was a part of the Bishop of Chester’s manor of Lichfield (later Longdon) and so continued until at least 1739. When John Beaumont died in 1502, he had three surviving infant daughters who were his equal heirs.

Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Wednesbury, in 1827 (Hackwood, facing p. 22)

Thomas Comberford may have had custody of the manor of Wednesbury during the minority of these three Beaumont daughters. By a partition of the inheritance in 1540-1541, Timmor, near Fisherwick and in the Parish of Saint Michael, Lichfield, was allotted to Joan, the eldest daughter, and her husband William Babington, of Rothley Temple, Leicestershire. They were the ancestors of Canon Zachary Babington, Chancellor of Lichfield Cathedral and Master of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield, whose grand-daughter Margaret married John Birch, one of the trustees of the Comberford estates in the 1650s. Eventually, this portion of the Beaumont estate passed to the Skeffington family of Fisherwick, who also became the owners of Comberford Hall in the 17th century.

Dorothy Beaumont, the second daughter and co-heir of John Beaumont, married Thomas Comberford’s son and heir, Humphrey Comberford, who then became the Lord of the Manor of Wednesbury. In Lichfield in 1530, as “Humfridus Cumberforde,” he was the Master of the Guild of Saint Mary and Saint John the Baptist.

The youngest daughter, Eleanor Beaumont, married Humphrey Babington, a nephew of Thomas Comberford, being a son of Dorothy (Fitzherbert) Comberford’s sister. Humphrey Babington’s brother, the Revd Thomas Babington, was presented in 1510 by Thomas Comberford as the Rector of Yelvertoft in Northamptonshire, where Thomas Comberford also owned an estate.

Thomas Comberford died on 6 January 1532. Dorothy (Beaumont) Comberford eventually inherited the Beaumont estates, which became part of the Comberford estates inherited by her eldest son, Thomas Comberford (ca 1530-1597), after Dorothy died in 1565.

in 1565 Thomas Comberford secured full possession of the whole of the Manor of Wednesbury, with its dependent estates and lands in Staffordshire and Derbyshire. By acquiring the interests of the Babington family, the Comberfords arrested the possibility that the estates would be divided, and placed themselves in a position to exploit the new-found wealth in coal mining in south Staffordshire.

Those Wednesbury estates included: the manors of Wednesbury and Tynmore, 120 acres of land, 40 acres of wood, 10 acres of land, and 10 acres of meadow in Wirksworth and Kirk Ireton, near Matlock in Derbyshire; £10 rent in Wednesbury, Waltswoode, Finchpath and Tibinton; and a fifth-part of the Manor of Egginton in Derbyshire, half-way between Burton-upon-Trent and Derby.

When Thomas Comberford died, Wednesbury was part of the large estates inherited by his son William Comberford (1551-1625), who used his wealth from the Wednesbury estate to advance his family’s political, economic and social power in South Staffordshire.

The Long Gallery in the Moat House, with its decorated ceiling illustrating the family trees of the Comberford family and their descent from the Beaumont family (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2007)

The heraldic family trees on the ceiling of the Long Gallery in the Moat House, Tamworth [See Comberford 5: Recusants, royal guests and civil war], illustrate the importance William Comberford and his family attached to their descent from the Beaumont family.

By emphasising this descent from the Beaumonts, later generations in the Comberford family claimed a certain social cachet, including kinship with French, Scottish and English royalty, and, perhaps, securing a prominent place during the visit of James I and his son Prince Charles to Tamworth in August 1619, when the Prince of Wales stayed overnight at the Moat House as a guest of William Comberford.

The Comberfords had risen from the ranks of the local farming families to claiming a place among the gentry.

The arms of William Comberford on the ceiling of the long gallery in the Moat House, quartering Edgbaston, Parles, Beaumont, Leventhorp and Heronville (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

To proclaim their new-found status, the Comberford family quartered their coat-of-arms with the arms of the Beaumont family, and also used quarterings illustrating their inheritance of the Wednesbury estate through the Leventhorpe family.

At the Visitation of Staffordshire in 1614, William Comberford quartered his arms with those of Beaumont in six quarterings: Comberford (gules, a talbot statant argent); Edgbaston (per pale indented, or and azure, in the dexter chief an escallop gules ); Parles (gules,on a cross engrailed or five roses of the field); Beaumont (azure, semée-de-lis, a lion rampant or); Leventhorp (argent, a bend componée gules and sable, cottised of the second); Heronville (sable, two lions passant argent, crowned or).

Further research shows, however, that the arms of Leventhrop had not descended to the Beaumont and Comberford families with the descent of the Wednesbury estate.

The quartered arms allowed to William Comberford at the Visitation of Warwickshire in 1619

At the Visitation of Warwickshire in 1619, the heralds allowed William Comberford to use the Parles arms of five red roses on a golden engrailed cross with a red background, and to quarter these with eight other arms:

Edgerbaston (sic) (per pale indented or and azure), Beaumont (semee of fleur de lis, a lion rampant), Cumming (gules, three garbs argent), Chester (azure, three garbs or), Everingham (gules, a lion rampant vair), Heronville or Hanville (sable, two lions passant regardant in pale argent), Tynmore or Tinmare (vert, a bend or, in sinister chief a maunch sable) and Stafford (or, a chevron and in dexter chief a mullet gules).

Origins of the Beaumont family:

Despite the heraldic family tree on the decorated ceiling of the Long gallery in the moat House, Tamworth, tracing a royal descent for the Comberford family through the marriage of Dorothy Beaumont and Humphrey Comberford, there are conflicting claims about the origins of the Beaumont family.

Some accounts claim that the Beaumont family is descended from Louis, son of Charles, Count of Anjou, a younger son of Louis VIII, King of France. However, it appears that the only Louis who was a son of Charles d’Anjou died in infancy.

Other accounts claim this family is descended from Louis de Brienne, the second son of John de Brienne, the last King of Jerusalem.

Still other accounts of the family history claim the Beaumonts were descended from the Beaumonts who were viscounts in Normandy.

The traditional Beaumont family tree:

The Beaumont coat-of-arms on the ceiling of the Long Gallery in the Moat House, Tamworth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Charibert de Haspengau (ca 555-636). He was the father of:

Chrodobertus I de Haspengau (ca 600-630). He was the father of:

Lambert I de Haspengau (ca 620-650). He was the father of:

Chrodobertus II, Count of Haspengau (fl 650). He was the father of:

Lambert II, Count of Haspengau (ca 682-741). He was the father of:

Robert I, Duke of Neustria (ca 697-764). He was the father of:

Thuringbert (ca 740-770) of Worms and Rheingau. He was the father or grandfather of:

Robert II, Rodbert or Chrodobert (died 807), a Frank, was Count of Worms and of Rheingau, and Duke of Hesbaye ca 800. He is the earliest known male-line ancestor of the French royal families. He died on 12 July 807.

His son:

Robert III (800-834), also called Rutpert, was the Count of Worms and Rheingau. He married Waldrada or Wiltrud of Orleans. Their only recorded son was:

Robert IV ‘the Strong’ (killed 866), also known as Rutpert, was Margrave in Neustria. He was first nominated by Charles the Bald missus dominicus in 853. In 866, he was killed at the Battle of Brissarthe while defending Francia against a Breton-Viking raiding party. He married (1) Agane?. They were the parents of:

1, …, a son, mentioned in 866.
2, Richilde, married Theobald, Count of Tours.

Robert married (2) after 864, Adelaide of Tours. They were the parents of:

1, Odo of France, King of Western Francia.
2, Robert I (866-923) of France, King of Western Francia.

The second named son:

Robert I (866-923), King of Western Francia (922-923). Before succeeding his brother Odo as King he was the Count of Poitiers, Marquis of Neustria and Orléans and Count of Paris. Robert married (1) Aelis, and they had two daughters:

1, Adele of France (ca 887-post 931), married Herbert II of Vermandois.

Robert married (2) ca 890, Béatrice of Vermandois, daughter of Herbert I of Vermandois. They were the parents of:

2, Emma of France (894-935), married Rudolph, Duke of Burgundy.
3, Hugh the Great (898-956), of whom next.

The only son:

Hugh the Great (898-956), Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris. He died on 16 June 956. He married (1), in 922, Judith, daughter of Roger Comte du Maine; she died childless in 925; (2), in 926, Eadhild, daughter of Edward the Elder, King of the Anglo-Saxons; she died childless in 938; (3) Hedwig of Saxony, daughter of Henry the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim. Hedwig and Hugh were the parents of:

1, Beatrice, married Frederick I, Duke of Upper Lorraine.
2, Hugh Capet (ca 939-996), of whom next.
3, Emma (ca 943-post 968).
4, Otto, Duke of Burgundy, a minor in 956.
5, Odo-Henry I, Duke of Burgundy (d. 1002).

The eldest son:

Hugh Capet (ca 939-996), was the first “King of the Franks” of the Capetian dynasty from his election to succeed the Carolingian Louis V in 987 until his death in 996.

Hugh Capet and Adelaide of Aquitaine, daughter of William Towhead, Count of Poitou, were the parents of:

1, Gisela, or Gisele, who married Hugh I, Count of Ponthieu.
2, Hedwig, or Hathui, who married Reginar IV, Count of Hainaut.
3, Robert II (972-1031), who became King of the Franks after the death of his father.

This son:

Robert II (972-1031), King of the Franks (996-1031). Robert had no children from his short marriage to Susanna. His illegal marriage to Bertha gave them one stillborn son in 999. He married Constance of Arles (986-1034), and their surviving children were:

1, Hedwig (or Advisa), Countess of Auxerre (ca 1003-post 1063), married Renauld I, Count of Nevers, in 1016.
2, Hugh Magnus (1007-1025).
3, Henry I (1008-1060), of whom next.
4, Adela, Countess of Contenance (1009-1063), married (1) Richard IIIof Normandy; (2) Count Baldwin V of Flanders.
5, Robert (1011-1076).
6, Odo or Eudes (1013-ca 1056).
7, Constance (born 1014), married Manassès de Dammartin.

Robert also had an illegitimate son:

8, Rudolph, Bishop of Bourges.

The third child and successor:

Henry I (1008-1060), King of the Franks (1031-1060). Henry married (1) Matilda, daughter of Liudolf, Margrave of Frisia, but she died in 1044; he married (2) in 1051, Anne of Kiev, daughter of Yaroslav I ‘the Wise’ and Princess Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden. They had four children:

1, Philip I (1052-1108), of whom next.
2, Emma (born 1054).
3, Robert (ca 1055-ca 1060).
4, Hugh ‘the Great’ of Vermandois (1057-1102); he died on the Crusades in Tarsus.

The eldest son:

Philip I (1052-1108), King of the Franks (1060-1108). He married (1) in 1072, Bertha, daughter of Floris I, Count of Holland. Philip and Bertha were the parents of:

1, Constance, married (1) before 1097, Hugh I of Champagne; (2) in 1106, Bohemund I of Antioch.
2, Louis VI (1081-1137), of whom next.
3, Henry (born 1083, died young).
4, Charles (born 1085).
5, Odo (1087–1096).

Philip’s children with Bertrade de Montfort, the wife of Fulk IV, Count of Anjou, were:

6, Philip, Count of Mantes (alive 1123).
7, Fleury, Seigneur of Nangis (1093-1119).
8, Cecile of France, married (1) Tancred, Prince of Galilee; married (2) Pons of Tripoli.

The eldest son:

Louis VI (1081-1137), King of the Franks (1108-1137). He married (1) in 1104, Lucienne de Rochefort. Their marriage was annulled in 1107 at the Council of Troyes by Pope Paschal II. He married (2) in 1115, Adélaide de Maurienne (1092–1154), and they were the parents of:

1, Philip (1116-1131), not to be confused with his brother of the same name; he died following a fall from a horse.
2, Louis VII (1120-1180), King of France, of whom next.
3, Henry (1121-1275), Archbishop of Reims.
4, Hugues (born ca 1122).
5, Robert (ca 1123-1188), Count of Dreux. 6, Constance (ca 1124-1176), married (1) Eustace IV, Count of Boulogne; (2) Raymond V of Toulouse.
7, Philip (1125-1261), Bishop of Paris, not to be confused with his elder brother.
8, Peter of France (ca 1125-1183), married Elizabeth, Lady of Courtenay.

Louis VI and Marie de Breuillet, daughter of Renaud de Breuillet de Dourdan, were the parents of a daughter:

9, Isabelle (ca 1105-pre 1175), married Guillaume I of Chaumont.

Louis VI’s second son and successor was:

Louis VII (1120-1180), King of the Franks (1137-1180). He married (1) on 25 July 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine, daughter and heir of William X, Duke of Aquitaine. They were the parents of:

1, Marie (1145-1198), married Henry I of Champagne.
2, Alix (1151-1197/1198), married Theobald V of Blois.

He married (2) Constance of Castile, and they were the parents of:

3, Margaret (1158-1197), married (1) Henry the Young King; (2) King Béla III of Hungary.
4, Alys (1160-ca1220), married William IV, Count of Ponthieu.

He married (3) Adele of Champagne, and they were the parents of:

5, Philip II Augustus (1165-1223), of whom next.
6, Agnes (1171-post 1204), who was betrothed to Alexius II Comnenus (1180–1183), but married (1) Andronicus I Comnenus (1183–1185); (2) Theodore Branas (1204).

His only son:

Philip II (Philip Augustus) (1165-1223), King of the Franks (1180-1190) and first King of France (1190-1223). He was born on 21 August 1165. He married Isabelle of Hainaut, who died in childbirth in 1190. They were the parents of:

1, Louis VIII (1187-1226), of whom next.
2, Robert (1190--1190), twin.
3, Philip (1190-1190), twin.

Philip II and Agnes of Merania were the parents of :

4, Marie (1198-1238), married (1) Philip I of Namur; (2) Henry I of Brabant.
5, Philip (1200-1234), Count of Boulogne by marriage; he married Matilda II, Countess of Boulogne.

The eldest son:

The coronation of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile at Reims in 1223 … a miniature from the Grandes Chroniques de France, painted in the 1450s (Bibliothèque nationale) … they were once claimed by the Beaumont family as their direct ancestor

Louis VIII (1187-1226), King of France (1223-1226). He was born in Paris on 5 September 1187. On 23 May 1200, at the age of 15, he married Blanche, daughter of Alphonso VIII, King of Castile, grand-daughter of King Henry III of England and niece of King John of England. He died in 1226.

Louis and Blanche were the parents of:

1, Blanche (1205-1206).
2, Agnes (1207-1207).
3, Philip (1209-1218).
4, Alphonse (1213-1213), a twin.
5, John (1213-1213), a twin.
6, Louis IX (1214-1270), King of France as successor to his father.
7, Robert (1216-1250), killed in the Battle of Al Mansurah, Egypt.
8, Philip (1218-1220).
9, John Tristan (1219-1232), Count of Anjou and Maine.
10, Alphonse (1220-1271), Count of Poitou and Auvergne.
11, Philip Dagobert (1222-1232).
12, Isabelle (1225-1269).
13, Charles Etienne (1226-1285), Count of Anjou and Maine, and King of Sicily.

The youngest named son:

A statue of King Charles I at the Royal Palace, Naples

Charles I (1226-1285), Count of Anjou and Maine and King of Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily, He was born on 21 March 1226. He became King of Sicily by conquest from 1266. He was expelled from Sicily in the aftermath of the Sicilian Vespers of 1282. After that, he claimed the island, though his power was restricted to the peninsular possessions of the kingdom, with his capital at Naples. After 1282, he is usually known as King of Naples. He proclaimed himself King of Albania in 1272 and by purchase he became King of Jerusalem in 1277. He inherited the Principality of Achaea in 1278.He died on 7 January 1285.

Charles married Beatrice of Provence on 31 January 1246, in Aix-en-Provence. She was the youngest daughter of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Forcalquier, and his wife Beatrice of Savoy. As his elder three daughters had all married kings and received substantial dowries, Ramon settled his entire inheritance upon Beatrice, making Charles Count of Provence and Forcalquier. Charles and Beatrice were the parents of:

1, Louis (born 1248 in Nicosia).
2, Blanche (1250-1269), married Robert III, Count of Flanders.
3, Beatrice of Sicily (1252–1275), married Philip of Courtenay, titular Emperor of Constantinople.
4, Charles II of Naples (1254-1309).
5, Philip of Sicily (1256-1277), titular King of Thessaloniki from 1274.
6, Robert (1258-1265).
7, Elizabeth of Sicily (1261-ca 1300), married Ladislas IV of Hungary.

After the death of Beatrice, Charles married Margaret of Burgundy in 1268. They had one child:

8, Margaret, who died in infancy.

The eldest named son:

Louis of Brienne. He married Agnes, daughter and heiress of Richard Vicomte de Bellomonte. The children of the marriage assumed their mother’s name, and the eldest son inherited the Beaumont title and estates in France.

However, it appears that the only Louis who was a son of Charles d’Anjou died in infancy.

The reconstructed family tree:

The arrival of Jean de Brienne in Acre and his coronation … he was the Latin King of Jerusalem and nominal Emperor of Constantinople, and ancestor of the Beaumont family

Gautier I of Brienne, Count of Brienne. He married Eustachie of Tonnerre.

They were the parents of:

Erard I, Count of Brienne (ca 1090-ca 1120?) was Count of Brienne at the end of the 11th century. In 1097, he fought in the First Crusade. In 1110, he married Alix de Roucy-Ramerupt, daughter of André de Montdidier-Roucy, Seigneur de Ramerupt. They had three children:

1, Gautier II of Brienne, Count of Brienne and Lord of Ramerupt, of whom next.
2, Guy of Brienne. 3, Félicité of Brienne, who married (1) Simon I of Broyes; (2) in 1142, Geoffroy III, Sire de Joinville.

The first named son was:

Gautier II, Count of Brienne. He married Adèle of Soissons.

They were the parents of:

Érard II (died 1191), Count of Brienne, in Champagne. He married Agnes de Montfaucon. He was Count of Brienne from 1161 until his death in 1191. He took part in Third Crusade, and was present at the Siege of Acre, at which his brother André of Brienne died on 4 October 1189. He was killed at Acre on 8 February 1191. Before 1166, he married Agnès of Montfaucon (died after 1186), daughter of Amadeus II of Montfaucon and of Béatrice of Grandson-Joinville. Their children were:

1, Gautier III of Brienne (died 1205), Count of Brienne and claimant to the throne of Sicily.
2, William de Brienne (died 1199), Lord of Pacy-sur-Armançon. He married Eustachie of Courtenay, daughter of Pierre de France and of Elisabeth of Courtenay.
3, André de Brienne (died after 1181).
4, John de Brienne (1170–1237), Latin King of Jerusalem (1210-1225), then Latin Emperor of Constantinople (1231–1237), of whom next.
5, Ida de Brienne, who married Arnoul of Reynel, Lord of Pierrefitte.

The youngest named son:

John of Brienne (ca 1155-1237), or Jean de Candia-Nevers, King of Jerusalem. He was the last Crusader King of Jerusalem (1210-1215). In 1229, John was invited by the barons of the Latin Empire of Constantinople to become emperor-regent, and he reigned until his death in 1237. John of Brienne married three times. The youngest child of John and his third wife, Berenguela of Leon, was:

Sir Louis de Brienne. He married Agnés de Beaumont, and in her right he became Vicomte of Beaumont in Maine and Seigneur of Beaumont-le-Vicomte (alias Beaumont-sur-Sarthe), Sainte-Suzanne, la Fleche, Fresnay, le Lude, etc. He died after 1 September 1297.

Their eldest son was:

Henry de Beaumont ( -1340), 1st Lord Beaumont, 4th Earl of Buchan, and Justiciar of Scotland (d. 1340). He is said to have come to England at the invitation of Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward I. He married shortly before 14 March 1310 Alicia Comyn, daughter of Sir Alexander Comyn, and granddaughter of Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan. In her own right, she was the Countess of Buchan. Throughout his marriage, in right of his wife (jure uxoris), Henry de Beaumont was 4th Earl of Buchan. He was also King of the Isle of Man for life. He was summoned to parliament as 1st Lord Beaumont 1309.

Henry de Beaumont was a key participant in the Anglo-Scots wars of the 13th and 14th centuries, known as the Wars of Scottish Independence, and took part in every major engagement, from the Battle of Falkirk (1298), and Bannockburn (1314) to the Battle of Halidon Hill (1333).

Henry died on 10 March 1340.

Henry and Alice were the parents of three sons and six daughters:

1, John Beaumont (1317/1318-1342), of whom next.
2, Richard Beaumont.
3, Thomas Beaumont of Bolton Percy.
4, Elizabeth (ca 1320-1400), who married ca 1330 Nicholas Audley (ca 1328-1391), 3rd Lord Audley; she died on 27 October 1400.
5, Catherine, who married David Strathbogie (1309-1335), Earl of Atholl. She died on 11 November 1368. 6, Isabel (ca 1315-post 1356), who married Henry Plantagenet (ca 1314-1361), 1st Duke of Lancaster, Earl of Leicester and Derby. She died after 24 March 1356. They were the grandparents of King Henry IV, and ancestors of the House of Lancaster.
7, Agnes, who married in July 1343, Thomas, Lord Lucy. She died after 1359, and he died in 1365.
8, Joan, who married either Sir William FitzWarin (who died on 25 July 1349), or Fulke FitzWarine, 3rd Lord (died 1349).
9, Beatrice, who married the Count de Mammartin.

The eldest named son:

John Beaumont (1317/1318-1342), 2nd Lord Beaumont. He was born in 1317/1318. Before June 1337, he married Lady Eleanor Plantagenet, (ca 1311/1316-1372), daughter of Henry Plantagenet, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Earl of Leicester, and great-granddaughter of King Henry III. She was born ca 1311/1316 and died on 11 January 1372.

John and Eleanor Beaumont were the parents of:

Henry Beaumont (1338/1339-1369), 3rd Lord Beaumont. He was born in 1338/1339. He married Lady Margaret de Vere, daughter of John de Vere, 7th Earl of Oxford. Henry died on 25 July 1369; his widow Margaret died on 15 June 1398. They were the parents of a son and two daughters:

1, John Beaumont (1360/1361-1396), of whom next.
2, Eleanor, who married Richard de Molines.
3, Catherine, who married Sir John Stourton (v. 1381), Sheriff of Dorset and Somerset.

Their only son:

The Garter stall plate of John Beaumont, 4th Baron Beaumont, KG

John Beaumont (1361-1396), 4th Lord Beaumont. He was born in Brabant (present-day Belgium) in 1361. He fought against the forces of Pope Clement VII in the Hundred Years’ War. He was knighted by King Edward III, and was in 1389 briefly Warden of the West March, Admiral of the North (sea), and in 1392 was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. He was made a Knight of the Garter and was one of the Embassy to France to demand Princess Isabel in marriage for the King.

In 1389, he married Catherine Everingham (1367-1426), daughter of Sir Thomas Everingham of Laxton, Nottinghamshire. John died on 9 September 1396; his widow Catherine died in 1426.

John and Catherine were the parents of three sons and two daughters:

1, Henry Beaumont (1379/1380-1413), 5th Lord Beaumont, of whom next.
2, Richard Beaumont.
3, Sir Thomas Beaumont (died 1457), Lord of Bascquerville in France. In 1458, he married Philippa Marward, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Marward, of Quartermarshe, Leicestershire. They are the ancestors of Beaumont families in Leicestershire.
4, Eleanora, a nun at Amesbury Abbey.
5, Elizabeth (or Cecilia), who was born in 1389, and married before 1411 William de Botreaux (1389-1462), 3rd Lord Botreaux.

The eldest named son:

Henry Beaumont (1379/1380-1413), 5th Lord Beaumont. He was born in 1379/1380. Before July 1405, he married Elizabeth, daughter of William Willoughby, 5th Lord Willoughby of Eresby. Henry died in June 1413; his widow Elizabeth died before 12 November 1428. They were the parents of at least two sons and five daughters:

1, John Beaumont, 1st Viscount Beaumont, Constable and Chamberlain. He died at Northampton on 7 October 1460, and is the ancestor of later holders of the tirle of baron Beaumont.
2, Henry Beaumont (1411-ca 1447/1448), ancestor of the Beaumont family of Wednesbury, of whom next.
3, Elizabeth, who died in July 1447; she was married three times: 1 (ca 1418), William Deincourt, 6th Lord (died 1422); 2 (ca 1427), Sir Richard Hastings (died 1436); 3, Sir Thomas Neville.
4, Katherine.
5, Margery.
6, Margaret.
7, Elinora.

The second named son:

Henry Beaumont (1410/1411-ca 1447/1448) of Wednesbury and Tynmore. He was born ca 1410/1411. He settled at Thorpe, Yorkshire. He married as her second husband ca 1439 Joan Heronville, daughter and heiress of William Heronville of Wednesbury and widow of William Leventhope of Wednesbury. Henry died ca 1447/1448; his widow Joan subsequently married in or before 1452 her third husband, Charles Nowell, of Ellenhall, Staffordshire, and she was still alive in 1460. When she died, Wednesbury Manor was inherited by her only son.

Henry and Joan Beaumont were the parents of a son and a daughter:

1, (Sir) Henry Beaumont (1446-1471) of Wednesbury, of whom next.
2, Annis.

The only son:

Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Wednesbury, where Sir Henry Beaumont was buried

(Sir) Henry Beaumont (1446-1471), of Wednesbury, Staffordshire, and Egginton, Derbyshire. He was appointed High Sheriff of Staffordshire on 11 April 1471, and was knighted at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 3 May 1471. He married Eleanor, daughter and heiress of John Sutton, 4th Baron Dudley. He died on 16 November 1471 and was buried in Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Wednesbury.

The splendid interior of Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Wednesbury

In his will, proved on 30 November 1471, he left his lands at Egginton, Derbyshire, to his wife Eleanor, and the rest of his estates to his eldest son John. He asked to be buried in Wednesbury Church and that a chaplain should celebrate mass for him for three years after his death. He left 100 shillings to the church to pay for the chaplain’s services.

Henry and Eleanor Beaumont were the parents of:

1, (Sir) John Beaumont (1470-1503) of Wednesbury, of whom next.
2, James Beaumont, ancestor of the Beaumont family in Suffolk.
3, Constance, who was born ca 1467; she married in1508, John Mytton of Weston under Lyziard, Staffordshire, who died on 13 October 1532.

Henry Beaumont’s widow Eleanor later married her second husband George Stanley of Handsworth, near Birmingham.

The eldest son:

(Sir) John Beaumont (1470-1503) of Wednesbury, may be the same John Beaumont who acted as page at the coronation of King Richard III in 1483. Sir John Beaumont inherited the Manor of Timmor, in the Parish of Saint Michael, Lichfield, and near Fisherwick, Staffordshire, the Manor of Wednesbury, Staffordshire, and the Manor of Eqginton, Derbyshire. In 1498, he and about 200 people were charged with riotous conduct at Wednesbury, and for being armed with bows, arrows, lances and other unlawful weapons with the intent of proceeding to Walsall to demand the release of a man from Wednesbury and another from Dudley. The Mayor of Walsall petitioned the Star Chamber to cite the leaders before the council, but the charges were dropped, and the leaders were bound over to keep the peace. After John died in 1502, the ownership of the Manor of Wednesbury passed to his three daughters.

Sir John Beaumont married Elizabeth, daughter of John Mitton, of Weston, Staffordshire, and they were the parents of three daughters:

1, Joan, who died on 18 March 1579. She married Humphrey Babington, brother of William Babington (see below).
2, Dorothy, born ca 1499. She married Humphrey Comberford of Comberford, Staffordshire, and they were the parents of two sons and three daughters.
3, Eleanor, born ca 1500. She married Humphrey Babington of Rotherby, Leicestershire, a brother of William Babington (see above).

The arms of Comberford impaling Beaumont, representing the marriage of Humphrey Comberford and Dorothy Beaumont, from the ceiling of the Long Gallery in Moat House, Tamworth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

In accordance with their father’s will, the Beaumont estates were divided between the three sisters. Dorothy and her husband Humphrey Comberford inherited Wednesbury, and their son Thomas Comberford became lord of the manor.

The descent of Wednesbury to the Beaumont family:

Wednesbury Manor ... the remains of the manor house seen in an old postcard in 1892

Wednesbury is probably the site of an iron age fort (burgh) or hill (barrow). It is reputed to have been fortified by Ethelflaed, daughter of King Alfred, in 916 to protect the borders of the Kingdom of Mercia from Viking raids.

Little is known about the early history of the town and Manor of Wednesbury until it is recorded in the Domesday Book, which describes ‘Wednesberie’ as a manor consisting of ploughland and meadows surrounded with dense woodland.

In 1164, King Henry II exchanged the Manor of Wednesbury for the manor of Stonesfield in Oxfordshire. After the exchange, Wednesbury came under the control of a tenant of the d’Oyley family, Ralph Boterel, who became lord of the manor.

Ralph Boterel died in 1181 but he had never paid his rent. When William de Heronville took over the manor in 1182, he was charged with 18 years arrears, which he immediately agreed to pay.

William de Heronville became lord of the Manor of Wednesbury after marrying the daughter and heiress of Ralph Boterel. William, who rented the mill to the monks of Bordesley Abbey for 10 shillings a year, had died by 1225.

His son:

William de Heronville became lord of the manor of Wednesbury, and in January 1226 he conveyed the mill to the monks of Bordesley Abbey, who in turn sublet it to the Hillary family, lords of the manor of Bescot, for a free farm rent.

His son:

Simon de Heronville succeeded his father at Wednesbury, and was Lord of the Manor ca 1255. He died in 1259.

His son:

(Sir) John de Heronville inherited Wednesbury Manor in 1259, but had not yet come of age. He became the ward of the Earl and Countess of Warwick, who had taken over the barony of d’Oyley by marriage. He came of age ca 1261, and his son and heir, Henry was born in 1265. John married twice. His first wife was the sister and one of the heirs of William Fitzwarren of Tipton and as a result he gained a share in the manor of Tipton. He later married Juliana, who outlived him.

The arms of the Borough of Wednesbury included two lions from the coat-of-arms of the Heronville coat-of-arms

John de Heronville was knighted in 1272. The two lions on his coat-of-arms later featured in the coat of arms of the Borough of Wednesbury. He was one of the four Verderers of Cannock Forest.

John de Heronville died in 1315 and the manor came under the control of the son by his first wife, Henry Heronville. John’s widow Juliana was entitled to one-third of the estate for life, or as her dower, or until she remarried. Juliana’s share of the manor house included a hall, pantry, a solar (a private room on the sunny side of the house), a cellar beneath the solar, a brewhouse, a bakery, stables, a cow house, and a long sheep house. She also had her share of the dovecote, and 145 strips of arable land, part of John’s 120 acres.

The son and heir of John de Heronville was:

Henry de Heronville. He was aged 50 when he inherited Wednesbury Manor in 1315. His share of the estate included the manor house with courtyards and gardens, 120 acres of arable land, 10 acres of meadow, and a dwelling house formerly belonging to Thomas Trond, with 15 acres of arable land, including two acres of meadow.Henry died a year later, in 1316, and was succeeded by his son:

John Heronville (II) was aged 12 when he inherited Wednesbury in 1316. He died in 1354 and was succeeded by his son:

John de Heronville (III). He married Alice, the daughter and heir of John de Timmor, who succeeded to Timmor by 1341 and probably by 1333; he is likely to have been the John of Timmor who was a collector of the subsidy in Staffordshire in 1352; he may still have been living in 1373. Timmor was part of the Bishop of Lichfield’s manor of Lichfield (later Longdon) and remained so until at least 1739.

John de Heronville III died by 1403 and was succeeded by his son:

Henry de Heronville. He succeeded his father as lord of Wednesbury in 1403, was already lord of Timmor in 1392 and probably by 1379. He married Margaret ... He died in 1406, leaving three infant daughters as his heirs, and Timmor passed to his widow Margaret for the duration of her life.

Their three daughters were:

1, Joan, who was aged 4 in 1406.
2, Alice, who was aged 2 in 1406.
3, Margaret, who was aged 12 months in 1406.

These three daughters were co-heirs to their father’s estates at Wednesbury and Timmor, and to one-fifth of Tipton. As they were under age, a guardian appointed to look after them and as custodian of the manor. The first guardian was John Brown of Lichfield, but by 1415 their guardian was John de Leventhorp, a member of the royal household.

John de Leventhorp intended to keep the manor of Wednesbury in his hands, He married the eldest daughter and co-heir, Joan de Heronville, to his eldest son William Leventhorpe. In 1418, he then persuaded the two younger sisters to become nuns in Sempringham. As nuns their share of the estate would pass to their elder sister, Joan, so ensuring that William de Leventhorp became lord of the manor of Wednesbury.

William de Leventhrope and Joan (Heronville) had a daughter, Elizabeth, and around 1435 William created a trust on his land in Wednesbury, Fynchespath, Darlaston, and Tipton so that if Joan outlived him she would be entitled to the property for life, or until she remarried. It would then pass on to their daughter Elizabeth and her heirs. William de Leventhorpe died some time before 1446 and his widow, Joan (Heronville) married her second husband, Sir Henry Beaumont (see above), who became lord of the manor.

Henry Beaumont made a settlement of the Manor of Wednesbury for his wife, himself and their heirs.

Henry and Joan Beaumont were the parents of a son, also Henry Beaumont, who was born in 1446. Henry Beaumont senior died in 1447. In 1452, Henry’s widow Joan, resettled the manor upon trustees, including Charles Nowell of Ellenhall in Staffordshire. Charles became Joan’s third husband, and lord of the manor of Wednesbury. Joan died after 1460, and her son, Henry Beaumont II, became lord of the manor.


Burke’s Peerage, various editions, sv Beaumont.
Debrett’s Peerage, various editions, sv Beaumont.
William Dugdale, ‘The Heraldic Visitations of Staffordshire in 1614 and 1663-64,’ in Collections for a History of Staffordshire, William Salt Archaeological Society, Vol 5, No 2, 1884 (London, 1885).
John Ede, History of Wednesbury (Wednesbury, 1962).
S. Erdeswick, A Survey of Staffordshire, ed. T Harwood (1844). John Fetherston (ed), The Visitation of the county of Warwick taken by William Camden in the year 1619, Publications of the Harleian Society, vol xii (London, 1877).
Frederick William Hackwood, Wednesbury ancient and modern: being mainly its manorial and municipal history (1902).
‘Townships: Fisherwick with Tamhorn,’ A History of the County of Stafford: vol 14: Lichfield (1990), pp 237-252, (2.4.2007).
Visitations of Staffordshire, 1583, 1614

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Last updated: 19 June 2013, 31 July 2015; 25 May 2023.

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