Friday, 13 May 2022

(515) Beaumont of Grace Dieu, baronets, and of Barrow Hall

Beaumont of Barrow Hall
This post concerns the Beaumont families of Grace Dieu Priory and Barrow Hall, both cadet branches established in the 16th century of the Beaumonts of Coleorton and later of Stoughton Grange (who will be the subject of a future post). The immediate origins of John Beaumont (d. c.1558), a lawyer who purchased the site of Grace Dieu Priory in 1539 are uncertain. It would seem he was either the eldest son of Thomas Beaumont (d. 1532) of Thringstone (Leics) or a younger son of George Beaumont (d. 1531) of Cold Overton (Leics), with some secondary sources supporting one lineage and others the alternative: there seem to be no contemporary sources to provide certainty. On balance, the latter descent seems slightly more likely and has been suggested here. John was one of the aggressively acquisitive 'new men' of the Tudor age. Trained as a lawyer, he was for a time in the household of the Earl of Huntingdon and later came to the notice of Thomas Cromwell, who employed him in various matters concerned with the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s. He was the commissioner for the dissolution of Grace Dieu Priory in 1538, and tried to buy the site and adjacent lands directly from the Crown at that time. Although unsuccessful then, he was able to buy them from Sir Humphrey Foster the following year: perhaps typically, he paid £40 less for the property than he had offered the Crown the year before. In 1545 he became Receiver-General of the Court of Wards & Liveries, an office in which a great amount of Crown revenue passed through his hands, and in 1550 was further advanced to be Master of the Rolls (England's second most senior judge). By the end of 1551, however, he was in big trouble, and facing charges of fraud (to the tune of some £20,000) and forgery, which he admitted before the Star Chamber in 1553. He was obliged to resign his offices and forfeited all his property, but he was treated with some leniency (perhaps because others in Government recognised that he was only doing on a larger scale what was common practice at the time). His estates were granted to the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, who was his wife's uncle, and who allowed him to live at Grace Dieu. Some years later the 3rd Earl quietly returned the estates to John's widow, from whom they passed after her death to their son, Francis Beaumont (c.1540-98). 

John's role in the dissolution of the monasteries suggests that his sympathies lay with the new Protestant order, or at least that he was prepared to put profit and the advancement of his career before his religious scruples. His widow, however, remained a strong supporter of the Roman Catholic church, and she and her daughters and granddaughters were widely known to be recusants and harbourers of Catholic priests. When she died in 1588, Fr. Henry Garnet was at Grace Dieu and administered the last rites to her and read her funeral oration. Her son and successor, Francis Beaumont (c.1540-98), had been brought up in her Catholic household, but as an adult he conformed to the established church and was noted for the harsh penalties he issued to Catholics as a judge. His eldest son, Sir Henry Beaumont (c.1581-1605) may also have followed the Protestant path, but died young, whereupon the Grace Dieu estate passed to his brother, Sir John Beaumont (c.1582-1627), 1st bt., who was not only a Catholic but used his talents as a poet to articulate Catholic beliefs. Almost immediately after he came into possession of Grace Dieu, most of his property was confiscated and he was placed under a form of house arrest. Not until 1610 did he regain freedom of movement, and later still did he recover his estates. His rehabilitation was completed by King Charles I, who made him a baronet shortly before his death. Perhaps the most famous member of the family was Sir John's younger brother, Francis Beaumont (c.1584-1616), who was one half of the 'Beaumont & Fletcher' playwrighting partnership, who were arguably as celebrated in their day as William Shakespeare or Ben Jonson; when he died, Francis was buried in 'Poets Corner' in Westminster Abbey, as was Sir John.

The death of the 1st baronet brought his title and estates to his eldest son, Sir John Beaumont (1607-43), 2nd bt., a somewhat enigmatic figure who would merit further study. He inherited some of his father's literary interests and abilities, and published some of his father's work (which had only circulated in manuscript during his lifetime). In the mid 1630s he obtained permission to travel in France and Spain and if he was not working as a spy he was at least passing on intelligence and gossip about the actions and intentions of the French and Spanish royal families to the authorities in London. By 1640 he was an officer in the army, and when the Civil War broke out he was firmly in the king's camp. He was killed during the abortive Royalist siege of Gloucester, and since he was unmarried, his property and title passed to his younger brother, Sir Thomas Beaumont (1620-86), 3rd bt, although his property was seized by Parliament. Sir Thomas was acknowledged to be a Catholic and his sentiments were Royalist, but unlike his elder brother he was never in arms against Parliament, and he was eventually allowed to compound for his estates in 1651. By then he was married and busy producing a large family, but all his nine children were daughters. It was probably to keep Grace Dieu in the name and lineage of Beaumont that he arranged for his eldest daughter Cicely (c.1648-95) to marry her distant cousin, Robert Beaumont (1655-1727) of Barrow Hall, and then to bequeath them the Grace Dieu estate. If such was his intention, however, his move failed, for Robert and Cicely sold the estate to Sir Ambrose Phillipps of Garendon Hall in about 1690, and Sir Ambrose demolished much of the house in 1696.

The lineage of the Beaumonts of Barrow-upon-Trent can be traced back to Edward Beaumont (fl. 1552), who was a son of Thomas Beaumont (d. 1532) of Thringston (Leics), and thus either the brother or second cousin of John Beaumont (d. c.1558) of Grace Dieu. Edward bought two properties at Barrow in the mid 16th century, which descended to his elder son, William Beaumont (d. 1592), who also had a house in Derby which may have been his main residence. William's son, the notably long-lived Francis Beaumont (c.1569-1661), acquired and probably rebuilt Barrow Hall, which thenceforward became the family's principal residence, although it was quite a modest house, taxed on only 8 hearths in 1664. By then it had passed to Francis's son, John Beaumont (c.1612-97), who in turn left it to the Robert Beaumont (1655-1727) who married the heiress to Grace Dieu. It is possible that the sale of Grace Dieu was followed by the improvement of Barrow Hall, but there is no evidence known to support this conjecture and the house was described as 'ancient' later in the 18th century. The Barrow Hall branch of the family were as strongly Catholic as their cousins at Grace Dieu, and so were subject to severe financial penalties in the late 17th and early 18th century which no doubt constrained their capacity for building. John Beaumont (1691-1763) is said to have taken an active part in the 1715 rebellion, but although detained for a time was eventually allowed to return to his estates. His son, John Beaumont (1730-1806) was educated at Douai in France and never married, so on his death Barrow Hall passed to his nephew, John Beaumont (1779-1834), who was, unusually for a Catholic, a freemason. Freemasonry brought him the friendship of the Duke of Devonshire, who as Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire made him a JP immediately after the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act. He was probably also introduced at his lodge to Richard Leaper, the Derby amateur architect, whom he employed to rebuild Barrow Hall in 1807-08. The cost of building and keeping up appearances whittled away John's estate, and by the time he died there was little left for his widow and four sons. The house was let and later sold after his widow's death. His sons were all under ten when he died and the three who survived to adulthood were obliged to seek their fortunes abroad. John Beaumont (b. 1826), who inherited the little there was left, married a Belgian girl and settled near Ostend; the other two emigrated to Australia.

Grace Dieu Priory, Belton, Leicestershire

The priory of Grace Dieu was founded between 1236 and 1243 by Rose de Verdon for Augustinian canonesses. It was always a fairly small house and in 1377 had sixteen nuns and maintained a hospital for twelve poor people. In the 1530s, John Beaumont (d. c.1558) was the royal commissioner for the dissolution of the priory. John evidently found the site and lands of the priory desirable, and tried to buy it from the Crown. His bid was unsuccessful and the property was acquired by Sir Humphrey Foster who in 1539 sold it on to Beaumont for £460 (£40 less than John had offered to the Crown the previous year!). The buildings were then, like so many other monasteries, converted into a house. The aisleless church, which apparently lay on the north side of the cloister, was perhaps demolished at this time, as the only remains of it are three lumps of masonry marking the piers of the tower. The claustral buildings were made into the house, and although their ruins still stand to a considerable height, an engraving of 1730 show that rather more remained then than now. 

Grace Dieu Priory: the engraving of 1730 by S. & N. Buck shows the ruins of the house as they existed at that time.

Grace Dieu Priory: the ruins as they existed in c,1870, from the south-east. Image: Historic England
The rectangular chapter house in the east range can still be identified, and the long range on the south side of the cloister with two-light windows with arched lights was probably the dormitory range. This has early and late Tudor fireplaces and was probably the heart of the Beaumonts' house. Sadly, little more is known of the building, which was sold in 1690 to Sir Ambrose Phillipps of Garendon Hall, who pulled most of it down in 1696. In the early 19th century, the Grace Dieu estate was given by his father to Ambrose Phillipps de Lisle, who built a new house a few hundred yards south-east of the priory, an account of which will be given in a future post.

Descent: Crown granted 1538 to Sir Humphrey Foster; sold 1539 to John Beaumont (d. c.1558); seized by Crown in 1552 and granted to Francis Hastings (d. 1561), 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, who reconveyed it c.1562 to Elizabeth Beaumont (d. 1588), the widow of John; to son, Francis Beaumont (c.1540-98); to son, Sir Henry Beaumont (c.1581-1605), kt.; to brother, Sir John Beaumont (c.1582-1627), 1st bt.; to son, Sir John Beaumont (1607-44), 2nd bt.; to brother, Sir Thomas Beaumont (1620-86), 3rd bt.; to daughter, Cicely (c.1648-95), wife of Robert Beaumont (1655-1727) of Barrow Hall; sold 1690 to Sir  Ambrose Phillipps (1637-91), kt.; to son, William Phillipps (d. 1729); to son, Ambrose Phillipps (c.1707-37); to brother, Samuel Phillipps (d. 1777); to widow, Mary (d. 1797) (later wife of Sir William Gordon) for life and then to Thomas March (later Phillipps) (d. 1817); to son, Charles March Phillipps (1779-1862); given to son, Ambrose Lisle March Phillipps (later Phillipps de Lisle) (1809-78); to son, Ambrose Charles Lisle March Phillipps de Lisle (1834-83); to son, Everard March Phillipps de Lisle (1862-1947); to son, Edward William March Phillips de Lisle (1894-1957); to kinsman, Ambrose Paul Jordan de Lisle (1894-1963); to son, Gerard Marchant Phillips de Lisle (b. 1940) and managed by Grace Dieu Priory Trust.

Barrow Hall, Barrow-on-Trent, Derbyshire

The family's first house at Barrow, presumably built soon after they acquired the site at the beginning of the 17th century, was a modest building, taxed on only eight hearths in 1664 and described as 'ancient' in the 18th century. Their capacity for improving the house in the 17th and early 18th centuries was presumably limited by the fines they incurred for their recusant beliefs. John Beaumont (1779-1834), who inherited the estate from his uncle in 1806, built a new house in 1807-08, very probably to the designs of the Derby amateur architect, Richard Leaper (1759-1838), whose own house near Derby (Parkfields Cedars) was markedly similar, and whom he will have known through their shared membership of the Tyrian Lodge of freemasons. 

Barrow Hall: entrance front in the mid 20th century. Image: © Maxwell Craven.
The new house was of two storeys with a lower service wing to its east, and perhaps stood on a different site to its predecessor, but incorporated some reused fabric from it which was only revealed during demolition. It had a severe neo-classical five-bay entrance front facing north, with the central bay projecting as a broad full-height curved bow surmounted by a dome and fronted by a Doric portico. 

Barrow Hall: the garden front in the early 20th century. Image: © Maxwell Craven
The seven-bay garden front, though also plain, was of a more relaxed and traditional appearance, with the central three bays breaking forward under a simplified floating pediment containing a cartouche of the Beaumont arms above crossed palm fronds. The whole house was of brick, covered with Roman cement lined to simulate ashlar. Inside, there was a domed top-lit circular entrance hall and beyond it a cantilevered stone staircase with a filigree cast iron banister rail; the latter was lit by a stained glass window expressing the family's Catholic heritage. In 1853 there were five other reception rooms and eight principal bedrooms. A newspaper report of 1877 states that after standing empty for some years the hall was redecorated for the incoming new owner by Mr Cantrell of Derby, and a photograph of the interior suggests that this involved remodelling some of the interiors in a heavy Victorian Rococo style. The house was unoccupied at the outbreak of the Second World War and was requisitioned for use as a home for evacuees. After the war it was divided into five flats, but it burnt down on 11 September 1956 and the shell was subsequently demolished. The 'very pretty' parkland was subsequently largely built over, although two Gothick lodges survive.

Descent: probably built for Francis Beaumont (c.1569-1661); to son, John Beaumont (c.1612-97); to son, Robert Beaumont (1655-1727); to son John Beaumont (1691-1763); to son John Beaumont (1730-1806); to nephew, John Beaumont (1779-1834); to widow, Hon. Elizabeth Mary Beaumont (1806-68); to son, John Beaumont (b. 1826); sold 1877 to Lt-Col. J.F. Pountain, who was declared a lunatic; sold 1888 to James Eadie (1827-1904) of Burton-on-Trent, brewer; to son, John Thom Clarke Eadie (1861-1923); to brother, James Eadie (d. 1926); to nephew, Maj. James Alister Eadie; requisitioned 1941 as evacuee hostel; sold 1947 to H. Castledine, who divided it into flats; burnt 1956 and demolished.

Beaumont family of Grace Dieu, baronets


Beaumont, Sir John (d. 1461). Eldest son of Sir Thomas Beaumont (c.1385-1457), captain of Château-Gaillard in Normandy (France), Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle, and his wife Philippa, daughter of Sir Thomas Maureward. He was a soldier in the service of King Henry VI, and died on active service at the Battle of Towton, 1461, after which he was posthumously attainted and his estates seized by King Edward IV. He married Joan, daughter of John d'Arcy and had issue (probably among others):
(1) Sir John Beaumont (1446-1531), kt.; inherited his father's estates in Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Devon after the reversal of the attainder on the accession of King Henry VII in 1485; knighted at the installation of Prince Arthur as Prince of Wales, 1490; married, 9 March 1514, Alice, daughter of Sir William Fielding but had no issue; died 11 August 1531, when his estates passed to his great-nephew, Richard Beaumont (1491-1538);
(2) George Beaumont (d. 1531) (q.v.);
(3) Henry Beaumont; died young;
(4) William Beaumont; died young;
(5) Richard Beaumont; died young;
(6) Robert Beaumont; died young.
He inherited Coleorton Hall and property in France from his father in 1457, but the French estates were lost when the English Crown lost its possessions in France. Under a retrospective Act of Attainder passed on 16 May 1461 his estates were confiscated and handed to Sir Richard Hastings, Baron Welles; the attainder was reversed in 1485.
He was killed at the Battle of Towton, 29 March 1461. His widow's date of death is unknown.

Beaumont, George (d. 1531). Second son of Sir John Beaumont of Coleorton Hall (d. 1461) and his wife Joan d'Arcy, born before 1461.  He married 1st, Thomasin, daughter of [forename unknown] Motun and 2nd, Joan, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Pauncefoote (fl. 1478) of Northall and Hasfield (Glos), and had issue:
(2.1) William Beaumont (d. 1529); married Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Basset of Blore (Staffs) and had issue seven sons (the eldest of whom, Richard Beaumont (1491-1538) inherited the Coleorton estate from his great-uncle, John Beaumont (1446-1531)) and two daughters; died in the lifetime of his father, 1529;
(2.2) John Beaumont (d. c.1558) (q.v.);
(2.3) Edmund Beaumont; married Katherine Lexham and had issue one son (who died in infancy) and one daughter;
(2.4) Ann Beaumont; married twice but died without issue.
He lived at Cold Overton (Leics).
He died in 1531. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Beaumont, John (d. c. 1558). Probably the second son of George Beaumont (d. 1531) and his wife Joan, daughter of Thomas Pauncefoote of Hasfield (Glos), born before 1508*. Educated at Clements Inn (Reader, 1530) and the Inner Temple (admitted by 1527; disciplined for quarrelling, 1529; called by 1533; Reader, 1538, 1543; Treasurer and Governor, 1547-48). He was counsel to the Earl of Huntingdon by 1533, and was employed by the Crown as a commissioner for the ecclesiastical survey of Leicestershire, 1534-35 and for the suppression of Grace Dieu Priory, 1538. JP for Leicestershire, 1531-32 and Derbyshire, 1543-52; Custos Rotulorum for Leicestershire from c.1544. MP for Leicester, 1539, 1542, Bossiney (Cornwall), 1554 and Liverpool, 1555. Receiver-General of the Court of Wards, 1545-51; Surveyor for Leicestershire and Derbyshire to the Court of Augmentations by 1552; Recorder of Leicester, 1537-42, 1550-51 and Master of the Rolls, 1550-52. He abused his position with the Court of Wards, speculating with the revenues and forging the signature of the Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, on a deed. The forgery was discovered and, in February 1552, Beaumont was committed to the Fleet Prison and brought before the Star Chamber, where he confessed to the charges. He surrendered all his property and resigned from his posts, but was treated with surprising leniency, being allowed to resume the practice of law and having the furniture from his London house returned to him. His Leicestershire estates were granted to Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon (apparently his wife's uncle), who allowed him to continue living at Grace Dieu. His chambers in the Inner Temple were reassigned in January 1555/6, which probably marks the cessation of his legal practice. He married 1st, Isabella, daughter of Lawrence Dutton of Dutton (Ches.), and 2nd, before 22 May 1539, Elizabeth (d. 1588), daughter of William Hastings, probably the younger son of George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, and had issue:
(1.1) Dorothy Beaumont; married John Hall of Warwickshire;
(1.2) Anne Beaumont (fl. 1588); married Thomas Ashby (fl. 1567) of Lowesby (Leics);
(2.1) Francis Beaumont (c.1540-98), kt. (q.v.);
(2.2) Henry Beaumont (c.1543-85), born about 1543; educated at Inner Temple (admitted 1561; called 1570; bencher, 1580; reader, 1585); purchased the manor of Normanton near Derby, 1582; MP for Derby, 1584; died unmarried 9 August 1585 and was buried in the Temple church, London, where he was commemorated by a monument; will proved 7 February 1585/6;
(2.3) Elizabeth Beaumont (d. 1562); married, before 1 June 1557, William Vaux (c.1535-95), 3rd Baron Vaux of Harrowden (Northants) (who m2, 1563/4, Mary (d. 1597), daughter of John Tresham of Rushton (Northants)), and had issue one son and three daughters who were raised after her death by their grandmother at Grace Dieu (one of the daughters became a nun in France and the other two were noted priest-harbourers and later involved in the Gunpowder Plot); she died following childbirth and was buried at Irthlingborough (Northants), 12 August 1562;
(2.4) Jane Beaumont (d. 1609?); married, as his second wife, Robert Brooksby (d. 1615) of Shoby and Saxelby (Leics), son of Anthony Brooksby, but had no issue; probably the 'Joan Broksby' buried at Saxelby, 9 November 1609.
He purchased the site of Grace Dieu Priory and property in Charnwood Forest from Sir Humphrey Foster in 1539. He surrendered his Leicestershire property to the Crown, which granted it to Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon. The 3rd Earl released the estates to his widow in 1562.
He was evidently still living on 5 March 1558 (when provision was made in an Act of Parliament to forestall his making any future claim on Southwell College, which he had granted to the Crown in 1552 at the time of his disgrace), but probably died soon afterwards. His first wife died before 1539. His widow lived at Grace Dieu and was a noted recusant who sheltered Catholic priests, probably including Fr. Edmund Campion; she died in 1588; her will was proved in the PCC, 15 August 1588.
* La Zouche gives his date of birth as 1503 but states no source for this. She follows Burke's Landed Gentry in accepting an alternative descent from Thomas Beaumont of Thringstone which is apparently supported by a manuscript pedigree of the Beaumonts of Stoughton Grange. However, I follow the History of Parliament which gives his father's name as George, although he is there said to be George's eldest son, which cannot be correct or he would have inherited the Coleorton estate, and the statement should perhaps be 'eldest surviving son'.

Beaumont, Francis (c.1540-98)*. Elder son of John Beaumont (d. c.1558) and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of William Hastings, born about 1540. Educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge (matriculated before 1564) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1559; called 1568; bencher, 1578; reader, 1581). He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, but disappointed his family by later conforming to the established church, and as a judge he was noted for the harshness of some of his decisions about Catholics. He was a Serjeant-at-Law, 1589-93 and a Justice of Common Pleas, 1593-98. MP for Aldeburgh (Suffk), 1572. He became a wealthy man and in 1588 headed the list of contributors to the Defence of the Realm Fund from Leicestershire, with a gift of £20. He married, perhaps c.1579, Anne, daughter of George Pierrepont (1510-64) of Holme Pierrepont (Notts) and widow of Thomas Thorold (d. 1574), son of Sir Anthony Thorold of Marston (Lincs), and had issue:
(1) Sir Henry Beaumont (c.1581-1605), kt. (q.v.);
(2) Sir John Beaumont (c.1582-1627), 1st bt. (q.v.);
(3) Francis Beaumont (c.1584-1616), born about 1584; educated at Broadgate Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1596/7) and Inner Temple (admitted 1600); dramatist, who lived and collaborated with John Fletcher, achieving a celebrity equal in his day to that of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson; he married, 1613, Ursula, daughter of Henry Ilsley of Sundridge (Kent) and had issue two daughters; he died from a stroke, and was buried in Poets Corner, Westminster Abbey, close to the grave of Geoffrey Chaucer, 9 March 1615/6;
(4) Elizabeth Beaumont (1589-c.1640); married, 13 May 1608 at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey (Surrey), Sir Thomas Seyliard (1578-1649) of Delaware, Brasted (Kent), and had issue four sons and nine daughters; died about 1640.
He inherited Grace Dieu Priory and the associated lands from his mother in 1588. With the profits of his legal practice he purchased lands in ten parishes in Leicestershire and three manors in Derbyshire.
He died at Grace Dieu, 22 April 1598, reputedly from an infection caught from prisoners he was trying at the Lancashire Assizes, and was buried at Belton (Leics); his will was proved 8 May 1598. His wife predeceased him but her date of death is unknown.
* Some sources, including Burke's Landed Gentry, assert that he was knighted, but in his will, made on the day before his death, he describes himself as 'Frances Beaumont Esquire'.

Beaumont, Sir Henry (c.1581-1605), kt. Eldest son of Francis Beaumont (c.1540-98) and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir George Pierrepont of Holme Pierrepont (Notts) and widow of Thomas Thorold of Marston (Lincs), born about 1581. Educated at Broadgates Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1597; BA 1600) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1597). He is said to have been appointed a Justice of Common Pleas at an improbably tender age*. He was knighted at Worksop (Notts) in April 1603 during King James I's progress from Scotland to London. He married, 1604 (licence), Barbara (1581-1649), daughter of Anthony Faunt of Foston (Leics), and had issue:
(1) Barbara Beaumont (1605-66), born posthumously, about September 1605; a ward of the king; married 1st, Sir John Harpur (d. 1627) of Swarkestone (Derbys) and 2nd, Sir Wolstan Dixie (c.1602-82) of Market Bosworth (who m2, Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Beaumont (c.1555-1614) of Stoughton Grange); died about 28 December and was buried 31 December 1666.
He inherited Grace Dieu Priory from his father in 1598. His will divided his property between his widow, his sister and his brothers.
He died 10 July and was buried at Belton (Leics), 13 July 1605; an inquisition post mortem was held at Leicester, 10 August 1609. His widow married 2nd, December 1609 at Swarkestone (Derbys), Sir Henry Harpur (1579-1639), 1st bt. of Calke Abbey (Derbys) and had further issue three sons and six daughters; she died 2 July and was buried in All Saints, Derby (now the Cathedral), 4 July 1649, where she is commemorated by a monument; her will was proved in the PCC, 6 February 1649/50.
* But he does not appear in Sir John Sainty's The Judges of England, 1272-1990 (1993).

Beaumont, Sir John (c.1582-1627), 1st bt. Second son of Francis Beaumont (c.1540-98) and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir George Pierrepont of Holme Pierrepont (Notts) and widow of Thomas Thorold of Marston (Lincs), born about 1582. Educated at Broadgates Hall, Oxford (matriculated 1596) and Inner Temple (admitted 1598). A Roman Catholic in religion. He became a poet and scholar, writing a number of poems that expressed his Catholic beliefs: in his lifetime these circulated in manuscript but were not published. Immediately after he inherited the family estates from his brother, he was convicted of recusancy, and his estates were assigned to King James I's Scottish favourite, Sir James Sempill, 'for him to make profit of'. In 1607 two-thirds of his estates were sequestered and although he was allowed to retain Grace Dieu as his residence, he was required to remain within five miles of it, effectively under house arrest. He regained his liberty in 1610 and in 1616-23 he was involved in the (ultimately unsuccessful) effort to found a Royal Academy in London. His fortunes further recovered after Charles I came to the throne and he was created a baronet in 1627. He married, c. 1606, at Belton (Leics), Elizabeth (d. 1652), daughter of John Fortescue of London and a descendant of George, Duke of Clarence, brother of King Edward IV, and had issue:
(1) Sir John Beaumont (1607-43), 2nd bt. (q.v.);
(2) Fr. Francis Beaumont SJ (b. 1609?), said to have been born 13 January 1608/9; a poet and Jesuit Roman Catholic priest; died before 1643;
(3) Henry Beaumont (b. 1610), said to have been born 13 April 1610; died unmarried;
(4) Elizabeth Beaumont (b. c. 1611); probably died unmarried;
(5) Helen Beaumont (1611?-35), said to have been born 5 June 1611; Benedictine nun in Ghent (professed, 1631; name in religion, Sr. Aloysia); died unmarried, 9 April 1635;
(6) Anne Beaumont (b. 1612?), said to have been born 26 September 1612; died young;
(7) Gervaise Beaumont (1614-21), born 1614; died young, 1621; his father memorialised his death in an affecting poem;
(8) Catherine Beaumont (1615-82), said to have been born 31 July 1615; Benedictine nun in Ghent (professed, 1637; name in religion, Sr. Marina) and later at Ypres, where she was a founder member of the community and abbess. 1669-82; died unmarried, 27 August 1682;
(9) Mary Beaumont (1617-50), born 7 July 1617; married 1st, Sir Edmund Williams (d. 1644) of Marnhull (Dorset); married 2nd, before 1647, John Tasburgh of Flixton and Gedney (Norfk), and had one son and two daughters (the latter both being Benedictine nuns in Ghent); administration of goods granted to her widower, 18 January 1650/1;
(10) George Beaumont (b. 1618), said to have been born 23 November 1616 or 1618; died unmarried;
(11) Sir Thomas Beaumont (c.1620-86), 3rd bt. (q.v.);
(12) Charles Beaumont (b. c. 1622?), said to have been born 6 February 1621/2 or 1622/3; died young from tuberculosis.
He inherited Grace Dieu Priory from his elder brother in 1605. 
He died 19 April and was buried in 'Poets Corner' in Westminster Abbey, 29 April 1627; he died intestate and administration of his goods was granted 3 January 1628/9. His widow died 5 May 1652.

Beaumont, Sir John (1607-43), 2nd bt. Eldest son of Sir John Beaumont (c.1582-1607), 1st bt., and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Fortescue of London, born 24 June 1607. He was a minor poet and also edited some of his father's works for publication. He is said to have been a notable athlete and extremely strong. In 1634-35 he was travelling in France and Spain and was in regular touch with Sir Francis Windebank, the Secretary of State, passing on intelligence and keeping an eye on Windebank's second son, Francis, who was travelling in France. He was an officer in the army (Major) by 1640 and sided with the Royalists on the outbreak of the Civil War, being killed during the siege of Gloucester. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Grace Dieu Priory from his father in 1627.
He died near Gloucester in September 1643; limited administration of his goods was granted in 1652.

Beaumont, Sir Thomas (1620-86), 3rd bt. Sixth son of Sir John Beaumont (c.1582-1607), 1st bt., and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Fortescue of London, born 29 April 1620. He was a Royalist during the Civil War but took no part in the fighting: he took refuge in the castle at Ashby-de-la-Zouch until it surrendered. His family estate was sequestered because of his brother's activities, as was his mother's jointure; he was not allowed to compound for his estate until 1651, but the fine of £1,190 set in 1549 was eventually reduced to £540 for payment in cash*. He married, c.1645, Vere (b. 1622), daughter of Sir William Tufton, 1st bt., of Vintners and Boxley (Kent), Governor of Barbados, and had issue:
(1) Cicely Beaumont (c.1648-95); inherited Grace Dieu Priory from her father in 1686 but sold it c.1690 to Sir Ambrose Phillipps; married Robert Beaumont (1655-1727) of Barrow Hall [for whom see below under Beaumont of Barrow Hall], and had issue two sons and two daughters; buried at Swarkestone, 7 July 1695;
(2) Catherine Beaumont; died young;
(3) Elizabeth Beaumont; died young;
(4) Marina Beaumont; died young;
(5) Mary Beaumont; died young;
(6) Vere Beaumont (d. 1697); married, 31 May 1683 at Sheepshed (Leics), Sir John Rayney (1660-1705), 3rd bt. of Wrotham (Kent) (who m2, 29 December 1698  at St Bride, Fleet St., London, Jane (d. 1700), eldest daughter and coheir of Thomas Manley of Rochester (Kent) and m3, Jane (d. 1714), daughter of Sir Demetrius James of Ightham (Kent), by whom he had further issue two daughters), and had issue two sons and two daughters; died 7 December 1697 and was buried at Wrotham, where she is commemorated by a monument;
(7) Mary Beaumont (b. 1654), born 26 February 1654/5; married, 10 August 1681 at Whitwick (Leics), George Morton of Sileby (Leics);
(8) Jane Beaumont (c.1655-1739); married Charles Byerley of Belgrave (Leics), a Roman Catholic, and had issue; died 21/22 February and was buried at Belgrave, 25 February 1738/9; her will was proved in Leicester, 1739;
(9) Anne Beaumont; married Robert Pawley.
He inherited Grace Dieu Priory from his elder brother in 1643. At his death it passed to his eldest daughter. In 1664 he inherited Vinters in right of his wife, on the death of her brother Charles.
He died 7 July 1686, when his baronetcy became extinct, and was buried at Belton (Leics), 8 July 1686. His widow married 2nd, 8 December 1686 at St Marylebone (Middx), George Lane, a dancing master; she was living in 1693 but her date of death is unknown.
* Care is needed to distinguish this Sir Thomas from his namesake, the Parliamentarian Sir Thomas Beaumont of Stoughton Grange, who was made a baronet by Cromwell in 1658, and although the honour was disallowed at the Restoration, was so created again by Charles II in 1661.

Beaumont family of Barrow Hall


Beaumont, Thomas (c.1470-1532). Grandson of Thomas Beaumont (c.1385-1457) and son of Thomas Beaumont (d. 1495) of Thringstone and his wife Hawise, daughter of Sir Robert Motun of Peckleton (Leics), perhaps born about 1470. He married Anne, daughter of Christopher Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt (Oxon), and had issue*:
(1) Edward Beaumont (fl. 1552) (q.v.);
(2) Anne Beaumont;
(3) Mary Beaumont; married Richard Storey of Braunston (Leics);
(4) Dorothy Beaumont; married John Rigmaiden.
He lived at Thringston (Leics).
He died in 1532 (22 Henry VIII). His wife's date of death is unknown.
* Some accounts, including Burke's Landed Gentry, also make him the father of John Beaumont of Grace Dieu, for whom see above.

Beaumont, Edward (fl. 1552). Probably the only son of Thomas Beaumont (c.1470-1532) and his wife Anne, daughter of Christopher Harcourt of Stanton Harcourt (Oxon). He married Anne Milgate or Milnegate of Lockington (Leics), and had issue (probably among others):
(1) William Beaumont (d. 1592) (q.v.);
(2) Christopher Beaumont (fl. 1581); educated at Oxford (matriculated 1569) and Grays Inn (admitted 1576; called 1581); barrister-at-law.
He purchased the rectory estate at Barrow-on-Trent (Derbys) in 1549 and the Arleston House estate there in 1552.
His date of death is unknown. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Beaumont, William (d. 1592). Son of Edward Beaumont (fl. 1552) and his wife Anne Milgate of Lockington (Leics). He is said to have entertained Mary Queen of Scots at his house in Derby in 1568/9, when she was on her way to Tutbury Castle (Staffs) to be held under house arrest in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury. He married Elizabeth Sutton of Derby and is said to have had issue:
(1) Francis Beaumont (c.1569-1661) (q.v.).
(2) Elizabeth Beaumont; married Isaac Bennet of Derby;
(3) Dorothy Beaumont; married William Neale of Derby;
(4) Edward Beaumont; died young;
(5) Edward Beaumont;
(6) William Beaumont;
(7) Christopher Beaumont;
(8) Thomas Beaumont;
(9) Helen Beaumont;
(10) Mary Beaumont;
(11) Anne Beaumont;
(12) Jane Beaumont.
He inherited Arleston House from his father and also had a house in Derby.
He died 30 July 1592. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Beaumont, Francis (c.1569-1661). Son of William Beaumont (d. 1592) and his wife Elizabeth Sutton of Derby, born about 1569. He is said to have been a Major in the Royalist army during the Civil War, but he would then have been over 70, and his name does not appear in the most authoritative listing of Royalist officers. He married, c.1607, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Simon Bracebridge of Twyford (Derbys) and Atherstone Hall (Warks), and had issue:
(1) Edward Beaumont (d. 1660), who was disinherited by his father; died unmarried in France, 1660;
(2) John Beaumont (c.1612-97) (q.v.);
(3) Anne Beaumont.
He inherited Arleston House from his father in 1592, but sold it in 1601 when he moved to Barrow Hall, which he probably rebuilt or remodelled.
He died aged 92 in 1661. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Beaumont, John (c.1612-97). Younger son of Francis Beaumont (c.1569-1661) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Simon Bracebridge of Twyford (Derbys), said to have been born about 1612. He married 1st, Dorothy, daughter of John Powtrell of West Hallam (Derbys) and 2nd, Barbara, daughter of Edward Willoughby of Cotham (Notts), and had issue including*:
(2.1) Robert Beaumont (1655-1727) (q.v.);
(2.2) Henry Beaumont; married, 26 September 1695 at Swarkestone (Derbys), Sarah Parker;
(2.3) Charles Beaumont (b. c.1670), born in or before 1670; administrator of his father's estate; married, 29 September 1695 at Barrow-upon-Trent, Eleanor Ross; living in 1699.
He inherited Barrow Hall from his father in 1661.
He was buried at Swarkestone (Derbys), 8 December 1697; administration of his goods was granted at Lichfield, 28 April 1699. His first wife died without issue. His second wife's date of death is unknown.
* E.T. Beaumont, The Beaumonts in history (1929) gets this generation sadly confused and asserts that John died in 1662, apparently on the basis of a PCC will of that date which relates to John Beaumont of Baldock (Herts), barber. He asserts that John's children were John, Anne, Robert, Henry, Thomas, John, Edward, Francis, Anne, Dorothy, Mary, Barbara, Anne and Charles. He does not state which children belonged to which marriage and it is not clear what his source for these names was.

Beaumont, Robert (1655-1727). Son of John Beaumont (d. 1697) and his second wife, Barbara, daughter of Edward Willoughby of Cotham (Notts), born 1655. He refused to swear alliegance to William & Mary in 1689 and registered his property as a papist's estate, 1717. He married 1st, Cicely (c.1648-95), daughter and co-heir of Sir Thomas Beaumont (1620-86), 3rd bt., of Grace Dieu Priory (Leics); married 2nd, 1697 (licence 23 October), Jane (c.1675-1700), daughter and heir of John Middleton of Wandesley (Notts) and widow of Francis Lowe (b. c.1661) of Owlgreave; and married 3rd, 1703 (settlement 25 August), Winifred (d. 1745), daughter of Francis Lowe (c.1612-83) and sister-in-law of Robert Beaumont's second wife, and had issue:
(1.1) Barbara Beaumont (d. 1685); buried at Swarkestone, 17 May 1685;
(1.2) John Beaumont (d. 1688); buried at Swarkestone, 5 February 1688;
(1.3) Barbara Beaumont (c.1685-1730); nun at a convent in Bruges (Belgium) (professed 1702/3); 'she had a great genius to all sorts of Musick as well as Singing'; died 18 August 1730;
(1.4) John Beaumont (1691-1763) (q.v.);
(3.1) Francis Beaumont (1705-48), baptised at Barrow-upon-Trent, 2 August 1705; died unmarried at West Hallam (Derbys), 18 January 1747/8 and was buried at Heanor (Derbys), 21 January 1747/8.
He inherited Barrow Hall from his father.
He died 2 January, and was buried at Swarkestone, 5 January 1726/7; his will was proved at Lichfield, 9 April 1728. His first wife was buried at Swarkestone, 7 July 1695. His second wife was buried at Swarkestone, 2 July 1700. His widow died about 1745; administration of her goods was granted to her son Francis on 17 April 1745 and after he died to John Beaumont (1691-1763) on 31 January 1748/9.

Beaumont, John (1691-1763). Only surviving son of Robert Beaumont (1655-1727) by his first wife, Cicely, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Beaumont, 3rd bt. of Grace Dieu Priory (Leics), baptised at Barrow-upon-Trent, 28 August 1691. He is said to have been part of the Jacobite army in 1715, and to have been taken prisoner, but was eventually released and allowed to return to his estates. He married, 19 May 1729 at Alvaston (Derbys), Joyce (c.1700-80), probably daughter of John Johnson and niece of Thomas Allestree of Alvaston, and had issue:
(1) John Beaumont (1730-1806) (q.v.);
(2) Robert Beaumont (1731-96) (q.v.);
(3) Fr. Edward Beaumont (1732-1820), born 18 November 1732; educated at Repton and the English College in Douai (admitted 1745; ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, 1757); served at Norwich (Norfk), 1758-1820 and also acted as chaplain at Oxburgh Hall (Norfk); "gentlemanly in his deportment and kind in his manners, he conciliated the esteem and affection of Christians of all denominations"; died aged 88 on 1 August and was buried at St Giles, Norwich, 8 August 1820; his will was proved in the PCC, 15 August 1820;
(4) Joyce Beaumont (b. 1734), baptised at Twyford (Derbys), 3 December 1734; died young;
(5) Francis Beaumont (1737-1806), of Beaumont Place, Sheepshed (Leics) and later of Barrow-upon-Trent and Lichfield, born 1737; educated at Repton School; married, 9 February 1786 at Sheepshed, Elizabeth Hibbert, and had issue one daughter; died 28 June and was buried at Barrow-on-Trent (Derbys), 2 July 1806;
(6) Barbara Beaumont (b. & d. 1739), baptised at Barrow-upon-Trent, 4 February 1738/9; died in infancy and was buried at Barrow-upon-Trent, 17 February 1738/9;
(7) Catherine Beaumont; died young.
He inherited Barrow Hall from his father in 1727.
He died 14 October and was buried at Barrow-upon-Trent, 18 October 1763. His widow died 11 June and was buried at Barrow-on-Trent (Derbys), 14 June 1780.

Beaumont, John (1730-1806). Eldest son of John Beaumont (c.1691-1763) and his wife Joyce, probably daughter of John Johnson and niece of Thomas Allestree of Alvaston (Derbys), born 1730. Educated at the English College, Douai. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Barrow Hall from his father in 1763.
He died 21 July and was buried at Barrow upon Trent (Derbys), 28 July 1806.

Beaumont, Robert (1731-96). Second son of John Beaumont (c.1691-1763) and his wife Joyce, probably daughter of John Johnson and niece of Thomas Allestree of Alvaston (Derbys), born 1731. Educated at the English College, Douai. He married, 13 November 1770 at Mickleover (Derbys), Ann Wild (c.1752-84) and had issue:
(1) Anne Beaumont (1771-1847), baptised at St Mary, Lichfield (Staffs), 16 September 1771; married, 29 February 1808 at Spondon (Derbys), Rev. Charles Allsop (d. 1831), vicar of Sheepshed (Leics), 1777-1831 and rector of Ashby Parva (Leics), 1783-1831; died at Barrow-on-Trent, 9 December 1847;
(2) Mary Joyce Beaumont (1776-1838), baptised at St Mary, Lichfield, 16 March 1776; died unmarried, 17 March 1838 and was buried at Barrow-on-Trent;
(3) John Beaumont (1779-1834) (q.v.).
He seems to have lived in Lichfield.
He died at Barrow-upon-Trent, 14 September, and was buried at Swarkestone (Derbys), 17 September 1796. His wife died 5 September 1784.

Beaumont, John (1779-1834). Only son of Robert Beaumont (1731-96) and his wife Ann Wild, baptised at St Mary, Lichfield (Staffs), 23 January 1779. Joint steward of Derby Assembly, 1807; President of Derbyshire Agricultural Society, 1813-14. He was a freemason belonging to the Tyrian Lodge, Derby and was Provincial Deputy Grand Master for Derbyshire, 1826-32. The Duke of Devonshire (as Lord Lieutenant) sponsored his appointment as a JP for Derbyshire immediately after the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1828. In order to maintain his position in the county he sold or mortgaged much of his estate at Barrow, and when he died he left little money for the support of his widow and children. He married, 29 August 1825* at Kedleston (Derbys), the Hon. Mary Elizabeth (1806-68), daughter of Nathaniel Curzon, 2nd Baron Scarsdale, of Kedleston Hall, and had issue:
(1) John Beaumont (1826-79?) (q.v.);
(2) Robert Curzon Beaumont (b. 1827), born 10 December and baptised at Barrow-on-Trent, 17 December 1827; joined the Royal Navy about 1843; emigrated to Australia; living in 1869 but date of death untraced;
(3) Edward Beaumont (1829-1917), born 22 July and baptised at Barrow-on-Trent, 27 July 1829; emigrated to Australia (possibly in 1852); married, 9 April 1850 at St Barnabas, Nottingham (Notts), Caroline, youngest daughter of Peter Contencin, and had issue at least one son; died at Beechworth, Victoria (Australia) and was buried there, 24 October 1917;
(4) Henry Beaumont (1834-43), baptised at Barrow-on-Trent, 19 January 1834; died of scarlet fever, 6 April, and was buried at St Mary, Walsall (Staffs), 8 April 1843.
He inherited Barrow Hall from his uncle in 1806 and rebuilt the house in 1807-08. The contents were sold after his death and the house was let. 
He died 11 March, and was buried at Barrow-on-Trent, 17 March 1834; he died intestate and administration of his goods was granted at Lichfield, 19 January 1836 (effects under £4,000). His widow 'devoted herself to religious pursuits', died at Hathersage (Derbys), 11 October, and was buried there, 22 October 1868.
* A Catholic marriage ceremony was conducted first by Lady Scarsdale's chaplain in Kedleston Hall, after which the parties repaired to the parish church for an Anglican service, where the witnesses were Lords Scarsdale, the Duke of Devonshire and Viscount Kinnaird.

Beaumont, John (1826-79?). Eldest son of John Beaumont (1779-1834) and his wife, the Hon. Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Nathaniel Curzon, 2nd Baron Scarsdale, born 22 July and baptised at Barrow-upon-Trent, 23 July 1826. He married, 9 January 1855 at the British Consulate in Ostend (Belgium), Pauline Alphonsine, daughter of M. Colignon, Receiver-General of the Department of Furnes (alias Veurne, Belgium), and had issue:
(1) A son (b. & d. 1858), born 19 February 1858; died at Furnes, November 1858.
He inherited Barrow Hall from his father in 1834 and came of age in 1847. The house was let during his minority to Felicity (1767-1850), the Dowager Lady Scarsdale and her son, the Hon. Francis Curzon (1803-51), and after their deaths to Mrs. Charles Arkwright (d. 1858). The freehold was offered for sale in 1860 but failed to sell and the house was then let to a Mr. Dent who opened a school in the house in 1863, which closed only a year later. Later tenants included W. Johnson and Joseph Nadin. The property was finally sold in 1877.
He probably died in Belgium in about 1879, but his death has not been traced. His wife probably died in Belgium, but her death has not been traced.

Principal sources

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1850, vol. 1, pp. 74-75; Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 2nd edn., 1841, p. 49; E.T. Beaumont, The Beaumonts in history, 1929, pp. 190-96; Sir N. Pevsner & E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Leicestershire, 2nd edn., 1984, pp. 165-67; M. Craven & M. Stanley, The Derbyshire country house, 2001, p. 253; M. Craven, '"Great taste and much experience in building": Richard Leaper, amateur architect', Georgian Group Journal, 2010, pp. 152-72; Sir J. Baker, The men at court, 2012, pp. 287-88; J. Scarfe & K. Webberley, Barrow upon Trent: our story, n.d. [c.2014]; L. la Zouche, Beaumont: Crusaders and Campaigners, 2nd edn, 2020, pp. 100-108; K.L. Emerson, A Who's Who of Tudor Women, 2020, pp. 710-11, 1150.

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive.

Coat of arms

Azure, semée of fleurs-de-lys, a lion rampant or.

Can you help?

  • Can anyone provide any interior views of Barrow Hall, or provide any information about the whereabouts of a painting, reputedly by William Lakin Turner and entitled 'Old Barrow Hall' which was sold with the contents of the house in 1888?
  • Can anyone prove the parentage of John Beaumont (d. c.1558)?
  • Can anyone provide information about the date and place of death of John Beaumont (b. 1826) or his wife, Pauline Alphonsine Beaumont (both probably in Belgium) or of Robert Curzon Beaumont (probably in Australia)?
  • Can anyone provide photographs or portraits of the people whose names appear in bold above?
  • If anyone can offer further information or corrections to any part of this article I should be most grateful. I am always particularly pleased to hear from current owners or the descendants of families associated with a property who can supply information from their own research or personal knowledge for inclusion.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 13 May 2022 and updated 14 May 2022.

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