BEAUMONT, Sir Richard (1574-1631), of Whitley Hall, Kirkheaton, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 2 Aug. 1574,1 o.s. of Edward Beaumont of Whitley Hall and Elizabeth, da. of John Ramsden of Longley, Yorks. unm.; 2 illegit das. by Mary Lewis of Marr, Yorks.2 suc. fa. 1575;3 kntd. 23 July 1603;4 cr. bt. 15 Aug. 1628.5 d. 20 Oct. 1631.6 sig. Ric[hard] Beaumont.
Capt. militia ft., Yorks. (W. Riding) 1613;7 j.p., W. Riding 1615-d.;8 treas., maimed soldiers, W. Riding 1618-19; commr. subsidy, W. Riding 1621-2, 1624, 1629, feudal tenures, 1626, Forced Loan, 1627, taking accts., 1630.9
Gent. of the privy chamber extraordinary ?1628-d.10
Beaumont’s ancestors were granted Yorkshire estates for services rendered during the Third Crusade. His inheritance, which he acquired as an infant, comprised 2,000 acres in the upper Calderdale, including the manor of Whitley and half the manor of Huddersfield, both of which lay in a detached part of the honour of Pontefract. They were far from any of Yorkshire’s ancient parliamentary boroughs, which meant that Beaumont was the only MP in the family. His income of around £1,200 p.a. enabled him to rebuild Whitley Hall, and to purchase Sandal castle, near Wakefield, from his cousin (Sir) Henry Savile†, provost of Eton college, in 1604. According to legend, he incurred heavy debts at cards and cockfighting, and was reduced to supplementing his income as the highwayman ‘Black Dick’, but this seems unlikely.11
Although not related, Beaumont was acknowledged as a kinsman by the Leicestershire Beaumonts, and criticized for being ‘so slack and dull in marriage, who might before this have gotten a son to have kept Coleorton in the name of the Beaumonts’. This connected him with the Villiers family, and the civil lawyer Nathaniel Brent sought his recommendation to the royal favourite, Buckingham, writing from London on 24 Nov. 1617: ‘without your presence here I am utterly desperate of any good success’. Five years later, Beaumont was also approached by Savile’s assistant, the Arminian divine Richard Montagu, to aid him in obtaining the deanery of St. Paul’s; but the latter could not overcome the claims of John Donne*.12
Beaumont supported Sir Thomas Wentworth* in the hotly contested Yorkshire election of December 1620, who duly acknowledged the ‘pains you have been pleased to take in behalf of Sir George Calvert* and myself’. Beaumont sought a Yorkshire borough seat for himself at the same election, but Sir Henry Savile, 1st bt.* advised him to apply to Clitheroe, just across the border in Lancashire, ‘the best men in the kingdom serving many times (without touch of credit) for the obscurest places, and furthest from their dwellings’. In the event, the seat went to the duchy of Lancaster auditor William Fanshawe*.13
In 1624, the enfranchisement of Pontefract provided the West Riding with two additional seats, and Beaumont proposed to stand with Wentworth, who had conceded the county seats to his arch-rival Sir John Savile*. Wentworth warned that his interest barely sufficed for himself, and Beaumont was duly defeated by Sir Henry Holcroft, nominee of the duchy of Cornwall.14 Holcroft opted to sit for Stockbridge, whereupon the Pontefract corporation sought to please both Wentworth, by nominating Beaumont, and Savile, who backed Sir John Jackson*. The single vacancy guaranteed a contest, and Beaumont lost the poll he insisted upon; but with the franchise in doubt, the sheriff returned both candidates to avoid violence. After some debate, the Commons declared the by-election void; a new writ was issued on 31 May, just after the prorogation, and this time Jackson’s return was undisputed.15 Although he did not attend the session, Beaumont’s papers contain a copy of the Lords’ sentence against lord treasurer Middlesex (Lionel Cranfield*).16
In 1625 Wentworth proposed that if he regained the county seat, Jackson and Beaumont should be elected for Pontefract, ‘so that all breaches may be thus timely made up’. This plan succeeded, but Beaumont declined to come to Westminster, claiming ‘I am much beholden to them [of Pontefract] for the matter, but not for the manner’, which suggests some malpractice at the election. He asked Wentworth to procure a new writ from the Speaker, recommending Sir Henry Savile or George Shilleto* as his replacement; the absence of many other Members for fear of the plague, and Wentworth’s own troubles over the Yorkshire election dispute, meant that nothing was done.17
Beaumont’s support for Wentworth may have cooled a little after 1625: in the following year he was appointed to a commission offering Crown tenants the chance to compound for their tenures, a scheme promoted by Savile; while in 1627 he apparently served as a commissioner for the Forced Loan, which Wentworth refused.18 However, in 1628 he benefited from Wentworth’s key role in procuring the Petition of Right, securing a baronetcy and a part-time Court position.19 He did not to live to derive any further benefit from Wentworth’s patronage. In his will of 22 Aug. 1631, he left the bulk of his estates to his nephews Leonard and Thomas Wray and Richard Pilkington, but provided a life annuity to Mary Lewis and dowries for her two daughters, he presumably being the father. He died on 20 Oct., and was buried at Kirkheaton.20
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Lynn Hulse / John. P. Ferris / Simon Healy
- 1. C142/170/30.
- 2. Beaumont Pprs. ed. W.D. Macray (Roxburghe Club, cxiii), 43, 58; Yorks. Peds. (W. Riding) ed. J. Foster; Borthwick, Reg. Test. 44, ff. 805v-6.
- 3. C142/170/30.
- 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 120.
- 5. CB.
- 6. C142/728/6.
- 7. W. Yorks. AS (Kirklees), DD/WBA/2.
- 8. C213/4, f. 6.
- 9. C212/22/21-3; Fairfax Corresp. ed. G.W. Johnson, i. 210; C66/2384/2 (dorse); APC, 1627, p. 244; SP17/A/12.
- 10. LC3/1.
- 11. C142/170/30; T.D. Whitaker, Loidis and Elmete, 339; P. Roebuck, Yorks. Bts. 110; P. Ahier, Legends and Trads. Huddersfield, 38, 40; Whitaker, 343.
- 12. J. Nichols, County of Leics. iii. 662; W. Yorks. AS (Kirklees), DD/WBC/1; Beaumont Pprs. 13, 21, 36-43; Borthwick, Reg. Test 44, ff. 803-4.
- 13. Wentworth Pprs. ed. J.P. Cooper (Cam. Soc. ser. 4. xii), 145; Beaumont Pprs. 43-5; J.J. Cartwright, Chapters of Yorks. Hist, 205-6 [dated to 1620 rather than 1626].
- 14. Wentworth Pprs. 202-3; DCO, Prince Charles in Spain, f. 34.
- 15. Radcliffe Corresp. ed. T.D. Whitaker, 175 R. Ruigh, Parl. of 1624, p. 104; C231/4, f. 166.
- 16. W. Yorks. AS (Kirklees), DD/WBM/4.
- 17. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 25-7.
- 18. C66/2384/2 (dorse); Univ. London, Goldsmiths’ ms 195/1, f. 2v; SP16/44/4; APC, 1626-7, pp. 243-5.
- 19. CB; LC3/1.
- 20. Borthwick, Reg Test 44, ff. 804-7; J.T. Cliffe, Yorks. Gentry, 126, 128.