BEAUMONT, Hon. John (c.1636-1701), of Frith Street, Soho, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1636, 2nd s. of Sapcote, 2nd Visct. Beaumont of Swords [I], of Cole Orton, Leics. by 1st w. Bridget, da. of Sir Thomas Monson, 1st Bt., of Carlton, Lincs. educ. Market Bosworth g.s.; Christ’s, Camb. matric 3 Nov. 1653, aged 17. m. (1) lic. 10 Sept. 1663, Felicia (d.1687), da. of Thomas Pigott of Chetwynd, Salop, wid. of William Wilmer of Sywell, Northants., and of Sir Charles Compton of Grendon, Northants., s.p.; (2) lic. 28 Sept. 1693, Philippa, da. of Sir Nicholas Carew of Beddington, Surr., s.p.1
Gent. of the privy chamber by June 1660; carver by 1679-?bef. 1682; equerry 1685-Sept. 1688.2
Capt. of horse 1666-7; capt. of ft. Holland Regt. (later The Buffs) Jan.-Mar. 1674; capt. of Gds. [I] by 1678; ?capt. (Dutch army) by 1684; lt.-col. Princess Anne’s Regt. (later 8 Ft.) 1685-Sept. 1688, col. Dec. 1688-95; lt.-gov. Dover Castle 1686-Sept. 1688, 1689-93.3
Commr. for assessment, Northants. 1664-79, Hastings 1689-90; j.p. Northants. 1665-?d., Leics. 1687-d.; freeman, Portsmouth Jan. 1688; commr. for lode-manage court, Cinque Ports 1689.4
Beaumont’s ancestor came to England during the reign of Edward I, and received a grant of Loughborough Castle and other lands in the Midlands. The first of the family to enter the House of Commons sat for Leicester in 1539. Beaumont’s father was in arms for the King, compounding for £1,414 5s. in 1649, though he claimed that besides the destruction of his house he had suffered losses of £10,000 in his personal estate. Beaumont himself joined Charles II in exile, and in 1663 Charles wrote personally to Lady Compton on behalf of Beaumont ‘who passionately desires to marry her’, promising ‘to continue his care of him’. But his career as soldier and courtier was intermittent. On the list of the Northamptonshire commission of the peace in 1682, he was noted as living out of England and not acting. He may have been the Captain Beaumont in the Anglo-Dutch brigade in 1684; but on the accession of James II he became an equerry. His return for Nottingham in 1685 was probably engineered by the recorder, the Duke of Newcastle (Henry Cavendish). He was named only to the committee of elections and privileges in James II’s Parliament. He was appointed second-in-command of one of the new regiments, but cashiered in 1688 for refusing to dismiss some of his men to create vacancies in his regiment for Irish Papists. On 25 Sept. he wrote to his niece:
It is true as you have heard, I have lost my command and place, but neither honour nor a good conscience. Though I have not left so much as to live splendidly, yet I hope enough to be independent and contented. The general distraction all the nation is in, with the alarum of the Dutch invading us, makes it difficult for me to take any measures how I shall dispose of myself, being desirous to see the nation settled before I betake myself to that sort of life I propose, which is privacy. I have freed myself of all my encumbrances, dismissed my servants, sold my goods; one servant and myself is all my family in a private lodging. ... I have lost a thousand pounds income within this sixteen months; do not bemoan me for I esteem myself happier than ever. ... The first northeast wind we expect the Dutch will land, but I hope the business will be soon decided and we may see happier days. Make much of your good husband, praise God and preserve your religion.5
Beaumont joined William ten days after the landing, and was mentioned as a possible candidate for Nottingham at the general election of 1689. Once again in royal favour, he was promoted colonel of his old regiment and restored to his position as lieutenant governor of Dover Castle. Presumably it was in this capacity that he went down to Hastings to find a fit successor to his distant cousin, John Ashburnham II, who had been given a peerage. The electors ‘did me the honour to choose me’, he wrote, ‘though I had the opposition of the sheriff and the country gentry’. The unsuccessful candidate petitioned, and while the case was before the elections committee Beaumont complained to the House that his letters from his constituents were being opened in the post, no doubt on the instructions of John Wildman I. Meanwhile as a court Tory he had become a moderately active Member of the Convention, his four committees including that to consider the second mutiny bill, though his election was not finally upheld till 17 Jan. 1690, and then only by a narrow majority.6
Beaumont was re-elected at the general election but continued to pursue an active military career, serving at the battle of the Boyne and the siege of Namur in 1692 until he resigned his commission in December 1695. He died on 3 July 1701.7
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Basil Duke Henning
- 1. DNB; W. C. Compton, Hist. Comptons, 104, 118; Nichols, Leics. iii. 738-9, 744; Diary of Thomas Isham of Lamport, 148.
- 2. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 165; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 504, 509.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1665-6, p. 557; HMC Ormonde, n.s. ii. 212; J. Childs, Army of Charles II, 243; Luttrell, ii. 224, 339.
- 4. R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 368; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 210.
- 5. CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 269; SP29/421/216; H. R. Knight, Hist. Recs. of the Buffs, i. 176, 180; Clarke, Jas. II, ii. 168-9; A. E. B. Macdonald, Fortunes of a Fam. 90-91.
- 6. HMC 7th Rep. 226; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 415; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 219; CJ, x. 334; Add. 33512, f. 118.
- 7. Luttrell, ii. 491, 492; iii. 564.