Richard Beauchamp, Earl Of Warwick
From Classic Encyclopedia 1911
RICHARD BEAUCHAMP WARWICK, EARL OF (1382-1439), son of Thomas Beauchamp, was born at Salwarp in Worcestershire on the 28th of January 1382, and succeeded his father in 1401. He had some service in the Welsh War, fought on the king's side at the battle of Shrewsbury on the 22nd of July 1403, and at the siege of Aberystwith in 1407. In 1408 he started on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, visiting on his way Paris and Rome, and fighting victoriously in a tournament with Pandolfo Malatesta at Verona. From Venice he took ship to Jaffa, whence he went to Jerusalem, and set up his arms in the temple. On his return he travelled through Lithuania, Prussia and Germany, and reached England in 1410. Two years later he was fighting in command at Calais. Up to this time Warwick's career had been that of the typical knight errant. During the reign of Henry V. his chief employment was as a trusted counsellor and diplomatist. He was an ambassador to France in September 1413, and the chief English envoy to the coronation of Sigismund at Aix-la-Chapelle, and to the council of Constance in the autumn of 1414. During the campaign of Agincourt he was captain of Calais, where in April 1416 he received Sigismund with such courtly magnificence as to earn from him the title of the "Father of Courtesy." In the campaigns of 1417-18 Warwick took a prominent part, reducing Domfront and Caudebec. Then he joined the king before Rouen, and in October 1418 had charge of the negotiations with the dauphin and with Burgundy. Next year he was again the chief English spokesman in the conference Meulan, and afterwards was Henry's representative in arrangeing the treaty of Troyes. At the sieges of Melun in 1420, and of Mantes in 1421-22 he held high command. Warwick's sage experience made it natural that Henry V. should on his death-bed appoint him to be his son's governor. For some years to come he was engaged chiefly as a member of the council in England. In 1428 he received formal charge of the little king's education. He took Henry to France in 1430, and whilst at Rouen had the superintendence of the trial of Joan of Arc. In 1431 he defeated Pothon de Xaintrailles at Savignies. Next year he returned to England. The king's minority came nominally to an end in 1437. Warwick was then not unnaturally chosen to succeed Richard of York in the government of Normandy. He accepted loyally a service "full far from the ease of my years," and went down to Portsmouth in August, but was long detained by bad weather, "seven times shipped or ever he might pass the sea," and only reached Honfleur on the 8th of November. In Normandy he ruled with vigour for eighteen months, and died at his post on the 30th of April 1439. His body was brought home and buried at Warwick. His tomb in St Mary's church is one of the most splendid specimens of English art in the 15th century. Warwick married (1) Elizabeth Berkeley, (2)(2) Isabella Despenser. By his second wife he left an only son Henry, afterwards duke of Warwick, who died in 1445, and a daughter Anne, who as her brother's sister of the whole blood brought the title and chief share of the estates to her husband Richard Neville, the kingmaker. By his first wife he had three daughters, of whom the eldest, Margaret, married John Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury.
John Rous (d. 1491) wrote a life of Warwick, illustrated with over fifty drawings, now at the British Museum (Cotton MS. Julius E. iv.). They have been reproduced in Strutt's Manners and Customs; new edition by Mr Emery Walker, with notes by Lord Dillon and Mr W. St John Hope. More authoritative material must be sought in strictly contemporary chronicles, and especially in the Vita Henrici Quinti ascribed to Elmham, Monstrelet; Chronicles of London (ed. C. L. Kingsford) and J. Stevenson, Letters, &c. illustrative of the English Wars in France (" Rolls" series). For modern accounts consult J. H. Wylie, Henry IV.; C. L. Kingsford, Henry V.; and Sir James Ramsay, Lancaster and York. (C. L. K.)