Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
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Family and Education

Offices Held


The Beauchamps were a long-established Cumberland family, with branches at Staffield, Lazonby and Croglin, all within a few miles radius of Kirkoswald. Evidence about William’s background is now hard to find, but he was evidently loyal to Henry IV at the time of the earl of Northumberland’s rebellion in 1405, as in June of that year he obtained the life tenancy of certain estates in Cumberland which had been forfeited for treason by Robert Heghmore, and for which he agreed to pay an annual rent of ten marks. At about this time, his influential neighbour, (Sir) John Skelton*, employed his services as a witness to two important financial transactions. By March 1410 he had struck up a friendship with Roland Thornburgh*, for whom he then stood surety at the Exchequer on his appointment as a local collector of customs.1 From the beginning of Henry V’s reign onwards, Beauchamp put in a fairly regular appearance at the Cumberland parliamentary elections at Carlisle, attesting the indentures of return to the Parliaments of 1413 (May), 1414 (Nov.), 1419, 1421 (May and Dec.), 1422 and 1425.2 It was, however, the adjacent county of Westmorland which returned him to the House of Commons in 1420, along with an obscure figure named Thomas Green II who, like Beauchamp, lacked any real administrative experience and had certainly never held office in the north-west. It may have been difficult to find representatives who were prepared to travel all the way to Westminster, especially when Henry V himself was campaigning in France. On the other hand, Beauchamp did not lack connexions among the Westmorland gentry; and in 1424 he was involved in property transactions at Kirkoswald with William Crackenthorpe II*, who had probably chosen him to act as one of his trustees.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. viii. 422; n.s. xx. 36-39; tract ser. no. 2, pp. 176-7; CPR, 1405-8, p. 68; CFR, xiii. 174.
  • 2. C219/11/1, 4, 12/3, 5, 6, 13/1, 3.
  • 3. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. vii. 246.