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3rd Earl from his Monument in Warwick ChurchThomas Beauchamp,
Earl of Warwick

Earl of Warwick
Born: 14th February 1314
Died: 13th November 1369 at Calais, France

This eminent person, the son of Guy, Earl of Warwick, by Alice, sister and heiress of Robert, Lord Tony of Flamsted (Herts), passed an active life in the service of his country; having been, from an early period, constantly entrusted with high and confidential employments. His father dying in 1315, when the subject of this memoir was in his infancy, the custody and tuition of his person were first committed to the King Edward II's favourite, Hugh Le Despenser; but, upon the accession of Edward III, Warwick Castle and his other extensive possessions were granted to Roger, Lord Mortimer, afterwards Earl of March, until he should attain his majority. Before that event, however, he was armed by the King; and, as a special favour, admitted to the livery of his lands. The Earl of March having, in 1337, received a grant of the benefit of his marriage, bestowed on him, his eldest daughter, the Lady Katherine Mortimer, having first obtained a Papal dispensation on account of the consanguinity of the parties in the third and fourth degrees. In 1342, Thomas was in the retinue of Henry, Earl of Lancaster on the march of the army into Scotland for the establishment of John Balliol as King; and, in the following year, was constituted Marshal of England; having, about the same time, the distinguished honour of being numbered, together with his younger brother, John, Lord Beauchamp, amongst the founders of this Most Noble Order of the Garter. In 1346, he attended the King on his military expedition into France; and it is recorded of him that, upon landing at La Hogue, he gave immediate proof of his valour by attacking, with only one esquire and six archers, a body of one hundred Normans. After slaying sixty of them, he made way for the disembarkation of the English host. Earl Thomas was one of the chief commanders who, under Edward, Prince of Wales, led the van at the Battle of Crécy. In 1347, he was at the Siege of Calais with a considerable retinue. At the Battle of Poitiers, in 1356, he added greatly to his fame and acquired other advantages. For he obtained £8,000 as the ransom for William De Melleun, Archbishop of Seinz, whom he had made prisoner in that memorable conflict. His heroic spirit induced him, during the truce with France, in 1362, to seek renown in the crusade against the Lithuanians, to which he devoted three years. At his return, Thomas brought, with him, the son of their sovereign, whom he caused to be baptized in London and, as his sponsor, gave him his own Christian name. In 1366, the Earl was despatched by the King into Flanders upon special service; and, in the same year, had a renewal of the grant of the office of Marshal.

King Edward, having in consequence of an infraction of the treaty with France, in 1368, sent into that Kingdom, John, Duke of Lancaster and Humphrey De Bohun, Earl of Hereford, with an army, which lay encamped near Calais. However, from a scarcity of provisions, many died of famine and pestilence. The Earl of Warwick, hearing that the French army had manifested a disposition to give battle, hastened, at the head of a chosen band, to the coast of the enemy, who, thus surprised, fled with precipitation. Upon disembarking, he expressed himself indignant at the delay which had occurred in the attack, saying, "I will go on and fight before the English bread we have eaten be digested;" and thereupon entered and wasted the Isle of Caux. But, on his return towards Calais, he died on the 13th November 1369. Apparently having fallen sick with the pestilence, though rumours later emerged concerning his poisoning by Humphrey De Bohun. Thomas left "not behind him his equal in warlike qualities and fidelity to the King and Kingdom." His body was conveyed to England and interred in the Collegiate Church of St. Mary in Warwick, where a splendid tomb, with the effigies of himself and his countess, is still extant to their memory. Previous to his departure upon his last and fatal expedition, he made his will, dated at Chelsea, 6th September 1369.

By Katherine, his countess, he had seven sons and nine daughters. The sons were: Guy, who predeceased him, leaving three daughters; Thomas, who succeeded him as Earl of Warwick; Reyburn, who died without male issue; William, Baron of Bergavenny; Roger, who died without issue; John; and Jerome. The two last probably died young, as they are not mentioned in any of the entails.

Edited from George Frederick Beltz's
"Memorials of the Most Noble Order of the Garter" (1861).    Copyright ©2001, LLC