BEAUMONT, Sir Henry I (c.1545-1607), of Coleorton, Leics.
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Family and Education
b. c.1545,1 1st s. of Nicholas Beaumont† of Coleorton and Anne, da. of William Saunders of Welford, Northants.; bro. of Sir Thomas I*.2 educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1560; L. Inn 1566.3 m. Elizabeth (d. 26 Mar. 1608), da. of John Loveys, Mercer, of London and h. to her bro. Humphrey, 1s. suc. fa. 1585; kntd. 21 Apr. 1603. d. 31 Mar. 1607.4
J.p. Leics. by 1584-d., custos rot. 1605-d.;5 sheriff 1594-5;6 commr. oyer and terminer, Midland circ. by 1598-d;7 collector, fifteenths Leics. 1603;8 commr. to inquire into lands, of Henry, 11th Lord Cobham, Leics. 1603, into Bye-plotters 1603, Gunpowder plotters 1606.9
Beaumont was descended from Henry, 1st Baron Beaumont, the younger son of a French nobleman who emigrated to England in the early fourteenth century and received a peerage and a substantial grant of land. The 6th baron was promoted to viscount in 1440, but the title became extinct on the death of his son in 1507.10 Among Beaumont’s direct ancestors was Sir Thomas Beaumont, a younger son of the 4th baron, who acquired Coleorton, three miles north-east of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in north-west Leicestershire, by marriage in 1426. Beaumont’s relatives included the Beaumonts of Gracedieu, who were descended from Sir Thomas Beaumont’s second son. Although the relationship was somewhat distant by then, Francis Beaumont† of Gracedieu appointed Beaumont one of his executors in 1598, and on Francis’ death later that year Beaumont purchased the wardship of his son, (Sir) Henry Beaumont II*.11 Beaumont mistakenly regarded as a relative Sir Richard Beaumont* of Whitley in Yorkshire, with whom he corresponded.12
Beaumont’s father was twice returned for Leicestershire under Elizabeth and was described as ‘earnest in religion’.13 Beaumont himself represented the county in 1589. His annual income was estimated by one contemporary in 1600 at £1,500.14 On the death of the 4th earl of Huntingdon in December 1604, Beaumont was appointed custos rotulorum of Leicestershire, despite the fact that Lord Grey of Groby (Sir Henry Grey†) had sought the office for himself. The 5th earl of Huntingdon was then ineligible, being not yet 18, and the appointment of Beaumont, who seems to have been on good terms with both Grey and Huntingdon, was probably a compromise.15 Soon afterwards, in January 1605, either Beaumont or Sir Henry Beaumont II signed a petition from the Leicestershire gentry to Viscount Cranborne (Sir Robert Cecil†) on behalf of the deprived puritan preachers.16 Later that year Beaumont supported the 5th earl of Huntingdon in resisting the extension of the jurisdiction of Leicester to the extra-mural district of Newarke, where he owned property. This may have earned him the backing of the Hastings interest the following year, when he was returned for the county at a by-election occasioned by the death of Sir George Villiers.17 At Westminster he joined his son, Sir Thomas II, who was sitting for Tamworth, and his younger brother, Sir Thomas I, who was the junior knight of the shire. However, he appears only once in the surviving records of the second session, being appointed to the committee to consider the bill for the restitution of Lord Danvers on 13 Mar. 1606.18 On 24 May it was reported that he had returned home that day, and the session ended three days later.19 Later that year Beaumont petitioned for the restoration of the Beaumont viscountcy, offering assurances of ‘his means and ability for doing this honourable service and for the upholding of the estate of a peer’, but he proved unsuccessful.20
Beaumont was named to just one committee in the third session, for the bill to sell the lands of William Waller (6 Mar. 1607).21 On 18 Feb. 1607 he and his brother Sir Thomas, being the knights of the shire, appointed the collectors of the second fifteenth voted by Parliament the previous year for Leicestershire.22 His parliamentary career was cut short by his death 15 days later. He was buried at Coleorton, in a tomb described by the Leicestershire antiquarian William Burton as ‘very fair and beautiful’. In his will, dated 10 Oct. 1598, he left £10 to the parish church and £10 to the poor. The rest of his property went to his only son, Sir Thomas II*.23