BEAUCHAMP, John (1499/1500-59), of Bere in Marhamchurch, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1499/1500, s. of John Beauchamp of Bere by Jane da. of William Carnsew of Bokelly in St. Kew. m. Mary (d.1581), da. of Roger Grenville of Stowe in Kilkhampton, 1da. suc. fa. 24 Dec. 1508.1

Offices Held

Gen. subsidy collector, hundreds of Lesnewth and Stratton Cornw. 1543; portreeve, Mitchell in 1555.2


The Beauchamps, who had been seated at Binnerton in Crowan since the 12th century, appear to have acquired the manor of Bere in the reign of Edward III, but John Beauchamp’s father was probably the first head of the family to live there rather than at Binnerton. When he died, possessed of both manors and of 580 acres elsewhere in Cornwall, his son may have become the ward of Roger Grenville, whose home was only a few miles from Bere and one of whose daughters the young Beauchamp was to marry. It was through this marriage that Beauchamp became connected with some of the leading families in the shire.3

Little has come to light about Beauchamp’s career. His appearance as a knight of the shire in the last Parliament of Henry VIII’s reign seems to have been his sole incursion into the national arena, and it was one for which he was ill-prepared. His election with Richard Chamond, a cousin of his wife’s, was doubtless the work of his brother-in-law Sir Richard Grenville, then sheriff of Cornwall. When he was returned to Parliament Beauchamp must have known that his financial situation was parlous—perhaps he sought Membership for that reason—and on 20 Dec. 1546 he was resorted to the desperate expedient of parting with his patrimony to Sir Thomas Speke and Anthony Gilbert, two Somerset men with whom he became acquainted in the House. He and his wife retained a life interest in the property, but the sale did not put an end to his difficulties for in 1555 he owed money to Paul Stowford. As a tin-producer he paid occasional visits to Truro, and this may explain his standing at Mitchell, where he held the portreeveship shortly before his death. This link with Mitchell and an association with Protestants suggest an identification with the man who removed a silver cross from the chapel there ‘about thetime of the commotion’, that is, the rising of 1549. Beauchamp died on 31 Jan. 1559, and at the inquisition following his death his heir was found to be Sir George Speke.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa’s i.p.m., C142/27/123. Vis. Cornw. ed. Vivian, 22.
  • 2. E179/87/152, mm. 2, 8; C219/24/22.
  • 3. C142/27/123; Vis. Cornw. 22.
  • 4. Vis. Cornw. 191; C142/120/24; Wards 7/102/194; PCC 1 Wrastley; A. L. Rowse, Tudor Cornw. 331.