Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick

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Tomb of Richard de Beauchamp

 

This is the tomb of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick. who died at Rouen on the 30th April 1439. His will made an endowment to the collegiate church of St Mary, Warwick, money to build the chantry chapel at St Mary's, and gifts to Tewkesbury Abbey.

 

Richard's two godparents were King Richard II and Richard Scrope. However, his father Thomas (d1401) became one of the Lords Appellant, an opponent of Richard II, who when Henry Bollingbroke's claimed the throne in 1399, was being held prisoner in the Tower of London. Thomas fought with Henry during the Epiphany Rising, and advised Henry to kill Richard II who was at that time being held prisoner at Pontefract Castle.

 

Richard played an important part fighting for Henry IV during the rebellions that took place during the early part of his reign, and after the Battle of Shrewsbury he was made a Knight of the Garter. He took part in many campaigns in Wales against Owen Glendower, during which time he become friends with Prince Hal.

 

In 1410 he was made a member of the royal council, and was Lord High Steward at the coronation of Henry V in 1413. Together with Henry V he rekindled the Hundred Years War with France, and was at the siege of Harfleur in 1415, Caen 1417, Pontoise 1419, and Meaux in 1421, after which he sent back to England a large haul of jewels and prisoners in order to rebuild the south of Warwick Castle.1

 

When Henry V died in 1422, Richard de Beauchamp was appointed one of the councilors for the infant king Henry VI, and was Henry's tutor from 1428 - 1437. A supporter of the Lancastrian cause, he also held a number of important posts including that of captain of Rouen and Calais.2

 

It was during his captaincy of Rouen that Joan of Arc was held prisoner, tried, and executed. Richard Beauchamp told Cauchon the Bishop of Beuavais who was her chief judge that the trial was taking too long, he along with the Duke of Bedford paid the judges, and intervened when Joan became ill least she died before she could be executed. And it was Beauchamp that convened the assessors to investigate Joan's wearing of male clothing. After the execution of Joan of Arc he ordered that the ashes be gathered and thrown into the Seine so that no one could later claim to have any relics.3

 

Richard was married to Isabel le Despenser,2 whose father had been executed in 1400, for his part in the Epiphany Rising, against Henry IV, to restore the deposed Richard II to the throne. Their daughter Anne de Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick, was to become the wife of the "Kingmaker" Richard Neville. Richard and Anne's youngest daughter, Anne Neville, became the Queen consort of Richard III of England, who many blamed for having killed her first husband Edward (the only son of Henry VI) at the Battle of Tewkesbury.

 

Tomb of Richard de Beauchamp

 

The tomb was built between 1448 and 1453, and the contracts for the work survive so we know that William Austen of London cast the brass effigy, and that John Bourde supplied the Purbeck marble for the base. Others included John Massingham a carver, Barthilimew Lambespring a goldsmith, John Essex a marbler, and Thomas Stevyns a coppersmith.

 

Tomb of Richard de Beauchamp

 

The base of the tomb is Purbeck marble upon which lies a Burgundian style effigy of copper-gilt. Enamelled shields are at the foot of the tomb chest, above which are copper gilt mourners and angels.

 

Tomb of Richard de Beauchamp

 

The remains of Richard de Beauchamp were placed here in 1475 after the completion of the chapel.

 

Tomb of Richard de Beauchamp