Lewis de Beaumont

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Lewis de Beaumont
Bishop of Durham
Appointed 9 February 1317
Term ended 24 September 1333
Predecessor Richard Kellaw
Successor Richard de Bury
Consecration 26 March 1318
Personal details
Born before 1270
Died 24 September 1333
Denomination Catholic

Lewis de Beaumont (died 1333) was Bishop of Durham[1] during the last half of the First War of Scottish Independence.


Lewis was born before 1270, son of Louis de Brienne and Agnès de Beaumont-au-Maine and grandson of John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem[2] by his third wife, Berengaria of Leon, making him a second cousin of Edward II.[3] His brother Henry de Beaumont[4] was a central figure in the Scottish Wars who claimed the title of Earl of Buchan through his marriage to John Comyn's niece Alice and his sister was Isabella de Beaumont, wife of John de Vesci.

Career and Life

In 1316 Lewis was certified as one of the Lords of the Nottinghamshire towns of North Leverton, Habilsthorp and Cotes.[5]

Lewis was serving as Treasurer of Salisbury when he was nominated to be Bishop of Durham on 9 February 1317,[1] thanks to the efforts of his countrywoman, Queen Isabella[6] He was confirmed at Westminster on 11 September 1317[7] and was consecrated in Durham on 26 March 1318.[1] Despite being accused of being illiterate, Lewis was appointed in the hope of providing strong military leadership in his diocese which sat on the dangerous Scottish border, much in the same way as his brother, Henry, had done for the past twenty years.[4] It was a questionable choice on the part of King Edward as Lewis was reported to be lame in both feet[8] and his lack of mobility would seriously limit his ability to lead armed forces against the guerilla tactics of Robert the Bruce.[9]

In early 1317 Edward appealed to Pope John XXII to excommunicate Bruce and to end his attacks.[4] The pope was keen to gather support for a crusade to recover the Holy Land and so sent two cardinals to persuade Bruce to accept a truce and to excommunicate him if he refused.[10] In August 1317 the cardinals set off from England escorted by Lewis de Beaumont and his brother Henry.[10] Disaster struck when they reached anarchic Northumberland where a local knight and brigand, Gilbert Middleton, and his large mob kidnapped and imprisoned them.[10] The cardinals were soon released and met with Bruce but no truce was forthcoming. Lewis and his brother were held prisoner until December when Middleton himself was captured and hung, drawn and quartered in London following several months of violent rebellion.[10][11]

In 1319 Lewis appointed Thomas Grey of Heaton as Sheriff of Norham and Islandshire and Constable of Norham Castle.[12] Grey had served under Lewis' brother Henry and saved his life at the siege of Stirling Castle in 1304.[13]

In 1322 Lewis was ordered to muster one thousand soldiers with the assistance of the castellan of Norham Castle, William Rydel.[14] The king chose Andrew Harclay, the hero of the Battle of Boroughbridge, to lead the men and Lewis was sidelined.[14] Later that year the king rebuked Lewis for turning down his offer to bolster the garrison of Norham Castle[15] which had been the subject of repeated attacks and by the end of the year he was reduced to providing administrative support to Ralph Neville for future military operations.[14]

The king was said to be disappointed with Lewis' lack of success in suppressing the Scots but his performance was repeated by other northern lords who grew tired of war and had little support from Edward whose concentration was focused on suppressing rebellions in England and Wales and would shortly turn back to France and the prelude to the Hundred Years War.[16]

Lewis died on 24 September 1333.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 242
  2. ^ Stubbs 1878
  3. ^ Cokayne 1893
  4. ^ a b c Brown 2008, p. 149
  5. ^ Parl Writs II Digest 1834.
  6. ^ Schwyzer 1999, p. 248
  7. ^ Hutchinson 1823, p. 324
  8. ^ Maxwell 1913, p. 217
  9. ^ Schwyzer 1999, p. 251
  10. ^ a b c d Brown 2008, p. 150
  11. ^ Maxwell 1907
  12. ^ King 2005
  13. ^ Maxwell 1907, p. 26
  14. ^ a b c Schwyzer 1999, p. 252
  15. ^ Cal Docs Rel Scotland III 1887.
  16. ^ Brown 2008, p. 183


  • Brown, Michael (2008). Bannockburn. The Scottish War and the British Isles 1307-1323. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1893). Complete Peerage. London: George Bell & Sons.
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
  • Hutchinson, William (1823). The history and antiquities of the county palatine of Durham. I. Durham: G.Walker.
  • King, Andy (2005). Sir Thomas Gray's Scalacronica, 1272-1363. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press.
  • Maxwell, Herbert, trans. (1907). Scalacronica; The reigns of Edward I, Edward II and Edward III as Recorded by Sir Thomas Gray. Glasgow: James Maclehose & Sons. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  • Maxwell, Herbert (1913). The Lanercost Chronicle. Glasgow: James Maclehose & Sons.
  • Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland. III. Edinburgh: Public Record Office. 1887.
  • Parliamentary Writs Alphabetical Digest. II. London: Public Record Office. 1834.
  • Schwyzer, Hugo (1999). Northern Bishops and the Anglo-Scottish War in the Reign of Edward II. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.
  • Stubbs, William (1878). The Constitutional History of England in Its Origin and Development. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Richard Kellaw
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
Richard de Bury

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