Edmund Beaufort crested as Duke of Somerset

Edmund Beaufort created Duke of Somerset, 31 March 1448

Edmund Beaufort’s brother had been the Duke of Somerset. Upon his death, the title was not automatically passed to his heir, his brother Edmund Beaufort. When Edmund was given the title, it was created for a second time making Edmund the 1st Duke of Somerset in its second creation.

Edmund Beaufort’s military backgtound

Edmund Beaufort gained the Dukedom due not only to his lineage but also his roles to that date. In 1436, he had lifted the Siege of Calais then, during a period of peace, acted as Lieutenant of France shortly after his elevation to Duke.

Beaufort lineage

The Beaufort line held claim to a Dukedom due to its descent from King Edward III. Edmund Beaufort was the third eldest child of John of Gaunt, his mother was Katherine Swynford. John of Gaunt was the third eldest of Edward IIIs sons to survive childhood. Therefore, he was a prince of royal blood: though King Henry IV had barred the descendants from John of Gaunt’s union with Katherine Swynford from inheriting the throne.

The Dukes of Somerset and York clash

It was this role that led to him clashing with the Duke of York. From August 1449, the French began attacking Normandy. Somerset’s policy and tactics failed. It set the tone for the future relationship between the Dukes of Somerset and York, though Somerset grew ever more important as a senior advisor to the King and Queen Margaret.

Beaufort inheritance and the Duke of Somerset’s death

Despite his seniority, Edmund only inherited a sum of around £300. In contrast, the net worth of Richard 3rd Duke of York was some £5800. The King’s attempts to provide additional income for Beaufort led to clashes with other nobles, which became more bitter because of events and failings that he was associated with. Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, died at the First Battle of St. Albans in 1455.

Image Credit

Via Wikipedia. Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset negotiating with envoys at Rouen during the Hundred Years’ War. Illuminated miniature from the Chronique of Jean Chartier of Bruges


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