Joan Beaufort

Joan Beaufort

Female 1379 - 1440  (61 years)

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  • Name Joan Beaufort 
    Born 1379 
    Gender Female 
    Died 13 Nov 1440  Howden, Humberside, East Riding, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I4395  avefamily
    Last Modified 20 Nov 2018 

    Father John Of Gaunt,   b. 1340,   d. 1399  (Age 59 years) 
    Mother Katherine Swynford 
    Family ID F1352  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Ralph De Neville,   b. 1364, Staindrop County Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1425, Staindrop County Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years) 
    +1. Edward Neville,   b. Abt 1412, Durham, England [uncertain] Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Oct 1476, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales [uncertain] Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 64 years)
    +2. Cecily De Neville,   b. 3 May 1415, Staindrop County Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1495, Berkhamsted Hertfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)
    +3. Richard De Neville,   b. 1400,   d. 1460  (Age 60 years)
     4. Henry De Neville
     5. Thomas De Neville
     6. Cuthbert De Neville
     7. Robert De Neville
     8. William De Neville
     9. John De Neville
     10. George De Neville
     11. Joan De Neville
     12. Katherine De Neville
     13. Eleanor De Neville
     14. Anne De Neville
    Last Modified 15 Mar 2016 
    Family ID F1351  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (c. 1379 – 13 November 1440) was the fourth of the four illegitimate children (and only daughter) of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress, later wife, Katherine Swynford; and, in her widowhood, a powerful landowner in the North of England.

      Early life and marriages

      She was probably born at the Swynford manor of Kettlethorpe in Lincolnshire. Her surname probably reflects her father's lordship of Beaufort in Champagne, France, where she might also have been born. In 1391, at the age of twelve, Joan married at Beaufort-en-Vallée, Anjou, Robert Ferrers, 5th Baron Boteler of Wem, and they had two daughters before he died in about 1395.


      Along with her three brothers, Joan had been privately declared legitimate by their cousin Richard II of England in 1390. Her parents were married in Lincoln Cathedral in February 1396. Joan was already an adult when she was legitimized by the marriage of her mother and father with papal approval. The Beauforts were later barred from inheriting the throne by a clause inserted into the legitimation act by their half-brother, Henry IV of England, although it is not clear that Henry IV possessed sufficient authority to alter an existing parliamentary statute by himself, without the further approval of Parliament. Soon after the legitimation, on 3 February 1397, when she was eighteen, Joan married Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, who had also been married once before.


      When Ralph de Neville died in 1425, his lands and titles should, by law of rights, have passed on to his grandson through his first marriage, another Ralph Neville. Instead, while the title of Earl of Westmorland and several manors were passed to Ralph, the bulk of his rich estate went to his wife, Joan Beaufort. Although this may have been done to ensure that his widow was well provided for, by doing this Ralph essentially split his family into two and the result was years of bitter conflict between Joan and her stepchildren who fiercely contested her acquisition of their father's lands. Joan however, with her royal blood and connections, was far too powerful to be called to account, and the senior branch of the Nevilles received little redress for their grievances. Inevitably, when Joan died, the lands would be inherited by her own children.


      Death: Joan died on 13 November 1440 at Howden in Yorkshire. [1]


      Rather than be buried with her husband Ralph (who was not buried with his first wife, though his monument has effigies of himself and his two wives) she was entombed next to her mother in the magnificent sanctuary of Lincoln Cathedral, Lincolnshire - known in full as The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln or sometimes St. Mary's Cathedral. Joan's is the smaller of the two tombs; both were decorated with brass plates – full-length representations of them on the tops, and small shields bearing coats of arms around the sides — but those were damaged or destroyed in 1644 by Roundheads during the English Civil War. A 1640 drawing of them survives, showing what the tombs looked like when they were intact, and side-by-side instead of end-to-end, as they are now.

      Source: Wikipedia


      ? Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, vol III, page 246
      Royal Ancestry 2013 D. Richardson Vol. III p. 492, 500
      Royal Ancestry 2013 D. Richardson Vol. IV p. 233
      Magna Carta Ancestry 2011 2nd ed. Vol. III p. 246-247
      Royal Ancestry by Douglas Richardson Vol. V. page 340
      See also:
      Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, (2011), Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Royal Ancestry series, 2nd edition, 4 vols., ed. Kimball G. Everingham, (Salt Lake City, Utah: the author, 2011), volume III, page 246 #8
      Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland, database online, Wikipedia, (accessed 12 March 2015), Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
      Our Royal, Titled, Noble and Commoner Ancestors & Cousins website, compiled by Mr. Marlyn Lewis, follows Douglas Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry. It includes Magna Carta Surety Barons and many of their descendants. Joan Beaufort
      The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States, database online,, Gary Boyd Roberts. Genealogical Publishing Company. Baltimore, 2008. Note: Royal Ancestry of Thomas Jefferson
      Royalty for Commoners, Roderick W. Stuart, Royalty for Commoners: The Complete Known Lineage of John of Gaunt, Son of Edward III, King of England, and Queen Phillipa, fourth edition (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002), .
      Americans of Royal Descent by Charles H. Browning, Page 668 1891, Porter & Coates, Philadelphia, PA