The Father of Courtesy and the Son of Chivalry

June 2, 2016

Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, drawn by S. Harding, from a print in the British Museum, 1793.

Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, drawn by S. Harding, from a print in the British Museum, 1793.

Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick was dubbed both “The Father of Courtesy” and “The Son of Chivalry.” Born in 1382, the English nobleman was knighted at the coronation of King Henry IV and succeeded to the Earldom of Warwick.  In 1401 fought for Henry IV against Owen Glendower and the Percys. In 1408 he set out for the Holy Land, visiting monarchs and fighting in a tournament en route; he made a similarly active return trip through various other parts of Europe. Upon his return to England in 1410, Beauchamp performed several royal missions. During the reign of Henry V, his chief employment was as a trusted counselor and diplomatist.

Henry V of England

Henry V of England

Richard de Beauchamp was an ambassador to France in September 1413, and the chief English envoy to the coronation of Sigismund at Aix-la-Chapelle, and to the council of Constance in the autumn of 1414. During the campaign of Agincourt he was captain of Calais, where in April 1416 he received Sigismund with such courtly magnificence as to earn from him the title of the “Father of Courtesy.”

Sigismund enters Strasbourg in1414. Painting by Léo Schnug

Sigismund enters Strasbourg in1414. Painting by Léo Schnug

It is said that the French were expected to besiege the place; but that when de Beauchamp found their forces were bent in a different direction, he caused some new feats of chivalry to be instituted.  The next year he was appointed to receive the surrender of Caen Castle. So great was Henry’s confidence in his military skill that he divided the chief commands in Normandy between himself, his brother Clarence, and the Earl of Warwick.

Henry VI of England

Henry VI of England

Upon Henry’s death in 1422, de Beauchamp became a member of the council for the infant Henry VI. He then served as tutor to the young king from 1428 to 1437, when he was appointed the lieutenant of Normandy & France. Richard de Beauchamp was a man of piety and courtesy and was famed in Europe as a chivalrous knight. His daughter Anne married and brought the earldom to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. He died in 1439.

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Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 527

Reprinted with the kind permission of Maura J Graber
Etiquette Enthusiast Maura J Graber is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

 

 

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