Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 591 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BEAUMONT, BELMONT, or BELLOMONT, the name of a Norman and English family, taken from Beaumont-le-T oger in. Normandy. Early in the 11th century Roger de Beaumont, a kinsman of the dukes of Normandy, married a daughter of Waleran, count of Meulan, and their son, ROBERT DE BEAUMONT (d. II18), became count of Meulan or Mellent about Io80. Before this date, however, he had fought at Hastings, and had added large estates in Warwickshire to the Norman fiefs of Beaumont and Pont Audemer, which he received when his father entered the abbey of St Peter at Preaux. It was during the reigns of William II. and Henry I. that the count rose to eminence, and under the latter monarch he became " the first among the counsellors of the king." A " strenuous and sagacious man " he rendered valuable service to both kings in their Norman wars, and Henry I. was largely indebted to him for the English crown. He obtained lands in Leicestershire, and it has been said he was created earl of Leicester; this statement, however, is an error, although he exercised some of the privileges of an earl. His abilities as a counsellor, statesman and diplomatist gained him the admiration of his contemporaries, and Henry of Huntingdon describes him as " the wisest man between this and Jerusalem." He seems to have been a man of independent character, for he assisted Anselm against William Rufus, although he supported Henry I. in his quarrel with Pope Paschal II. When Robert died on the 5th of June 1118 his lands appear to have been divided between his twin sons, Robert and Waleran, while a third son, Hugh, became earl of Bedford in 1138.

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