Beaufort, Edmund (2nd Duke of Somerset)

 Born     Born At  
 Died  22 May 1455   Buried At  
 Father  Beaufort, John (1st Earl of Somerset)   Mother  Holland, Margaret
Edmund Beaufort was a Lancastrian supporter of King Henry VI of England. Beaufort's early military career was a great success, relieving Calais and capturing Harfleur from the French. But failing to prevent the loss of Anjou, Maine and Normandy to the French his career ended badly. Back in England Beaufort's popularity was low and it was only the support of the King that kept him safe. When King Henry had to relinquish power because of his mental health Edmund Beaufort was locked in the Tower of London. When the King regained power Beaufort was released from the Tower. He supported the King until being killed at the Battle of St. Albans on 22 May, 1455.


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1440   Harfleur captured by the English
 The English under the command of Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, captured the port town of Harfleur on the northern coast of France.

Episode: Henry VI and Joan of Arc  
1442   Calais relieved by Edmund Beaufort
 The English who were under siege inside Calais were resupplied by Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. For his actions Beaufort received the title Earl of Dorset.

Episode: Henry VI and Joan of Arc  
1447   Edmund Beaufort appointed lieutenant of France
 Edmund Beaufort was appointed lieutenant of France. Richard of York had wanted to be re-appointed to the position. Edmund and Richard became rivals in the battles of the Wars of the Roses.[1]

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
 Qtr 4  Richard, Duke of York, Lieutenant of Ireland
 Richard, Duke of York, had previously been the Lieutenant of France and Normandy but this had expired and the title had gone to his rival Edmund Beaufort (later Duke of Somerset). Instead, Richard was appointed the title of Lieutenant of Ireland.[1] 
1450 Jul  Surrender of Caen
 The Duke of Somerset surrendered the town of Caen to the French after a short siege and he returned to England.[2] 
 Aug 1  Somerset arrives in London
 The Duke of Somerset entered London and positioned himself as part of the king's council.[3] 
 Sep  Richard returns from Ireland
 As a possible heir to throne of England, Richard, Duke of York returned from Ireland where he had been placed as lieutenant by the Duke of Somerset who had possible aspirations of taking the throne for himself. Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset and his associates were being shown favouritism and Richard along with the Welsh land owners were finding it hard to retain the earnings they were making from their own lands. Richard failed this time in removing the Duke of Somerset. 
1452 Feb  The Duke of York marches on London
 The Duke of York gathered an army and marched on London intent on persuading the king to remove Somerset from power, King Henry took an army north to Northampton to prevent Yorkist supporters in the east joining York in the west. The king also sent word to the city of London to not allow York to enter, Learning that he was refused entry to the city the Duke continued south and crossed the the river Thames at Kingston. York moved his army to Dartford while the king came back south to London. [4]

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
1453 Nov  Somerset sent to the Tower
 Edmund Beaufort, the duke of Somerset was unpopular and only kept his position of power with the support of the King. While Henry VI was ill Somerset was sent to the Tower of London.

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
1454 Apr 2  Earl of Salisbury becomes chancellor
 With Richard, Duke of York running the country, several changes were made, one of which was to make the elder Richard Neville chancellor. Richard also made himself the Captain of Calais removing his rival the Earl of Somerset from the post.

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
1455 Feb  Somerset released from the Tower
 With Henry back in power the Duke of Somerset was released from captivity.

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
 Mar  Somerset back in command
 Henry's return to sanity swung the balance of power back to favour the Duke of Somerset and he was quickly restored to his former position of Captain of Calais. The Yorkists at this time felt it wise to leave London in fear of reprisals.

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
 May 22  Battle of St. Albans
 The King had by his side at St. Albans the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham, Lords Pembroke, Northumberland and Devon and around 2,000 Lancastrian men. They tried to hold the town against the Yorkists led by Salisbury and Warwick but Warwick was able to enter the town through an unguarded spot and attack the flanks of the Lancastrian barricades. Although this battle was small it left the Duke of Somerset dead along with Lord Northumberland and Clifford. As a result of this victory power again swung to the Yorkists although support from the Barons was not total. Richard, Duke of York, again became Protector of the Realm and the powerful position of Captain of Calais was given to the Earl of Warwick.

Episode: Wars of the Roses  
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