Margaret Beauchamp, Countess of Shrewsbury

Margaret Beauchamp (1404 – 14 June 1467) was the eldest daughter of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and his first wife Elizabeth de Berkeley. As the eldest child of a family without male issue, Margaret was expected to inherit from her father until her stepmother Isabel le Despenser gave him a son.

Margaret Beauchamp
Countess of Shrewsbury
Died14 June 1467 (aged 62–63)
SpouseJohn Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury
FatherRichard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick
MotherElizabeth Berkeley


She was the granddaughter and heir-general of Thomas de Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley; however, the Barony and castle of Berkeley had passed to his nephew James Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley on his death in 1417. These lands were also claimed by her mother, to whom she and her two sisters were coheirs.

Her paternal grandfather was Thomas de Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick who fought for John of Gaunt in Spain and imprisoned in the Tower of London by Richard II and pardoned by Henry IV. However he died 3 years before Margaret was born.[1]


On 6 September 1425 she had married John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury; he and her two brothers-in-law, the Duke of Somerset and the Baron Latimer, vigorously maintained the claim to the Berkeley lands. However, Latimer's claim was possessed by his brother, the Earl of Salisbury, as Latimer had been declared insane.[2]

By Talbot, she had five children:

Lord and Lady Talbot were distantly related to each other, having a shared ancestor in King Edward I and both being descendants of the houses of Clare and Despenser. She received the title of Countess of Clermont through the bravery of her husband during the wars with France.[3]

Wars of the Roses

During the troubled years of the Wars of the Roses, the dispute frequently passed from litigation to actual violence.

Lord Berkeley sacked Margaret's manor at Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, in return for which her son, the Viscount Lisle, stormed Berkeley Castle (1452) and took him prisoner.

Margaret also succeeded in having Lord Berkeley's wife, Lady Isabel Mowbray, committed to prison, where she died that year.

Litigation from her Deathbed

Lord Berkeley married Lady Joan Talbot, Margaret's stepdaughter, in 1457, temporarily quelling the feud. It broke out again in 1463, when William Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley, acceded. Litigation continued, and on her death in 1468, she left her claims to her grandson Thomas Talbot, 2nd Viscount Lisle. She was buried in St Faith under St Paul's at London.[4]



  1. John Ashdown-Hill, "Eleanor The Secret Queen", Page 22 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7524-5669-0
  2. David Baldwin. The Kingmaker’s Sisters: Six Powerful Women in the Wars of the Roses, The History Press; First Edition, 1 August 2009.
  3. John Ashdown-Hill, "Eleanor The Secret Queen", Page 21 The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7524-5669-0
  4. Camden, p. 335


  • Camden, William. "Of the Antiquity of Epitaphs in England." A Collection of Curious Discourses. Vol. 1, Ed. Thomas Hearne, Benjamin White, at Horace's Head, London, 1775.
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