Cracroft's Peerage
The Complete Guide to the British Peerage & Baronetage


If you have found this page useful, why not make a donation to The Peerage Research Trust so that we can continue to maintain and develop Cracroft's Peerage?

| Search this site | Introduction | Contents | The Monarchy | The Peerage | The Baronetage | Untitled Families | Orders of Chivalry | Miscellaneous | Forums | Contact Us | Links |



(A)bergavenny, Baron (E, 1392 - abeyant 1762)


Creation: writ of sum. 1392


Abeyant: 26 Aug 1762


Family name: Beauchamp later Nevill later Fane







William [de Beauchamp], 1st Baron Bergavenny, KG

4th son of Thomas [de Beauchamp], 11th Earl of Warwick, by his wife Lady Catherine de Mortimer, 1st dau. of Roger [de Mortimer], 1st Earl of March



Lady Joane FitzAlan (b. 1375; d. 14 Nov 1435), 2nd dau. of Richard [FitzAlan], 11th or 4th Earl of Arundel, by his first wife Lady Elizabeth de Bohun, only dau. of William [de Bohun], 1st Earl of Northampton


1. Richard de Beauchamp, later 2nd Baron Bergavenny later 1st Earl of Worcester

1. Joan de Beauchamp (d. 3 Aug 1430; bur. in the Chapel of St Thomas Acon, London), mar. as his first wife James [Butler], 4th Earl of Ormonde, and had issue


8 May 1411


by writ 1392 as Baron Bergavenny

suc. by



Knight of the Garter 1375;  Captain of Calais 1383;  in 1391 suc. to the Castle and Honour of Abergavenny by virtue of an entail made 15 Apr 1372 by John [Hastings], 1st Earl of Pembroke;   in 1396 he entailed the Castle and Honour of Abergavenny to himself and his wife and their issue male, with remainder to his brother Thomas [Beauchamp], 4th Earl of Warwick, and his heirs male for ever;  Justiciar of South Wales and Governor of Pembroke 1399; under the entail of 1396 William, Lord Bergavenny's widow held the Castle and Honour of Abergavenny in dower until her death in 1435, when they passed to her husband's nephew, Richard [Beauchamp], 13th Earl of Warwick; after his death  in 1439 they passed to his son, Henry [Beauchamp], 14th Earl of Warwick later 1st Duke of Warwick; after his death s.p.m. in 1445 they passed to his sister, Lady Anne Beauchamp, suo jure Countess of Warwick, wife of Richard [Nevill], 2nd Earl of Salisbury;  after she death in 1490 they passed jure uxoris to George [Plantagenet], 1st Duke of Clarence, husband of her elder daughter, Lady Isabel;  after his death in 1477 they passed to King Richard III, husband of her younger daughter, Lady Anne;  following King Richard III's death in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth the Castle and Honour escheated to the Crown and were granted by King Henry VII to his uncle Jasper [Tudor], 1st Duke of Bedford;  he died s.p. in 1495 and these were later granted by King Henry VIII to George [Nevill], 2nd Baron Bergavenny of the 1450 creation


Richard [de Beauchamp], 2nd Baron Bergavenny later 1st Earl of Worcester




27 Jul 1411 Lady Isabel la Despencer, suo jure Baroness Burghersh (mar. (2) 26 Nov 1423 as his second wife her late husband's cousin Richard [de Beauchamp], 13th Earl of Warwick;  d. 26 Dec 1440), sister and eventual sole hrss. of Richard [le Despencer], 4th Baron Burghersh, and only surv. dau. of Thomas [le Despencer], 1st Earl of Gloucester, by his wife Lady Constance Plantagenet, only dau. of Edmund [Plantagenet], 1st Duke of York (by his first wife Isabella of Castile, 2nd dau. and cohrss. of Peter I, King of Castile), 5th son of King Edward III

only child

1. Lady Elizabeth de Beauchamp, later suo jure Baroness Bergavenny


v.m. s.p.m. 1422


1420 Earl of Worcester

suc. by

only daughter


his wife, but for the attainder of her father, would have also been suo jure Baroness Le Despencer;  on her death any right to that barony passed to her son by her second husband;  the attainder was reversed in 1461 and immediately the Barony of Le Despencer fell into abeyance


Lady Elizabeth de Beauchamp, suo jure Baroness Bergavenny


16 Dec 1415


bef. 1426 Sir Edward Nevill, later 1st Baron Bergavenny


18 Jun 1447


The Barony of (A)bergavenny created in 1392, if it existed separately to the possession of Abergavenny Castle, passed to her son, George Nevill, her grandson, also George Nevill, and her great-grandson Henry Nevill, each of whom also possessed the Barony of (A)bergavenny created in 1450 for Sir Edward Nevill. On the death of Henry Nevill, 6th Lord (A)bergavenny of the 1392 creation and 4th Lord (A)bergavenny of the 1450 creation, in 1587 both baronies should have passed to his only child, Mary, wife of Sir Thomas Fane, as heir general of William [de Beauchamp], 1st Baron Bergavenny, and of Edward [Nevill], 1st Baron Bergavenny. She does not appear to have been very forceful in pursuing her claims to the two Baronies of (A)bergavenny. Her father's cousin, Edward Nevill, of Newton St Loo, co. Somerset, had inherited the bulk of the Nevill estates, including the Castle of Abergavenny, following a settlement by George, 3rd Lord (A)bergavenny of the 1450 creation (confirmed by Act of Parliament 31 Jan 1555/6). This Edward was never summoned to Parliament.


In 1598 his son, Sir Edward Nevill, claimed the dignity of Baron of Bergavenny, not on the grounds that the dignity was in any way attached to the Castle of Abergavenny, but that he, as being seised of that castle and as heir male of the last Lord, was the more eligible person. The Lord Chief Justice of England, Sir John Popham, and the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas were both of the opinion that the heir general had a prior claim to the heir male. Based upon these opinions Lady Fane petitioned to be allowed the Barony. Nothing further took place until 1604, when the claims by both parties were renewed. The House of Lords avoided a formal decision and it was decided that the King, James I, should be asked to ennoble both parties by way of restitution, the one to the Barony of Le Despencer and the other to the Barony of Bergavenny. By a further resolution it was determined that Bergavenny should go to Nevill and Le Despencer to Fane. This arrangement was approved of by the King, and a writ of summons was directed to Edwardo Neville de Bergavenny Chr on 25 May 1604, and letters patent dated the same day confirmed the dignity of Le Despencer on Lady Fane.


The writ of summons to Sir Edward Nevill in 1604 did not actually resolve the descent of the 1392 and 1450 Baronies of Bergavenny. Sir Edward was neither heir nor even co-heir of any barony created by writ in either 1392 or 1450. Unless it can be proven that the 1604 writ was subsequent to an as yet undiscovered patent, or was dependent upon the tenure of the Castle of Abergavenny, modern Peerage law would state (a) that the writ of 1604 must have created a new barony in fee, and (b) the Baronies of 1392 and 1450 would have descended to Lady Fane, as heir general of the first holders of those baronies, and through her to her own heirs general, i.e. following the same line of descent as the Barony of Le Despencer.


The son and heir of Lady Fane, Francis Fane, was created Earl of Westmorland in 1624. He inherited the Baronies of Bergavenny from his mother in 1626 and they remained merged with the Earldom of Westmorland until 26 Aug 1762, when on the death of John [Fane], 7th Earl of Westmorland, de jure 12th and 14th Baron Bergavenny, etc., the Baronies of Bergavenny, together with the Barony of Le Despencer, fell into abeyance between the descendants of his two sisters, Lady Mary Dashwood and Lady Catherine Paul.  The Barony of Le Despencer was called out of abeyance on 19 Apr 1763 in favour of Sir Frances Dashwood, 2nd Bt., of West Wycombe, co. Buckingham, but the 1392 and 1450 Baronies of Bergavenny remain in abeyance.


Last updated 30 Jan 2007



ã Copyright: Heraldic Media Limited. All rights reserved.