Francis and John Beaumont
Died: 06 Mar, 1616
Field: Poet
Location in the Abbey: Poets corner
Type of memorial: Grave

Francis Beaumont, poet and dramatist, and his brother Sir John Beaumont are both buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, at the entrance to St Benedict's chapel near Chaucer's monument. Neither has a monument. In the 19th century Dean Stanley cut Francis' name and date of death, together with others who had been buried in this area who had no marked gravestones, on the gravestone of Abraham Cowley. But John was not included and so has no marker.

Francis was born in 1584, a son of Francis Beaumont (died 1598), a judge, and his wife Anne (Pierrepont). He was born at Grace Dieu in Leicestershire. Francis' mentor was poet Ben Jonson, who said of him, privately, 'Beaumont loved too much himself and his own verses'. The following verses about burials in the Abbey are ascribed to Francis:

"Mortality, behold and fear!

What a change of flesh is here:

Think how many royal bones

Sleep within these heaps of stones:

Here they lie, had realms and lands,

Who now want strength to stir their hands.

Here, from their pulpits sealed with dust,

They preach, 'In greatness is no trust!'

Here's an acre, sown indeed,

With the richest royallest seed,

That the earth did e'er drink in,

Since the first man died for sin.

Here the bones of birth have cried,

'Though gods they were, as men they died.'

Here are sands, ignoble things,

Dropt from the ruined sides of kings.

Here's a world of pomp and state,

Buried in dust, once dead by fate."

Francis wrote chiefly in conjunction with John Fletcher and the two friends lived in Southwark, near the Globe Theatre. Their best known joint production is The Knight of the Burning Pestle. In 1613 he married Ursula Isley and they had two daughters. He died on 6 March 1616 in Westminster.

John, with Francis and their brother Henry, attended Oxford University and entered the Inner Temple in London. He married Elizabeth Fortescue and had seven sons and four daughters. His career as a court poet began through the influence of a kinswoman Maria, Countess of Buckingham and his most famous work is 'Bosworth Field'. In 1627 he was made a baronet and was buried on 19 April in the same year.

Further reading for the brothers, their father and grandfather:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.