Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick
Born: c. 1272
Died: August 12, 1315 (Age c. 43)
Warwick in History
There is not a great deal of information known about the early life of Guy de Beauchamp, but he did inherit the earldom of Warwick upon his father's death in 1298, and he was a loyal subject throughout the reign of King Edward I, proving himself on many occasions in battle against the Scots. Warwick was present when the old king died (July 1307) on his way to Scotland and played a big part in the coronation ceremony of the new King Edward II. It is during the younger Edward's reign that Warwick would truly establish himself as a powerful magnate. One of Edward II's first matters of business was to recall a favorite of his, Piers Gaveston, from exile. It is widely believed that Warwick was given the task of not allowing this to happen by the late king, who was the one who had Gaveston exiled in the first place. For this reason, it comes as no surprise when Warwick fought to prevent the favorite's return and his subsequent promotion to Earl of Cornwall. Warwick joined forces with other powerful magnates to force Gaveston's return to exile in 1308. But when he returned to court the following year, Warwick and the lords were forced to turn up the heat, and the Lords Ordainer were formed in 1310 consisting of Warwick, and the powerful Earls of Lancaster and Pembroke, among numerous other noblemen and clergymen. Despite the ordinances that were passed to push Edward II to govern more effectively and shun Gaveston, the favorite remained in the constant presence of the king.
Gaveston did not make the situation any better by continuously mocking the magnates at any opportunity and giving them insulting nicknames; Warwick himself was referred to as the "Black Dog of Arden." The magnates could take Gaveston's influence and insults no more, and war broke out between the two sides in 1312. Gaveston was forced to surrender and was taken captive by the Earl of Pembroke (a sort of moderator between the two sides). However, Warwick was able to gain control of the favorite, who was subsequently given a mock trial and beheaded on the lands of Warwick's closest political ally, the Earl of Lancaster. Warwick received a full pardon from the weak king the following year and remained a highly influential man at court. He was one of several lords who refused to provide military aid to Edward II for his Scottish invasion (1314) which resulted in the king's humiliating defeat at Bannockburn. The lords had achieved a huge victory over the king after this defeat and were in a position to run the country in his name. Warwick would not get to enjoy this victory, as he suddenly died in August 1315. The earldom was inherited by his infant son Thomas.
Warwick in Marlowe
Appears in: Edward II
Warwick is one of several magnates who is in rebellion against the king in Edward II. His biggest role in the play is as the murderer of Piers Gaveston, the king's favorite. After the lords are defeated by the king, both Warwick and the Earl of Lancaster are captured and executed. Wawick's execution is Marlowe's own invention, as the earl died of a sudden illness in 1315 - seven years before Lancaster's execution after his defeat at Boroughbridge.