Beaumont, Waleran de, Count of Meulan 1104-1166, warrior and feudal statesman, was the twin brother of Robert, earl of Leicester [see Beaumont, Robert de, 1104-1168] and the son of Robert, count of Meulan [see Beaumont, Robert de, d. 1118]. Born in 1104 (Ord. Vit. xi. 2), and brought up with his brother, he succeeded at his father's death (1118) to his French fief of Meulan and his Norman fief of Beaumont (ib. xii. 33). In the struggle of 1119 he was faithful to Henry I (ib. xii. 14), probably because too young to rebel; but the movement in favour of William Clito and Anjou (1112) was eagerly joined by him (ib. xii. 34). He was present at the conspiracy of Croix St. Leufroi, Sept. 1123 (ib.), and threw himself into Brionne (ib.). On Henry's approach, he withdrew to Beaumont (ib. xii. 36), whilst his castles of Brionne and Pont-Audemer were besieged and captured (Rog. Hov. i. 180, Hen. Hunt. 245, Sim. Durh.). On the night of 24 March 1124 he relieved and re-victualled his tower of Watteville, but was intercepted two days later by Ranulf of Bayeux, near Bourg Thorolde, and taken prisoner with thirty of his knights (Ord. Vit. xii. 39). Henry extorted from him the surrender of Beaumont, his only remaining castle, and kept him in close confinement for some five years (ib.). He was present with his brother at Henry's deathbed, 1 Dec. 1135 (ib. xiii. 19), but warmly espoused the cause of Stephen, and received the promise of his infant daughter in 1136 (ib. xiii. 22). Returning to Normandy after Easter, to assist his brother against Roger de Toesny, he captured him after prolonged warfare on 3 Oct. 1136 (ib. xiii. 27). Joined by Stephen the following spring, he hastened back with him to England in Dec. 1137, at the rumour of rebellion (ib. xiii. 32), but was again despatched by him to Normandy in May 1138, to suppress his opponents (ib. xiii. 37). Returning to England with his brother, before the end of the year, they continued to act as Stephen's chief advisers, and headed the opposition to the bishop of Salisbury and his nephews (Gest. Steph.). At the council of Oxford (June 1139) matters came to a crisis, and, in a riot between the followers of the respective parties, the bishops were seized by the two earls, and imprisoned, at their advice, by Stephen (Ord. Vit. xiii. 40; Gest. Steph.). This gave the signal for the civil war (Stubbs, Const. Hist. i. 326), in which the earl, active on Stephen's side, was rewarded by him with a grant of Worcester (and, it is said, the earldom) towards the close of 1139. At the battle of Lincoln (2 Feb. 1141) he was one of Stephen's commanders, but fled at the first onset, and left him to his fate (Ord. Vit. xiii. 42; Gest. Steph.; Hen. Hunt., 270; Gervase, i. 116), and though he hastened to assure the queen that he would be faithful to the captured king (ib.), he assisted Geoffrey of Anjou to besiege Rouen in 1143. In 1145 he went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Chron. Norm.), having (as count of Meulan) entrusted his lordship of Worcester to his brother, the earl of Leicester, and to the sheriff (App. 5th Report Hist. MSS. p. 301). On his return, he adhered to the empress, and held Worcester against Stephen in 1150. The king took the town, but not the castle (Hen. Hunt. 282), which he again attacked in 1152. He erected two forts to block it up, but was treacherously induced to destroy them by the count's brother (Gervase, i. 148). He would seem to have subsequently withdrawn to Normandy, where he was captured by his nephew, Robert de Montfort, who imprisoned him at Orbec till he restored to him his fief of Montfort (Chron. Norm.). He reappears in attendance on the court early in 1157, and in May 1160 is one of the witnesses to the treaty between Henry II and Louis. Henry took his castles into his own hands about January 1161, but he is not again mentioned. He died in 1166, being buried on 9 April. His son, Robert, count of Meulan (d. 1181), joined in Prince Henry's rebellion against his father, Henry II, in 1173 (Bened. Abb. i. 45), and was father of Robert, count of Meulan, excommunicated as a member of John's faction in 1191 (Rog. Hov.).

     Orderic Vitalis, lib. xi. xii.
     Gervase of Canterbury and Henry of Huntingdon (Rolls series)
     Gesta Stephani (Eng. Hist. Soc.), pp. 47, 49
     Chronica Normannić
     Lyttelton's Henry II (1767) vol. i.
     Nichols's History of Leicester (1795) pp. 23-4
     Green's History of Worcester, pp. 255-6
     Eyton's Court and Itinerary of Henry II.

Contributor: J. H. R. [John Horace Round]

Published: 1885