John "Fairborn" Beaufort Earl of Somerset
- Born: Abt 1371, Chateau de Beaufort, Maine-Et-Loire, France
- Marriage: Margaret de Holland before 28 Sep 1397 in Upholland, Wigan, Lancashire, England
- Died: 16 Mar 1409-1410, St. Catherine By The Tower Hospital, London, Middlesex, England about age 38
- Buried: St. Michael's Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, England
John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset was the first of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford, later his wife. Beaufort was born in about 1371 and his surname probably reflects his birthplace, his father's Beaufort Castle in Champagne, France. The family emblem was the portcullis which is shown on the reverse of a modern British 1p coin. John of Gaunt had his nephew Richard II of England declare the Beaufort children legitimate in 1390, Gaunt married their mother in January 1396. Despite being the grandchildren of Edward III of England, and next in the line of succession after the Lancasters, their father's legitimate children, by agreement they were barred from the succession to the throne.
John Beaufort was created Earl of Somerset on February 10, 1397. On September 28 of that year he married Margaret Holland, daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent; two days later he was created Marquess of Dorset, and sometime that year he was made a Knight of the Garter. His marquessate was rescinded in 1399 after the accession of Henry IV, and afterwards he was merely Earl of Somerset. In 1404 he was Constable of England.
He and his wife had six children; his grand-daughter Lady Margaret Beaufort married a descendant of Catherine of Valois by Owen Tudor, creating a powerful branch of the Lancastrian family and enabling Henry VII to claim the throne in spite of the agreement barring the Beaufort family from the succession.
Somerset died on 16 March 1410 in the Hospital of St. Katherine-by-the-Tower. He was buried in St. Michael's chapel in Canterbury Cathedral.
His children included:
* Henry Beaufort, 2nd Earl of Somerset (c. 1401 \endash November 25, 1418).
* John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset (baptized March 25, 1404 \endash May 27, 1444).
* Thomas Beaufort, Earl of Perche (c. 1405\endash 1432).
* Joan Beaufort (c. 1406 \endash July 15, 1445), who married James I of Scotland.
* Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset (c. 1406 \endash May 22, 1455).
* Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Devon (c. 1409\endash 1449). Married Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon.
John married Margaret de Holland, daughter of Knights Companion Sir Thomas de Holand K.G., 2nd Duke of Kent and Alice Fitzalan Countess Of Kent, before 28 Sep 1397 in Upholland, Wigan, Lancashire, England. (Margaret de Holland was born in 1385-1386 in Upholland, Wigan, Lancashire, England, died on 30 Dec 1439 in St. Saviour's Monastery, Bermondsey, Surrey, England and was buried in Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.)