As Profile Manager for Henry Beaumont, I received a question from a non-WikiTreer. The questioner referenced Henry's will, which he said indicated his estate was to be divided among Henry's natural as well as legitimate children, and wondered if his ancestor might not be one of Henry's natural children.
In researching a response, the first thing I noticed is that Douglas Richardson (Royal Ancestry, I, 314) is aware of the 1413 will, but mentions only the part where Henry requests his place of burial. While Richardson names illegitimate children in other profiles, he does not mention any for Henry Beaumont.
Therefore I'm wondering: (1) Does anyone know an easy way to read the whole 1413 will? Murphy's Law says that if it can be found, it's in Latin. (2) In that time period could a noble simply specify in his will that natural children would share in the distribution? Henry had 7 legitimate children, whose shares would be diminished if the property were further divided. And wasn't it a pretty inviolable custom that the heir (eldest living son) actually got everything and even the other legitimate children got little or nothing? (3) If the will does have a clause in it about natural as well as legitimate children, I would presume that it only does so because there were in fact natural children. Wouldn't there also be a document showing the distribution of the estate, and naming the natural children as well? That would be tricky then as now, because a lot of people want to be the illegitimate child of a celebrity.
My answers to the questions would be (1) the will is probably in Latin and probably doesn't include the clause, or Richardson would have noticed it; (2) it would be quite unlikely that you could diminish the share of a legitimate heir by adding natural children as beneficiaries, and (3) if there were natural children who were known or supposed in any way, Richardson probably would have at least mentioned that in Henry's profile.
That's how I'm inclined to respond to the questioner, but wanted to see if keener minds on G2G might have better thoughts on this!