||Joan (Beaufort) de Neville LG was a member of aristocracy in the British Isles.|
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Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (c. 1379 – 13 November 1440) was the fourth of the four illegitimate children (and only daughter) of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress, later wife, Katherine Swynford; and, in her widowhood, a powerful landowner in the North of England.
She was probably born at the Swynford manor of Kettlethorpe in Lincolnshire. Her surname probably reflects her father's lordship of Beaufort in Champagne, France, where she might also have been born. In 1391, at the age of twelve, Joan married at Beaufort-en-Vallée, Anjou, Robert Ferrers, 5th Baron Boteler of Wem, and they had two daughters before he died in about 1395.
Along with her three brothers, Joan had been privately declared legitimate by their cousin Richard II of England in 1390. Her parents were married in Lincoln Cathedral in February 1396. Joan was already an adult when she was legitimized by the marriage of her mother and father with papal approval. The Beauforts were later barred from inheriting the throne by a clause inserted into the legitimation act by their half-brother, Henry IV of England, although it is not clear that Henry IV possessed sufficient authority to alter an existing parliamentary statute by himself, without the further approval of Parliament. Soon after the legitimation, on 3 February 1397, when she was eighteen, Joan married Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, who had also been married once before.
When Ralph de Neville died in 1425, his lands and titles should, by law of rights, have passed on to his grandson through his first marriage, another Ralph Neville. Instead, while the title of Earl of Westmorland and several manors were passed to Ralph, the bulk of his rich estate went to his wife, Joan Beaufort. Although this may have been done to ensure that his widow was well provided for, by doing this Ralph essentially split his family into two and the result was years of bitter conflict between Joan and her stepchildren who fiercely contested her acquisition of their father's lands. Joan however, with her royal blood and connections, was far too powerful to be called to account, and the senior branch of the Nevilles received little redress for their grievances. Inevitably, when Joan died, the lands would be inherited by her own children.
Death: Joan died on 13 November 1440 at Howden in Yorkshire. 
Rather than be buried with her husband Ralph (who was not buried with his first wife, though his monument has effigies of himself and his two wives) she was entombed next to her mother in the magnificent sanctuary of Lincoln Cathedral, Lincolnshire - known in full as The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln or sometimes St. Mary's Cathedral. Joan's is the smaller of the two tombs; both were decorated with brass plates – full-length representations of them on the tops, and small shields bearing coats of arms around the sides — but those were damaged or destroyed in 1644 by Roundheads during the English Civil War. A 1640 drawing of them survives, showing what the tombs looked like when they were intact, and side-by-side instead of end-to-end, as they are now.
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