Edmund De La Beche, the Archdeacon of Berkshire, was the fourth son of Sir Philip De La Beche and Joan De La Zouche, and a younger brother of Nicholas, Lord De La Beche of Aldworth. He grew up at the family home of La Beche Castle in Aldworth and became a soldier before entering the Church.
Edmund fought for Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, against King Edward II at the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322 and was there taken prisoner. He was only released upon paying a fine of 200 marks (£133 6s 8d) and finding bail to the same amount. He appears to have been a most audacious character. In the same year, he assisted in the seizure of Wallingford Castle to facilitate the escape of Lords Audley and Berkeley, two adherents of the Earl of Lancaster. Unfortunately for Edmund, the castle was recaptured. He was thrown into prison at Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, but soon after set at liberty. In 1327, the Mayor and citizens of Oxford, with Edmund De La Beche at their head, joining themselves with the townsmen of Abingdon, went, at midnight, in a great body with torches and candles and burnt the Manor of Northcourt, belonging to the Abbey of Abingdon, after which they set upon the Abbey itself and ransacked it in a terrible manner, partly killing and putting to flight the monks, for which the ringleaders were hanged at Wallingford. Edmund De La Beche was, however, again pardoned. In 1346, he was, at last, in Royal favour for King Edward III appointed him as one of the Keepers of the Isle of Wight. He died eight years later and was buried in Aldworth Church where his memorial brass has, unfortunately, long since disappeared.
Partly edited from Lady Russell's 'Swallowfield & its Owners' (1901).
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