FERMOR, Sir John (by 1516-71), of Easton Neston, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. by 1516, 1st s. of Richard Fermor, and bro. of Jerome† and Thomas. educ. I. Temple. m. by Nov. 1544, Maud, da. of Sir Nicholas Vaux, 1st Lord Vaux of Harrowden, 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 17 Nov. 1551. Kntd. 2 Oct. 1553.1
Keeper of woods within Rockingham forest, Northants. Apr. 1554; j.p. Northants. by 1556-64 or later; sheriff 1557-8.2
In common with his Vaux kin Fermor remained a Catholic and it was only under Mary that he cut any figure in public life. He probably took his stand for her during the brief conflict in Northamptonshire over the succession, as his brother-in-law Sir John Mordaunt did in East Anglia, and so earned the knighthood which he received on the morrow of the coronation. It was, too, his Protestant cousin (Sir) Nicholas Throckmorton whom he replaced as senior knight of the shire in the first Parliament of the reign; not surprisingly, he neither ‘stood for the true religion’ on this occasion against the government’s first measures towards restoring Catholicism nor opposed one of its bills in 1555. Brought on to the commission of the peace and granted several local offices, in the last year of the reign he was pricked sheriff: in this capacity he corresponded with the Privy Council about the surety to be taken from subsidy collectors. Under Elizabeth his religious conservatism told against him and he may have been removed from the bench after his inclusion, in the report of 1564 on the attitudes of the local justices, among ‘great letters [hinderers] of religion’.3
Fermor’s main interest throughout his life was his estates. These were augmented in 1556 by the Northamptonshire property of his uncle William Fermor, whose Oxfordshire lands, however, passed to Fermor’s younger brother Thomas. Fermor appears as an enterprising, indeed grasping, landowner. There had been trouble with neighbours over disputed property in Easton Neston before his father’s death, and when the matter went to arbitration he rejected the decision that he should retain the lands in question but give others in compensation, and persuaded his mother to refuse her consent. He was unscrupulous in his attempts to evict tenants of whom he disapproved, some of them probably because they had been given leases when the property was in the King’s hands. Early in Elizabeth’s reign he purchased the manor of Towcester, Northamptonshire, from Laurence Eaton, and other properties there of which one was later claimed by plaintiffs on the ground of defective title. At the same time as he acquired the hundred of Wimersley he broke the entail on his Dorset and Somerset lands in order to create life tenures. When his heir George married in 1570 Fermor conveyed his lands to William, 3rd Lord Vaux of Harrowden, Sir Walter Mildmay and others in order to entail the bulk of them and to make provision for his younger children. He died on to Dec. 1571 and was buried at Easton Neston. George Fermor had licence to enter on 17 June 1572.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: S. M. Thorpe
- 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/94/30. Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 19; Bridges, Northants. i. 290, 292; CPR, 1550-3, p. 228.
- 2. CPR, 1553-4, p. 220; 1555-7, p. 453.
- 3. Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 12; APC, vi. 413; vii. 111, 112; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 36; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 377; CPR, 1560-3, p. 238.
- 4. CPR, 1555-7, p. 258; 1569-72, p. 451; 1572-5, p. 272; Bridges, i. 181, 261, 296, 321-2, 334; St.Ch.3/9/74; Req.2/16/64, 18/138, 20/3; C3/59/26; 142/162/126; Pevsner and Cherry, Northants. 201.