FLEMING, Sir Francis (by 1502-58), of Broadlands, Romsey, Hants.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. by 1502, s. of John Fleming of Southampton by 2nd w. Magdalen, da. of Edmund Lambert of Maiden Bradley, Wilts. m. by 1538, Jane, da. of John Covert of Slaugham, Suss., 2s. 2da. Kntd. 28 Sept. 1547.2
Capt. George of Greenwich 1523; lt. gen. of Ordnance 1545-d.; j.p. Hants 1547-d.; commr. relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities Southampton 1553; master, St. Katharine’s hospital by the Tower Nov. 1549-July 1558.3
Forsaking his family’s long tradition in the commerce and rule of Southampton, Francis Fleming made his fame and fortune as a fighting man. In 1523 he captained a vessel under the command of the Duke of Suffolk and in the 1530s he was engaged in the supply of guns for new royal forts. Appointed lieutenant-general of the Ordnance, under Sir Thomas Seymour II, in March 1545, with wages backdated to the previous November, he immediately applied himself to a review and expansion of the royal munitions, supervised the building of a new ordnance office in the Tower and inspected the fortifications in the south-west. He had served in the Boulogne campaign but it was the renewal of war in 1547 which led to his popular acclaim. The chronicler of the Scottish expedition adjudged him
a gentleman whom long exercise and good observance hath made ... right perfect: whereunto, in this voyage, he joined so much heed and diligence, as it was well found how much his service did stead.4
Seymour doubtless procured Fleming’s election at Lyme Regis, which was amenable to his patronage as admiral. Fleming was probably chosen by the borough in his absence, there being no time for a visit before Parliament opened, but in the following summer he and Sir John Rogers, one of the knights for Dorset in the same Parliament, were entertained by the townsmen. Fleming is not known to have been elected to the second Edwardian Parliament, summoned under the aegis of the Duke of Northumberland, but for the next, the first of Mary’s reign, he utilized his connexion with Southampton to return to the Commons, where he was one of those who opposed the initial measures for the restoration of Catholicism.5
Fleming was living in Romsey by 1542 when he quit-claimed his right to a tenement in Southampton. He bought the conventual buildings of Romsey abbey from John Bellow and Robert Bygotte in December 1546, and in the following August Sir Thomas Seymour sold him several properties in the town. After Seymour’s execution Fleming succeeded him in the mastership of St. Katharine’s hospital by the Tower, his patent granting him dispensation to hold the office as a layman. This dispensation notwithstanding, Mary forced him to leave the hospital, although he did not surrender his patent until the Queen compensated him by a lease of the manor of Romsey Extra in 1558.6
Fleming was a sick man when he made his will on 24 Aug. 1558 and he died three days later. He asked to be buried in Romsey church, and left Broadlands to his wife, with remainder to his elder son and executor William; his other son Michael received £100 in cash and an annuity of £10. His widow married (Sir) John Fettiplace.7
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Patricia Hyde
- 1. Hatfield, 207.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 14; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 38, 146; Comber, Suss. Genealogies (Ardingly), 182-3; C142/124/156; PCC 45 Noodes.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 84 passim to 1557-8, p. 395.
- 4. C. Platt, Med. Southampton, 239-40; LP Hen. VIII, iv, xix-xxi; APC, i-vii passim; The King’s Works, iii. 270; An Eng. Garner, ed. Arber, iii. 147-8.
- 5. Lyme Regis, finance, 2, no. 2; CPR, 1548-9, p. 245; Bodl. e Museo 17.
- 6. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 211; 1557-8, p. 398; Black Bk. iii (Soton Rec. Soc. vii), 73; C. Jamison, R. Hospital of St. Katharine, 62-64; H. G. D. Liveing, Recs. Romsey Abbey, 265, 267.
- 7. PCC 45 Noodes; C142/124/156.