FITZWILLIAM, Hugh (c.1534-c.76), of Emley, Sprotborough and Haddlesey, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1534, 4th but 1st surv. s. of John Fitzwilliam of Haddlesey by Elizabeth, da. of Christopher D’Amory or Dawnay of Crockwell Grange. educ. Winchester, scholar 1544. Prob. unm.
Fitzwilliam was related to the Fitzwilliams of Milton, Northamptonshire, and to the Fitzwilliam earls of Southampton. He himself claimed to be the great-grandson of Sir John Fitzwilliam (d.1417), descended from his third son Ralph. When, in 1517, the only male heir of this line, William Fitzwilliam of Sprotborough, died without issue, his extensive lands in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Norfolk were divided between his sisters and their heirs. For three generations these general heirs were challenged—unsuccessfully—by the heirs male. As one of these, Hugh Fitzwilliam collected evidence and compiled a genealogy to which he secured the signatures of 11 members of the Fitzwilliam family. As a young man, he served William Fitzwilliam, Earl of Southampton. In 1554 he received a licence to go to Italy, though there is no evidence that he went. The Mr. Fitzwilliam who was in Paris in August 1559 was almost certainly not Hugh, who was described as knowing little French when he was compelled by the death of Sir Thomas Hoby to take charge of the embassy in Paris. There Fitzwilliam offended by making ‘certain speeches touching Mr. Secretary’, and the Queen, ‘having no further occasion to use his services’, recalled him. He presumably owed his seat in Parliament to the standing of his relatives the Fitzwilliams of Milton. He was dead by 1 Feb. 1576, when Humphrey Mildmay was returned at a by-election. In Fitzwilliam’s will, made 14 Oct. 1563 and proved 16 Jan. 1577, Sir William Fitzwilliam II was made executor and principal beneficiary.
Collins, Peerage, iv. 386; Vis. Yorks.(Harl. Soc. xvi), 125-6; M. E. Finch, Five Northants. Fams. 1540-1640 (Northants. Rec. Soc. xix), 188-9; St. Ch. 5/F5/2, F15/18, S8/23; CSP Dom. Add. 1566-79, p. 18; APC, vii. 337; CSP For. 1558-9, p. 436; 1566-8, pp. 120, 132-3; PCC 3 Langley.