FITZWILLIAM, John (aft.1526-68), of Milton, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. aft. 1526, yr. s. of Sir William Fitzwilliam of Gaynes Park, Essex, and Milton by Anne, da. of Sir Richard Sapcote of Elton, Hunts.; bro. of Sir William II ?unm.
Jt. (with bro.) bailiff and steward, Fotheringay manor from 4 Nov. 1553; muster-master Northants. c.1560.
The younger sons of Sir William Fitzwilliam not being adequately provided for by their father, two of them, John and Brian, sought their fortunes as soldiers. John saw service in the Scottish wars of Edward VI, being captain of a band of 100 arquebusiers in 1549, and receiving a £50 annuity in January 1551, renewed under Mary. In April 1558 he was sent with 200 soldiers to Ireland, where he did good service during the following months, returning to England early in Elizabeth’s reign. In 1560 the Duke of Norfolk was expecting him on the Scottish border. By 1566, however, he was back in Ireland, repulsing an assault by Shane O’Neill on Dundalk in July of that year.
Apart from his military exploits little is known of Fitzwilliam, though it may be conjectured that, like his elder brother Sir William, he was a convinced protestant. He was related to the 2nd Earl of Bedford through his mother’s family, and to Cecil and the Killigrews through the Cokes. The Killigrews brought him into Elizabeth’s first Parliament for Truro, and his seat at Peterborough was no doubt due to his family’s local standing. Fitzwilliam had little land himself, and what he had was sold on his death to pay his debts and legacies.
M. E. Finch, Five Northants. Fams. (Northants. Rec. Soc. xix), 111-12; HMC Montagu, 7; APC, ii. 264; vi. 308; CPR, 1549-51, p. 237; 1553-4, pp. 327, 408; 1560-3, p. 387; HMC Hatfield, i. 168; CSP Ire. 1509-73, p. 312; Cal. Carew Pprs. 274-6.