FLEETWOOD, Thomas (1518-70), of London; The Vache, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks. and Rossall, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. 1518, 2nd s. of William Fleetwood of Heskin, Lancs., and bro. of John. m. (1) Barbara, da. (or cos.) and h. of Andrew Francis of London, 3s. inc. William Fleetwood III. 1da.; (2) June 1563, Bridget, da. of Sir John Spring of Lavenham, Suff., 7s. inc. George and Henry 7da.1
Auditor of crown lands, Cheshire and Flints. 1544; teller of the Tower I mint 1545-7; auditor, ct. of surveyors Apr. 1545-Mar. 1548; comptroller and assayer, Southwark mint 1547-51; commr. for the new coinage Dec. 1550; under treasurer, Tower II mint 1560-2; esquire of the body to Queen Mary by 1554; j.p. Bucks. 1559, q. 1562; sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 1564-5.2
Though sometimes described as a mercer, Fleetwood was inactive in the affairs of the city company. His duties at the mint were sufficiently profitable to enable him to buy a considerable amount of land between 1553 and 1560, including some in Lancashire. He was living at The Vache in Buckinghamshire by 1554, but it was not until early in Elizabeth’s reign that he acquired large estates in that county, buying January 1560) the manor of Monks Risborough with appurtenances in several other nearby parishes, and extensive lands round The Vache. In a Chancery case a William Patten unsuccessfully claimed that the coheirs of Anthony Restwold†, who had sold the property to Fleetwood, were not entitled to do so, owing to a previous mortgage of The Vache to him. By 1563 Fleetwood was of sufficient standing in Buckinghamshire to serve as knight of the shire. The only references to him by name in Parliament are as a member of the succession committee, 31 Oct. 1566, and of the delegation of 30 MPs who attended the Queen on 5 Nov. 1566 to hear her message about the succession.3
Fleetwood died in December 1570. His will, made in the previous February, was proved a year later. The preamble bears out the bishop of Lincoln’s classification of him in 1564 as a protestant:
hoping to partake of the joyful resurrection which [God] hath prepared for His elect before all worlds in the blood of His dear son Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer, and upon His cross I do lay all my sins and offences, utterly refusing all mine own work as unprofitable to salvation.
There were large bequests to his second wife Bridget and to his surviving children, four unmarried daughters receiving £300 each. The will refers to the testator’s money invested in the battery works, and to the patent which he shared with others for ‘finding the Calamyn stone with the use thereof’. Several of his sons were to have annuities from these funds, or from his property in Buckinghamshire and Lancashire, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire and at the Barbican in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. The Queen was left £200 ‘to suppress rebels and to uphold the true religion’. A number of charitable legacies included £20 to poor scholars at Oxford. To help the widow, who was the sole executrix and residuary legatee, Fleetwood appointed four overseers—Attorney-General Gilbert Gerard, Miles Sandys, John Fleetwood and William Fleetwood I, the testator’s nephew. Fleetwood was buried at Chalfont St. Giles, where there is an elaborate tomb.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. G. Lipscomb, Bucks. iii 227-8; VCH Bucks. iii. 188; H. Fishwick, Hist. Poulton-le-Fylde (Chetham Soc. n.s. viii), 157.
- 2. Information on the mint officials from Dr. C. E. Challis; LP Hen. VIII, xix(1), p. 499; xx(1), p. 302; xx(2), p. 554; CPR, 1548-9, p. 133; 1549-51, pp. 345, 348; 1550-3, p. 229; 1553-4, p. 418.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xx(1), p. 302; CPR, 1548-9, p. 133; 1550-3, pp. 299, 301; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 199; 1553-4, pp. 227-8, 418, 480-1; 1558-60, p. 376; 1560-3, p. 483; PCC 10 Holney; VCH Bucks. ii. 256; iii. 188; C3/136/9; D’Ewes, 127; Camb. Univ. Lib. Gg. iii. 34, p. 209.
- 4. PCC 10 Holney; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 31; Lipscomb, iii. 235.