FLUDD, Sir Thomas (d.1607), of Milgate, Kent.
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Family and Education
s. of John Fludd of Morton, Salop by his w. Anne Bannoe. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Philip Andrews of Som., at least 5s. 1da.; (2) Barbara, ?2da. Kntd. 1589.
Surveyor, Kent 1568; receiver of the revenue in the Exchequer for Kent, Surr. and Suss. 1582; paymaster of the forces in France 1589; treasurer at war Apr. 1597; j.p. Kent from c.1579.1
Fludd, a Shropshire man, settled at Milgate less than three miles from Maidstone (which he thrice represented in Parliament), early in Elizabeth’s reign, soon becoming immersed in local affairs. It was probably as surveyor of Kent that, in the 1570s and 1580s, he was concerned with the depopulation of the Isle of Sheppey, where he later acquired leasehold property. He was one of those commissioned in 1591 to supervise the repair of Dover harbour, and in 1603 was described as ‘treasurer’ for the project. To his duties as surveyor, other local responsibilities were later added, in addition to those of a local receiver. In 1588, for instance, at the request of the townsmen, he was appointed to a special commission to examine the affairs of New Romney. Again, in 1593, he was among the Kent gentlemen selected by his county to compound with the commissioners for purveyance.2
In September 1589 Fludd was appointed a paymaster to the forces in France under Lord Willoughby. Within three months both Burghley and the Privy Council were complaining to Willoughby of Fludd’s negligence over the accounts, though in his reply Willoughby reported well of him. From 1591 Fludd seems to have been working in partnership with Thomas Shirley I, treasurer at war in the Netherlands since 1587, who now dealt also with the English forces serving in France. It is not known whether Fludd was involved in Shirley’s financial ventures, but by July 1594 a rumour was circulating that he had offered £4,500 for Shirley’s office—a surmise which Shirley described as ‘a most vile and monstrous lie’, for he maintained that the office was not worth one-sixth of that. In March 1597, however, Fludd, at the Queen’s invitation, submitted details of what he considered the minimum expenses of the post and of the economies he thought he could effect if appointed. In the following month he replaced Shirley, after a faction struggle involving the Earl of Essex, Robert Cecil and Lord Howard of Effingham.3
Next, Burghley opened negotiations with another aspirant for Fludd’s post. Within a month of Fludd’s appointment, William Meredith was offering to replace him at a reduced salary. Meanwhile, both he and Fludd were busy submitting estimates of the amounts still owing to the forces. On 9 May 1597 Burghley penned a memorandum that ‘until her Majesty’s pleasure be known who shall be paymaster ... whether Sir Thomas Fludd shall continue or William Meredith, a man well experienced in that kind of service’, his own arrangements for the payment of the forces could not proceed. Several days later Meredith was appointed paymaster for the forces in the Netherlands, thus virtually replacing Fludd there.4
Apart from his appearances in Parliament, little is known of the remainder of Fludd’s life. On 26 Feb. 1593 he was named to the subsidy committee, and by virtue of his position as Member for Maidstone he was appointed to a committee on kerseys (23 Mar. 1593) On 5 Dec 1601 he sat on a committee to consider the abolition of gavelkind.5
Fludd died between 18 Feb. 1607 when he made his will, and 11 June, when it was proved. He made numerous small charitable bequests, including one of 20s.to the poor of Maidstone, and another of 10s. to the prisoners in the gaol. He divided his real estate between his sons, leaving to Thomas, the eldest