FLEETWOOD, Sir George (by 1560-1620), of The Vache, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. by 10 July 1560, 8th but 6th surv. s. of Thomas Fleetwood† (d.1570) of The Vache, being his 5th s. with his 2nd w. Bridget, da. of Sir John Spring of Cockfield, Suff.; bro. of Henry* and Sir William I*.1 educ. New Inn; M. Temple 1580.2 m. 19 Apr. 1586,3 Katherine (d. 9 Mar. 1635), da. of Henry Denny of Cheshunt Nunnery, Herts. 8s. (1 d.v.p.) 6da.4 suc. bro. Thomas at The Vache c.1578;5 kntd. 11 May 1603.6 d. 21 Dec. 1620.7
J.p. Bucks. by 1587-d.,8 sheriff 1590-1,9 commr. inquiry, lands of Thomas, Lord Grey, Bucks. 1603, lands of Gunpowder plotters, Bucks. 1606,10 subsidy, Bucks. 1608,11 sewers, Herts., Bucks. and Mdx. 1609, 1615-18.12
Gent. pens. by 1597-at least 1613.13
Fleetwood was probably just a few months old when his father granted him an annuity of £13 6s. 8d. in July 1560. As a younger son, his hopes of a more lavish patrimony were initially slim, and indeed he was bequeathed just £50 extra in his father’s will. However, under the terms of a family entail, he inherited four Buckinghamshire manors, including The Vache, when his elder brother Thomas died in around 1578. His marriage eight years later brought him valuable connections at Court, particularly with Lord Burghley (Sir William Cecil†) and Sir Francis Walsingham†, which doubtless enhanced his local standing. He first entered Parliament in October 1586, as Member for his local borough of Chipping Wycombe, served as county sheriff in 1590-1, and became a gentleman pensioner in around 1597.14
Knighted shortly after James I reached London in 1603, Fleetwood was granted the presentation of a Canterbury prebend in May 1604, but that year he also received a less welcome Privy Seal loan demand for £30. He was returned to the first Jacobean Parliament for Tavistock, on the nomination of the 3rd earl of Bedford, his distant kinsman by marriage, whose seat at Chenies, Hertfordshire lay barely two miles from The Vache.15 Fleetwood made no recorded speeches during this Parliament, but was prominent enough in the House to attract 47 committee nominations, of which 17 came during the 1604 session. Named on 23 Mar. to help consider the grievances raised by Sir Edward Montagu, he was also appointed to accompany the Speaker when the king heard the Commons’ reasons for seating Sir Francis Goodwin as a Buckinghamshire knight of the shire (28 March). His puritan leanings explain his nominations to help prepare for a conference with the Lords on religion (19 Apr.), and to consider bills against clerical pluralism and abuses in the ecclesiastical courts (4 and 16 June). He was also appointed to consider two bills on usury (9 May, 9 June), and no less than four on alehouse abuses (2 and 23 May).16
Religious affairs remained a major theme of Fleetwood’s performance during the second session, over the course of which he received 19 committee appointments. Named on 3 Feb. 1606 to a conference with the Lords on the recusancy laws, he was also nominated to scrutinize bills concerning the execution of these penal statutes, the regulation of ecclesiastical government and, once again, clerical pluralism (25 Feb., 5 Mar., 1 and 7 April). He was also appointed to the legislative committees for the attainder of the Gunpowder plotters, and the naturalization of the Scottish courtier Sir David Foulis, who had married his cousin Cordelia Fleetwood (18 and 30 April).17 During the remainder of this Parliament, Fleetwood was very much less active in the House. The 1606-7 session brought him only seven nominations, though these included important committees to prepare for a conference with the Lords on the Instrument of Union (29 Nov.), and to draft the petition to the king against recusants (18 May). He was also named on 16 May to consider yet another bill on the ecclesiastical courts.18 During the first session of 1610 Fleetwood received just four committee nominations, whose topics were purveyance, the preservation of woodlands, the estates of Sir John Wentworth of Gosfield, Essex, and the naturalization of three Scots (26 Feb., 21 Mar., 21 Apr., 7 June). His activities during the fifth session are not recorded.19
During his time as a gentleman pensioner, Fleetwood continued to reap some personal benefits. In 1607 he and three associates were granted a debt of nearly £12,000 owed to the king out of the estate of George Goring†, his brother William’s predecessor as receiver of the Wards. Two years later, he jointly leased a Buckinghamshire estate from the Crown for 21 years. He lost his position at Court around a decade into James’s reign, but still secured some favours subsequently, perhaps by purchase. In 1619 he was granted the right to hold a court leet for the manor of The Vache, and also a pension of £2,000 for life.20
Fleetwood drew up his will on 20 Oct. 1620, confident of achieving salvation through Christ, who ‘hath, ever sithence I had any being, preserved me with a most fatherly and tender love amidst all the temptations of this wicked world, wherein ... I have lived a most sinful and ungodly life’. He provided six of his sons with annuities totalling £230 a year, and bequeathed £100 outright to the seventh, an apprentice. His two youngest daughters were each given portions of £500. As overseers he appointed his brother-in-law, Lord (Sir Edward) Denny*, and his cousin Sir William Fleetwood II*, the latter also being named as a trustee to raise the necessary funds from his estate. Fleetwood died two months later, and was buried at Chalfont St. Giles, as he had requested. His grandson George, who had inherited The Vache, represented Buckinghamshire in the Long Parliament, signed Charles I’s death warrant, and sat in the ‘Other House’ during the second Protectorate Parliament. As a regicide, he narrowly avoided execution after the Restoration, and forfeited his lands.21
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: John. P. Ferris / Paul Hunneyball
- 1. DL7/12/2; H. Fishwick, Hist. of Poulton-le-Fylde (Chetham Soc. n.s. viii), 157-8; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 167.
- 2. M. Temple Admiss.
- 3. Reg. St. Olave, Hart St., London (Harl. Soc. Reg. xlvi), 252.
- 4. G. Lipscomb, Hist. and Antiqs. of Bucks. iii. 227; R. Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 107; Al. Ox. (Arthur Fleetwood).
- 5. PROB 11/60, f. 168r-v.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 106.
- 7. C142/386/96.
- 8. E163/14/8, f. 2; C193/13/1, f. 9v.
- 9. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 9.
- 10. C181/1, ff. 72v, 130v.
- 11. SP14/31/1.
- 12. C181/2, ff. 90, 229v, 317.
- 13. E407/1/23, 43.
- 14. DL7/12/2; PROB 11/53, f. 78; 11/60, f. 168v; Clutterbuck, ii. 107; HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 29, 131.
- 15. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 115; Verney Pprs. ed. J. Bruce (Cam. Soc. lvi), 277; Beds. RO, R3/9; Clutterbuck, ii. 107; CP, ii. 75-8; vi. 185-6.
- 16. CJ, i. 151b, 157a, 178a, 196b, 204b, 222b, 232a, 235b, 240b.
- 17. Ibid. 263a, 274a, 277b, 291b, 294b, 300a, 303a; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 55.
- 18. CJ, i. 326b, 374b-5a.
- 19. CJ, i. 400a, 413b, 419b, 435b.
- 20. C66/1693; 66/1808; 66/2172/7; 66/2209/7.
- 21. PROB 11/137, ff. 192-3; VCH Bucks. iii. 188, 191.