FLEETWOOD, Miles (c.1630-88), of Aldwinkle All Saints, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. c.1630, 1st s. of Sir William Fleetwood. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1646; G. Inn 1648. m. (1) by 1651, Elizabeth (d.1657), da. and coh. of Nathaniel Still of Hutton Court, Som., 5s. (2 d.v.p.); (2) lic. 12 Dec. 1666, Barbara, da. and coh. of John St. Andrew of Gotham, Notts., wid. of Sir Oliver St. John, 1st Bt., of Woodford, Northants., s.p. suc. fa. 1674.1
J.p. Northants. 1653-80, Oxon. 16-June 1660; common councilman, Woodstock to 1662, commr. for assessment, Northants. and Oxon. 1657, Northants. 1661-74, 1679-80, militia, Northants. and Oxon. Mar. 1660.2
Clerk of the privy seal 1656-8; teller of the receipt 1658-?June 1660; gent. of the privy chamber (extraordinary) June 1660-?80.3
Fleetwood’s political outlook was apparently derived more from his uncle, the parliamentary general, than from his royalist father. Indeed he inherited nothing more substantial than the manor of Aldwinkle, valued at a mere £140 p.a., and without his second wife’s jointure of £600 p.a. his position would have been desperate. Lack of compensation for his father’s loss of office when the court of wards was abolished, and the grant of Woodstock Park to the Lovelaces gave him two solid grievances against the crown. However, he was able to entertain his friends, thanks to Lord Hatton (Christopher Hatton) who supplied him with venison and bottles of sherry, and he may have made a little on the side as a brewer and by recommending grooms, attorneys and even clergymen to his wealthier acquaintances. He re-entered the House as knight of the shire in February 1678 by defeating the court supporter Sir Roger Norwich, and was marked ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury. With his narrow fortune, he was quite a stranger to Restoration London, despite his honorary post at Court, and he was greatly shocked to find prayers for the dead in use in the chapel of St. James’s Palace; Silius Titus raised the matter in the House on his behalf. If he was still too modest to speak for himself he was not much more forward in committee work, for he was appointed only to consider bills on behalf of foreign Protestant craftsmen, and for settling the stannary laws, and two local estate bills.4
At the general election Norwich was returned unopposed, but Fleetwood and another Whig, John Parkhurst, stood for the junior seat. ‘It was hard to distinguish by the view which had the most [sic]; but at last to prevent the charges which such an infinite number of people would have cost, it was yielded to Mr Parkhurst, who required a poll.’ Fleetwood regained his seat in August 1679 at Norwich’s expense, and was removed from the commission of the peace a few months later. In the second Exclusion Parliament Fleetwood not only found his voice, making three recorded speeches, but also became a moderately active committeeman. He was appointed to the committees for the Irish cattle bill, for inspecting the arrangements for the trial of Lord Stafford and for the prevention of superstitious bequests, and three others. On 18 Nov. 1680 he moved that the informer Turberville might ‘have such a pardon as Lord Danby has, and it will be full enough’, and two days later he and George Vernon undertook to prove the charges of financial irregularity against Edward Seymour. ‘I confess I understand not how those two gentlemen come to be inspired with the knowledge of his accounts’, commented one observer. On 25 Nov. he complained that Seymour had made no answer to his charges, and on the next day he was teller against adding the court supporter (Sir) Christopher Musgrave to the impeachment committee. He was re-elected unopposed in 1681, an exclusionist triumph that might have had serious consequences for him, for on the hustings Sir Thomas Samwell presented him with a strongly exclusionist Address to the Knights of the Shire, which Fleetwood caused to be read aloud to the electors. At Oxford he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and he was among the Members instructed to recommend a more convenient place for the Commons to sit. On 25 Mar. he demanded that Sir Leoline Jenkins should ask pardon on his knees for ‘reflecting’ on the House.5
Fleetwood was noted as one of the Northamptonshire Whigs in 1682, and presented as disaffected by the grand jury in the following year. At Norwich’s instance he and Samwell were indicted in Hilary Term 1685 for publishing a seditious libel, but they had still not been brought to trial in June, and in April 1686 they were pardoned. Nevertheless, Fleetwood was noted on Danby’s list as in opposition to James II. He died before the Revolution, on 28 July 1688, and was ‘decently but very privately interred’ at Aldwinkle All Saints. His will shows that he retained the Calvinist faith of his forebears. The estate was sold on his son’s death ten years later, and no later member of this branch of the Fleetwood family entered Parliament.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: E. R. Edwards
- 1. Northants. N. and Q. n.s. i. 115-16; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 492.
- 2. HMC Lords, i. 187; A. Ballard, Chrons. Woodstock, 92.
- 3. Add. 4184, no. 149; E403/2523, nos. 114, 184, 187; LC3/2.
- 4. SP29/421/216; Add. 29556, f. 400; 29557, f. 126; 29558, f. 22; 29559, f. 316; 29560, f. 486; Grey, vi. 190.
- 5. Add. 29556, f. 431; Northants. RO, IC 1076a; Grey, viii. 31, 40, 78; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 504; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 1, pp. 450-1.
- 6. SP29/421/216; Somers Tracts, viii. 410; Luttrell, i. 325; Morrice, 466; CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 84; HMC Lords, ii. 305; PCC 139 Ent; Bridges, Northants. ii. 209.