FETTIPLACE, John (1526/27-80), of Besselsleigh, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1526/27, 1st s. of Edmund Fettiplace of Besselsleigh, and bro. of George. m. (1) by 1547, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Anthony Hungerford of Down Ampney, Glos.; (2) Jane, da. of John Covert of Slaugham, Suss., wid. of Sir Francis Fleming (d. 27 Aug. 1558) of Broadlands, Romsey, Hants, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1 Apr. 1540. Kntd. ?Sept. 1575.1

Offices Held

Commr. relief, Berks. 1550, loan 1562; j.p. 1554-d.; sheriff 1568-9, 1577-8.2


The Fettiplace family had held the manor of North Denchworth, Berkshire, since the reign of Henry III, but by the mid 16th century it was widely scattered over Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Several namesakes were of the right age to have sat for the shire in 1558, but as all of them save one were obscure younger sons it was doubtless the head of the branch settled at East Shefford and Besselsleigh who did so.3

Within two years of his father’s death, John Fettiplace’s mother and guardian had married Thomas Denton. Fettiplace was licensed to enter on his inheritance on 24 June 1548 and in 1555 Thomas and Margaret Denton alienated the manor and lordship of Sandford, Berkshire, to him and his brother George. It was probably to his stepfather, whose brother John Denton was then sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, that Fettiplace owed his return for Berkshire to the Parliament of 1558 although it may also have been furthered by his fellow-knight and relative by marriage Sir Francis Englefield.4

Fettiplace was not to sit in an Elizabethan Parliament but he remained active in local affairs. In 1564 he was described as a ‘furtherer’ of religion and in 1575 he was knighted. In November 1580, only a month before his death, he forwarded to the Council an account of a papist’s conversation and of the display of a writing by Edmund Campion. His land transactions during these years included the sale in 1562 of the manor of Brompton Regis, Somerset, and the acquisition two years later of Appleton, Berkshire, from John Denton. He was heir to the childless Catherine Englefield and on her death in 1579 her Berkshire manors of Compton Beauchamp, Ockholt and Shrivenham passed to him, although he had to pay £200 before being put in possession of Ockholt.5

Fettiplace made his will on 1 Aug. 1579, asking to be buried in the church of Appleton. In addition to providing for his wife, their daughter Margaret, and their younger son Richard, he left alms for poor householders, £10 for the repair of Abingdon bridge, and £5 for a ‘learned man’ to preach on Whit Sunday for ten years after his funeral. He named his elder son Bessels executor and his stepson Michael Fleming and cousin Edward Fettiplace overseers. He died on 28 Dec. 1580.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/63/5. PCC 6 Alenger, 45 Noodes, 2 Darcy; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), ii. 186-7; C1/1163/11-15; E150/1223/5.
  • 2. CPR , 1553, p. 351; 1553-4, p. 17; 1560-3, p. 434; 1563-6, p. 110; 1569-72, pp. 219, 223; Osborn Coll. Yale Univ. Lib. 71.6.41; APC, ix. 56, 135.
  • 3. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), ii. 93, 95, 185-7; LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xv.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xvi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 92; 1555-7, p. 92.
  • 5. CPR, 1558-60, p. 159; 1560-3, p. 390; 1563-6, p. 134; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 38; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 689; Collinson, Som. iii. 504; VCH Berks. iii. 103; iv. 525, 532.
  • 6. PCC 2 Darcy; C142/194/12; E. W. Dormer, Erleigh Court, 34; Dorm. and Ext. Baronetcies, 195; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 515.