FITZLEWIS (FITZLOWYS), Sir Richard (by 1453-1528), of Bardwell, Suff. and West Horndon, Essex.

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. by 1453, 1st s. of Lewis Fitzlewis of West Horndon and London. m. (1) Alice, da. of John Harleston of Shimpling, Norf.; (2); (3) by June 1518, Elizabeth (d. 12 Jan. 1523), da. of Ralph Shelton of Shelton, Norf. At least 1da.; (4) by June 1523, Jane, da. of one Hornby of Lancs.; at least 1s. 5 other da. suc. fa. 1477/80. Kntd. 16 June 1487, banneret 17 June 1497.2

Offices Held

J.p. Essex 1482, 1485-d.; commr. subsidy 1483, 1523, loan 1524; sheriff, Essex and Herts. 1493-4; member, council of 13th Earl of Oxford in 1501; knight of the body by 1513-d.3


Richard Fitzlewis’s paternal grandfather Sir Lewis John was a successful vintner of London and royal servant who married a daughter of the 10th Earl of Oxford and settled at West Horndon. The eldest son of that marriage, Lewis Fitzlewis, joined the de Veres on the Lancastrian side in the Wars of the Roses and was attainted in 1475. His son made his peace with the Yorkist monarchy and redeemed the forfeited lands, but his future only became assured with the accession of Henry VII and the restoration of the 13th Earl of Oxford. He fought at Stoke in 1487 and Blackheath in 1497, being knighted after the first battle and created knight banneret after the second; it was perhaps this record which earned him an honourable place at the King’s funeral. By 1488 he was steward of Oxford’s lands in Essex, a position which he held for at least ten years at an annual fee of 10 marks; he was one of the earl’s councillors in 1501 and a feoffee on many occasions; and in 1502-3 he was an executor of the will of the earl’s brother Sir George de Vere, who in that document called him kinsman. In 1513 he was granted the forfeited manor of Virley in Essex, which he disposed of two years later, and in June 1514 he went with the 5th Lord Bergavenny to France, although not perhaps as a combatant.4

Fitzlewis is known to have sat in three Parliaments but he probably did so in others. His two returns for Maldon were presumably the work of the Earl of Oxford, who owned property in the town, and he himself may have had a hand in the election of Thomas Hintlesham, his fellow-Member in 1510. After Hintlesham’s death the administrator of his estate sued Fitzlewis in the court of requests for the recovery of goods taken from Hintlesham’s house in Brentwood; Fitzlewis ignored the president of the court’s advice to seek a settlement and then contested the decree of 1519 against him. By his will of 4 Dec. 1527 he asked to be buried in the chancel of West Horndon church ‘before the sacrament’. He made bequests to churches and religious houses in London and East Anglia, provided for his wife and family, and named her and his cousin Humphrey Wingfield executors. He died on 12 July 1528, leaving as his heir his 18 year-old granddaughter Ella, who two years before had married John Mordaunt; his widow, who took as her third husband the father of John Norton, placed a brass over his grave at Horndon. Probate was granted on 24 Nov. 1529 to Wingfield, who was a Member of the Parliament then in session.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Essex RO, D/133/1/2, f. 66v.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference, 1474. Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. vi. 43-53; Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 345; PCC 26 Hogen, 13 Jankyn; C1/918/17-20, 928/15; 142/50/122, 153.
  • 3. CPR, 1485-94, passim; 1494-1509, passim; LP Hen. VIII, i-iv; Add. ch. 16571 ex inf. Susan Flower.
  • 4. Essex RO, D/DHt/M129; D/DPZ17/1; D/DR/G1/219; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. n.s. vi. 37, 43; xxi. 261-3; xxiii. 71-72; Essex Rev. xiv; LP Hen. VIII, i.
  • 5. Req.2/11/174, 196; PCC 26 Hogen, 13 Jankyn; C142/50/122, 153; Trans. Essex Arch. Soc. vi. 45, 56-59; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 124; RCHM Essex, iv. 78; Pevsner and Radcliffe, Essex, 388.