FLEETWOOD, Thomas (1517/18-70), of London, The Vache, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks. and Rossall, Lancs.

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



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1517/18, 2nd s. of William Fleetwood of Heskin, Lancs. by Ellen, da. of Robert Standish; bro. of John. m. (1) Barbara, da. (or cos.) and h. of Andrew Francis of London, 3s. inc. William 1da., (2) June 1563, Bridget, da. of Sir John Spring of Lavenham, Suff., 7s. inc. George and Henry 7da.1

Offices Held

Auditor of crown lands, Cheshire and Flints. 1544; teller, Tower I mint 13 Apr. 1545-7; auditor, ct. gen. surveyors of the King’s lands 1545-8; comptroller and assayer, Southwark mint 25 Dec. 1547-29 Sept. 1551; commr. chantries, Lancs., Cheshire and Chester 1548, new coinage 1550; esquire of the body by 1554; j.p. Bucks. 1558/59, q. 1562; under treasurer, Tower II mint 29 Sept. 1560-24 June 1562; sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 1564-5.2


The Fleetwood family may be traced back to the 14th century in Lancashire but it was of little importance until the 16th, when Thomas Fleetwood and his three brothers moved south. The eldest, John, a clerk of Chancery by 1535, acquired a large estate mainly in Staffordshire and Lancashire, in each of which counties he was twice sheriff, and of the two others the elder entered the Charterhouse at Sheen and the younger, Robert, became a clerk of the petty bag in Chancery and father of William Fleetwood, recorder of London.3

Thomas Fleetwood, the second of the four, was by August 1543 in the service of the financial administrator Sir Edmund Peckham, a connexion which may have led him to settle in Buckinghamshire. In 1544 he was employed to convey treasure to Boulogne. As a teller in the mint he received a salary of 50 marks, as comptroller one of £100, to be replaced in May 1552 by a life annuity of £50, and as under treasurer the handsome one of £133 6s.8d. When the Company of Mineral and Battery Works was incorporated on 28 May 1568 Fleetwood became one of the assistant governors: he only once attended a meeting of the Company’s court.4

Fleetwood’s career and fortunes are reflected in the differing styles attached to his name. He was granted arms on 1 June 1545 as ‘of London’ and a pardon on 21 June 1552 as citizen and mercer of London, having been admitted to the Mercers’ Company by redemption in 1545 and to the freedom of the city in 1546; he is described on the pardon roll in April 1554 as the Queen’s servant for her body, citizen and mercer, of London and The Vache, Buckinghamshire, and on that of January 1559 as of The Vache, Eccleston in Lancashire, and London. He first obtained an interest in The Vache in 1552 and acquired the whole manor, with Monks Risborough, in 1560. His Lancashire estate included Rossall grange, purchased for £580 in March 1553, and Layton manor, once belonging to Sir Thomas Butler and bought by Fleetwood from John Browne II. Some of these properties were in or near Preston, with which his family had long been connected. His local standing apart, Fleetwood may have owed his election to Parliament for the borough either to his royal service or to an association with the earls of Derby whom his father had served. The Fleetwoods maintained their connexion with Preston and members of the family continued to sit for the borough until the 19th century.5

Fleetwood died on 1 Nov. 1570 and was buried at Chalfont St. Giles, where his memorial records his office in the mint and his Membership of Parliament for Buckinghamshire, but is silent about Preston. His widow married Sir Robert Wingfield.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Aged 52 at death, Chetham Soc. xxx. p. liv. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 59; Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 227; R. Cunliffe-Shaw, Lancs. Fam. 180-1; J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 297-302.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xix, xx; Brit. Numismatic Jnl. xlv. 59-60; CPR, 1548-9, pp. 133, 135; 1553-4, p. 418; 1560-3, p. 434; 1569-72, p. 219; Lancs. and Cheshire Hist. Soc. lxviii. 144-5.
  • 3. Watson, 298; Recusant Hist. vii. 106; LP Hen. VIII, xiv.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xviii; C. E. Challis, The Tudor Coinage, 4, 34 et passim; E351/2185; CPR, 1548-9, p. 133; 1550-3, p. 299; 1566-9, p. 274; J. Craig, The Mint, 120; M. B. Donald, Eliz. Monopolies, 40.
  • 5. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), ii. bet. pp. 272-3; CPR, 1550-3, p. 301; 1553, p. 199; 1553-4, pp. 227, 418; 1558-60, pp. 242, 376; List of mercers T/S Mercers’ Hall, 174; City of London RO, Guildhall, rep. 11, f. 299; VCH Bucks. ii. 256; iii. 188; VCH Lancs. vii. 97n, 235; Ducatus Lanc. i. 45; Chetham Soc. n.s. viii. 157; R. W. Buss, Ancestry of Wm. Fleetwood, 1-2; Watson, 298, 301.
  • 6. PCC 10 Holney; Chetham Soc. xxx. pp. liii-livn; Pevsner, Bucks. 81.