FETTIPLACE, Thomas (d.1618), of Gracechurch Street, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

4th s. of Anthony Fettiplace (d.1546) of North Denchworth, Bucks. by Bridget, da. of Robert Skerne, fishmonger, of London. m. (1) at least 1s. 2da.; (2) Mary (d.1623).1

Offices Held

Common councilman, London from 1589; member, Ironmongers’ Co.; auditor, London 1599-1601.2


Fettiplace was assessed as of St. Benet’s parish, Gracechurch, at £50 for the 1589 subsidy. In April 1598 he was chosen by the Privy Council, together with Julius Caesar, Thomas Smythe II and George Sotherton to adjudicate upon a dispute between the Levant Company and their consul in Aleppo. In September 1601 he was one of 20 citizens chosen by the corporation to ‘meet together and have due consideration what bills are fit to be preferred to the next Parliament on the city’s behalf. Fettiplace was an active Member of the 1597 and the 1601 Parliaments. In 1597 he was named to committees concerning the poor law (22 Nov.), the double payment of debts on shop books (2 Dec.) and abuses in painting (12 Dec.). In the same Parliament, the burgesses of London were appointed to committees concerning regrators (7 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), Langport Eastover (10 Nov.), navigation (12 Nov.), cloth (18 Nov.), imports of wool (8 Dec.), mariners and seamen (9 Dec., 26 Jan. 1598), Exeter merchants (12 Dec.), bread (13 Jan. 1598) and wine casks (3 Feb.). His main recorded activity in 1601 was in debate. On 10 Nov. he complained that there were too many vagabonds in London. On 19 Nov. he made a long speech in favour of the committal on the first reading of the bill to restrict the export of money from England. On 26 Nov. he spoke on the subject of hemp, and on 1 Dec. he asked to be excused from collecting charitable contributions from members of the House. When the House discussed in committee the menace of the Dunkirk pirates on 5 Dec., Fettiplace suggested three remedies: a prohibition on the export of ordnance; the imposition of tonnage and poundage; and that the English seaports should be given authority to protect themselves, saying ‘... I take it to be a rule in policy we should not yield that to our friends which may be fitting to our foes’. On 8 Dec. in the debate on iron ordnance, he spoke on the evils of the export trade in ordnance:

I know her Majesty receiveth yearly by custom for the transportation of these ordnance three thousand pound. There be four kinds of these ordnance now usually transported; the first a falcon of the least weight and bore; the second a minion, a little heavier and bigger; the third a saker, somewhat greater, the fourth a demi-culverin being the greatest. Now Mr. Speaker, they which transport ordnance do transport in this manner; if it be a falcon, she shall have the weight of a minion, and so if a saker the weight of a demiculverin: the reason hereof is, because when they are brought beyond the seas they will new bore them to a greater size, as the saker to the demi-culverin bore. Besides, Mr. Speaker, eight ton of iron ordnance will make five ton of good iron. And it is now grown so common, that if you would send merchandise beyond the seas in strangers’ bottoms, they will not carry it unless you ballast their ships and load them with some ordnance. The ordnance be carried to Calais, Emden, Lubeck, La Rochelle, Brest, St. Jean de Luz and other places; and these be confederates with Spain and friends with Dunkirk, so that in helping them we do not only help our friends but succour the Spaniards, their friends and our enemies. If the Queen would forbid the transportation of ordnance but for seven years, it would breed such a scarcity to the Spaniard, that we might have him even where we would. Some (no doubt) the sea would devour, some would be taken, and the store which he now hath, scattered, and thereby his force weakened. They have so much iron in Spain out of England, that they do ordinarily sell a hundred weight of iron ordnance for seven ducats and a half Spanish. And if the Spaniard do make it a capital matter but to transport a horse or a jennet, much more ought we to have a special care herein when we shall arm even our own enemies against ourselves. I think therefore to proceed by way of a bill would savour of curbing her Majesty’s prerogative. But to proceed by way of petition, it is a safe course and pleasing, and we ought the rather to be induced thereto, because already we have found it successful.

He was in favour, on 11 Dec. of quashing a bill allowing the inventor of any ‘art or trade’ a life monopoly of the same. He made two more speeches on the denization bill (14 Dec.), and the cloth bill (15 Dec.). At the end of the session in both his Parliaments he was appointed to distribute the collection from Members for the relief of the poor; on 17 Dec. 1601 he moved that the names of the 44 defaulters should be read. No committee work is recorded in his name. However, the burgesses of London were appointed to committees concerning the penal laws (2 Nov.), the order of business (3 Nov.), watches (7 Nov.), customs regulations (10 Nov.), procedure (11 Nov.), clothworkers (18 Nov.), monopolies (23 Nov.), felt makers (26 Nov.), the government of the city of London (4 Dec.), cloth (4 Dec.), a private bill (5 Dec.), fuel (7 Dec.), Thames watermen (8 Dec.), iron ordnance (8 Dec.), the maintenance of the navy (9 Dec.), silk weavers (10 Dec.) and printers (17 Dec.).3

He died in 1618 and was buried at St. Botolph’s, Bishopsgate, 29 Aug. In the religious preamble to his will (proved by the widow 29 Aug.), he admonished his wife and children to ‘live peaceably’ after his death and asked to be buried ‘without ostentation or mourning apparel’. His charitable bequests included £5 to Christ’s Hospital, £10 to the Ironmongers’ Company, £13 to prisons and 10 marks to the poor at his funeral. He had already provided for his children, but left further bequests to his daughters and those of his wife by her previous marriage. He bequeathed his lands in Corringham, Essex, to his grandson and namesake, and his property outside the city to his wife for life with a remainder to his daughter Mary Wood.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.


  • 1. Reg. St. Botolph’s, Bishopsgate, ed. Hallen, i. 392; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), vi. 68-70; PCC 82 Meade.
  • 2. A. B. Beaven, Aldermen, i. 290; information supplied by Mr. F. F. Foster; J. Nicholl, Hist. Ironmongers’ Co. 479.
  • 3. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix, cx), 152; APC, xxix. 421; London recs. Rep. 25/275; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 556, 558, 561, 566, 570, 571, 579, 580, 588, 592, 622, 624, 629, 634, 635, 642, 643, 649, 654, 657, 661, 667, 668, 669, 670, 671, 672, 674, 676, 678, 687, 688; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 103, 207, 226, 253, 269, 288, 292, 310, 311, 322, 325, 333, 334; Stowe 362, Hayward Townshend’s jnl. f. 198.
  • 4. St. Botolph’s Reg. i. 392; PCC 82 Meade.