FISHER, Andrew (d.1603/6), of Lambeth, Surr.
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Family and Education
1st s. of Henry Fisher†, merchant, of London. educ. Oxf. BA 13 Feb. 1561, fellow, All Souls c.1564; G. Inn c.1571. m. Mary, da. of Richard Dennis, s.p..
Fisher’s ancestors can be traced back to at least 1200, when they were already settled in Kent. It is possible that he was in the service of one of his noble kinsmen. Through Lord St. John he was related to the 2nd Earl of Bedford, to Ambrose Dudley, 1st Earl of Warwick, and to the 3rd Earl of Cumberland. He was certainly known to Bedford’s daughter, the Countess of Warwick. The Earl of Cumberland, a member of the council in the north, may have been responsible for his return to Parliament. Although his name is not mentioned in the extant journals of the 1593 Parliament, he might, as a burgess of a Yorkshire borough, have attended committees on cloth (23 Mar.) and weirs (28 Mar.).
Most of what is known about him concerns his efforts to make good his claim to lands left by his father to the Skinners’ Company for the endowment of the school founded by Andrew Judde at Tonbridge. Litigation in this matter continued for a number of years, and bills to settle the issue were brought into Parliament in 1572, and again in 1589. On the former occasion Fisher was convicted by a parliamentary committee of forging a deed which affected the Skinners’ claim to his father’s property. He was sternly rebuked for his ‘untruth and impudency’, though, on his humble submission, the words in the proposed bill that ‘touched him in infamy’ were omitted. The 1589 bill was probably the result of a settlement already achieved between the contending parties, Fisher foregoing his claim for cash, and, seemingly, a 99-year lease of the property. Being present in the Commons Chamber at the acceptance of the bill he ‘did presently give his assent’ to it. This was not, however, the end of the litigation: not until 1608 were Fisher’s executors and family finally bought off.
Fisher seems to have been unlucky or perhaps unpopular with his relatives. Although heir male to his wealthy uncle, Thomas Fisher of Crayford, he received from him only a legacy of £50 on condition that he withdrew all other claims upon the estate. Thomas left the bulk of his property to his grand-daughters and to his cousin, Sir Thomas Fane, even though he received letters from the Countess of Warwick and Lord St. John ‘to move him to be good to Andrew Fisher’. Clearly Andrew did not accept the position without a struggle: in his will he left dower to his wife from the lands and goods of his late uncle, ‘wrongfully held from me by the heirs and executors of Sir Thomas Fane deceased’, while to his nephew he bequeathed two-thirds of the goods which he claimed were due to him from his uncle’s estate. In this will, dated 2 Sept. 1603, where he styled himself ‘of South Lambeth, gent.’, he left his property to his wife, nieces and nephews. As executor he appointed his brother Henry. He owed few debts but had many owing to him, which he set out in a schedule annexed to the original will. The will was proved 31 Jan. 1606.
Req. 2/143/39, 68; Rec. Skinners of London, 181; CJ, i. 97, 101, 103; D'Ewes, 437, 439, 443, 507, 512; PCC 99 Stafforde, 46 Rutland; St. Ch. 5/M13/15, M18/22.