FITZJAMES, Leweston (c.1574-1638), of Leweston, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1574, 1st s. of John Fitzjames by Joan, da. of Thomas Trenchard of Wolveton. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1591; M. Temple 1594. m. Eleanor, da. of Sir Henry Winston of Standish, Glos., 3s. 4da. suc. fa. 1625.1

Offices Held

J.p. Dorset temp. Jas. I, rem. 1626, rest. by 16302; sheriff, Dorset 1627-8.


Fitzjames’s name was entered on a blank election return in 1597, presumably at the instance of the 3rd Marquess of Winchester. Related to the Trenchards, and named after John Leweston, Fitzjames was admitted to the Middle Temple at the instance of John Popham also a Balliol man from the west country, and there bound with James Hannam, a wealthy cousin of Thomas Hannam, and Henry Martyn of the Dorset family of Athelhampton. In 1596 Sir Walter Ralegh wrote to Sir Robert Cecil from Weymouth, complaining of one ‘Fitzjames, known to be a very quarrelsome young man’, who had started an affray, and saying that he had been asked to make known the innocence of Fitzjames’s opponent. In 1609 Fitzjames began to collect some pieces of English and Latin prose and verse into a commonplace book, which survives. He died 14 Apr. 1638 and two days later was buried at Lower Burton, as he desired in his will, ‘without any vain pomp’. To his ‘everloving and chaste’ wife he left a great quantity of clothes, furniture and jewels, but not her wedding ring, ‘which, having been formerly transmitted by my ancestors’, he desired should be left to such eldest son or daughter as should remain unmarried ‘when it shall please God to send my ... wife a second husband, or take her out of this world’. Like his father he left a considerable amount of ready cash. For example, to his daughter Joan he left 1,000 pieces of gold worth 22s. a piece, ‘which my executor shall find ready pursed and with a label and her name written thereon’, as well as £20 p.a. until she should be 21. His five younger children received similar annuities, and his servants legacies of up to £20. The poor of many Dorset parishes, including Sherborne and Burton, were remembered. The executor and residuary legatee was his eldest son, John, who also inherited a purse containing £200 in gold ‘which my good father gave unto me’. Several Dorset gentlemen were named as overseers, and the will, dated 22 June 1636, was proved two years later.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Hutchins, Dorset, iv. 130; PCC 54 Lee; C142/568/110; Roberts thesis.
  • 2. Egerton 784, f. 55; Dorset RO, Quarter Sess. rec. bk. 1625-37.
  • 3. HMC Hatfield, vi. 18; Bodl. Add. B. 97; Som. and Dorset N. and Q. xvi. 219; Hutchins, iv. 135; C142/718/146; PCC 54 Lee.