Sir William Fitzwilliam

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William FitzWilliam

Birthplace: Essex, England
Death: Died in Northamptonshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John (ii) Fitzwilliam, of Milton and Green's Norton and Eleanor E Fitzwilliam
Husband of Jane Fitzwilliam; Mildred Fitzwilliam and Anne FitzWilliam
Father of Catherine Doughtie; Thomas FITZWILLIAM; Christopher FITZWILLIAM; Francis FITZWILLIAM; Ellen (Helena) Le Strange and 4 others
Brother of Elizabeth A. Rolleston

Managed by: Private User
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About Sir William Fitzwilliam

Knight, Sheriff of London -------------------- "made his fortune in London as a merchant tailor, alderman and sheriff of London. Treasurer and Chamberlain to Wolsey. Purchased Milton in 1506" -------------------- The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born ABT 1526, first son of Sir William Fitzwilliam of Gainspark and Milton by Anne, dau. of Sir Richard Sapcote of Elton, Hunts.; brother of John. Married, settlement 4 Jan 1543, Anne, dau. of Sir William Sidney of Penshurst. Suc. fa. by 31 Oct 1552. Kntd. 2 Oct 1553. Commr. relief, Northants. 1550; keeper, King's bench prison temp. Edw. VI and Mary; jt. (with bro. John) bailiff and steward, Fotheringay from 4 Nov 1553, sole 1568-d.; j.p. Essex 1558/59, 1583-d., Northants. 1558/59-d.; treasurer at the wars, v.treasurer and receiver-gen. in Ireland 1559-4 Mar. 1571, ld. justice 1560-1, 1567, 1571, ld. dep. 11 Dee. 1572-5, 1588-94.

Among his relatives is his aunt, Anne Fitzwilliam {his father’s sister}, who married Sir Anthony Cooke. They had a daughter Mildred Cooke, who married William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley; making him a cousin in the law to Lord Burghley. Lady Bacon and Lady Hoby are also related to him through his Aunt, Anne. Sir Phillip Sidney is his nephew, on his wife’s side of the family. On his mother’s side Fitzwilliam was related to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, a circumstance to which he owed his introduction to Edward VI.

The Fitzwilliams of Milton claimed descent from the ancient Yorkshire family. William's grandfather, another Sir William Fitzwilliam (d. 1534) made his fortune in London as a merchant tailor, alderman and sheriff of London, who was also treasurer and chamberlain to Wolsey, and who purchased Milton, three miles from Peterborough, in 1506. He so entailed his lands in Essex and Northamptonshire that his heir had to resort to private Acts to provide jointures for his own wife Anne Sapcote and his son's wife Anne Sidney. Manors in Essex, including Gains Park, went to Anne Sidney, and Fitzwilliam did not come into Milton until his mother's death in 1576. By then he had added to the Northamptonshire estate by retaining part of a speculative purchase made in Jun 1553, but he had parted with the Essex manor of Madelles.

Fitzwilliam is said to have been brought up in the household of Sir John Russell, and to have been preferred by the earl to his first office, the keepership of the King's bench prison: he does not appear to have progressed from this to become marshal, although he sought to do so under Elizabeth.

Fitzwilliam may, like Bedford, have rallied to Mary in the summer of 1553. He was knighted at her coronation and a month later he and his brother John, styled ‘the Queen's servants’, had a grant of various offices at Fotheringay. By then he was sitting in his first Parliament, to which he had been returned for Peterborough on 25 Sept. The Fitzwilliams were neighbours and tenants of the dean and chapter of Peterborough, lords of that city since the erection of the see, and Fitzwilliam, who was the bishop's godson, may have been their own choice, although he and his fellow-Member Sir Walter Mildmay, one of whose daughters was later to marry his heir, could also have counted on the support of the high steward, Bedford. Both Members ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism, and his dissent may explain why Fitzwilliam was not to sit again until the next reign.

In Dec 1555 he stood surety for Christopher Perne, whose opposition in the Parliament of that year may have been the occasion of his arrest two days after its dissolution. Despite his friendship with the martyr John Bradford and the escape of another Protestant prisoner from the King's bench prison, Fitzwilliam remained keeper there, and towards the end of the reign he and his brother received a lease of meadowland at Fotheringay. It was probably his namesake of Windsor who was active in Ireland during these years. He could well have accompanied Sir Thomas Radcliffe, Lord Fitzwalter and later 3rd Earl of Sussex, to Ireland in 1556, for Fitzwalter married his sister-in-law Frances Sidney, but there is no firm evidence of his going there before his appointment in 1559 to succeed Sir Henry Sidney as vice-treasurer.

Through his brother-in-law Henry Sidney, he was given the opportunity to hold the office of Lord Deputy in Ireland. In 1559 he became vice-treasurer of Ireland and a member of the Irish House of Commons; and between this date and 1571 he was (during the absences of Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, and of his successor, Sir Henry Sidney) five times lord justice of Ireland.

In 1571 Fitzwilliam himself was appointed lord deputy. He was knighted in 1572, for faithfully fulfilling his duties in Ireland, as ordered by Queen Elizabeth, but like Elizabeth’s other servants he received little or no money, and his period of government was marked by continuous penury and its attendant evils, inefficiency, mutiny and general lawlessness. Moreover, the deputy quarrelled with the lord president of Connaught, Sir Edward Fitton (b. 1527 - d. 1579), but he compelled the Earl of Desmond to submit in 1574. He disliked the expedition of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex; he had a further quarrel with Fitton, and after a serious illness he was allowed to resign his office. Returning to England in 1575 he was governor of Fotheringhay Castle at the time of Mary Stuart’s execution. In 1588 Fitzwilliam was again in Ireland as lord deputy, and although old and ill he displayed great activity in leading expeditions, and found time to quarrel with Sir Richard Bingham (b. 1528 - d. 1599), the new president of Connaught. In 1594 he finally left Ireland, and five years later he tiled at Milton.

As Lord Deputy, based in Dublin. Although he live out in the country, he held his office in the city in the district known locally as Fitzwilliam Square. His portrait was painted in 1595. -------------------- Notes: made his fortune in London as a merchant tailor, alderman and sheriff of London. Treasurer and Chamberlain to Wolsey. Purchased Milton in 1506.

Birth: 1456 Hardingstone Northamptonshire, England Death: 1534 Hardingstone Northamptonshire, England

William's family seat was an estate called Milton near Hardingston (I'm not sure whether it was in Milton Malsor or Milton Keynes) but an older brother inherited that title, and William was given the Lordship of Gainspark. In 1505 he confused matters by acquiring the considerably more stately Milton Hall near Peterborough in Huntingdonshire, and the title that went with that holding. This has confused genealogists who keep trying to put him in the lineage of his brother John, and make his father his grandfather. His is a model transitional figure in respect to his hereditary honors, as his appointed ones made him a more prominent figure on the social scene, and a more powerful one in the realm of politics. He served as Alderman and Sheriff of London, and was an important liaison between the mercantile (and eventually Puritan) class-- and the Royal and Baronial echelons whose power over English governance they were to usurp by violent means in the following century. In the former society, the relaxed legality of his first marriage to Anne Hawes was not a hindrance, and was left uncorrected so that he might make an advantageous match later in life, for the sake of consolidating holdings. In the moribund Feudal system, things were done this way-- but in the more black-and-white morality of the middle class, William's heirs found it necessary to legitimize that first marriage, not for the sake their daughter Anne Fitzwilliam (who married Sir Anthony Cooke, a man of power and prominence but a Commoner)-- but for their granddaughter Mildred, who was betrothed to Lord Burghley, also a commoner but one who had risen to a much higher station, and as Elizabeth I's Secretary of State had to assert his authority over subordinates whose "high birth" went back for centuries. Inscription: When William acquired Milton Hall in 1505 he was in an "association" with Anne Hawes that for some reason is not on record. When she died in 1512 she was buried in the churchyard associated with that estate. Possibly for that reason, William opted to be buried with his legitimate wife, Mildred (Maud) Sackville, in St Edmund Church near Hardingston-- and his original family seat of Milton.

Burial: St Edmund Church Hardingstone Northamptonshire, England

Created by: Bill Velde Record added: Jun 17, 2011 Find A Grave Memorial# 71502864

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Sir William Fitzwilliam's Timeline

Essex, England
Age 46
Louth, Lincoln, England
Age 50
Gainspark Hall, Essex, England
Age 54
Age 56
Age 58
Age 63
Gainpark, Milton, Essex, UK
April 1504
Age 64
Gidea Hall, Romford, Essex, England
Age 70
Buckhurst, Sussex , England
Age 74
Of, Buckhurst, Sussex, England