Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Richard Fettiplace and Elizabeth Bessels; Ancestors of Gov. Thomas Dudley

This article is a continuation of the Fettiplace ancestry of Thomas Dudley, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Previously covered were Thomas Fettiplace and his son John Fettiplace. This is the third generation of this line that can be traced with certainty, anything above Thomas is a guess. So, here is what I know about Richard Fettiplace and his wife Elizabeth Bessels.

loss of a father
Richard's parents were John Fettiplace and Joan Fabian Horne Fettiplace Estbury. John was a successful London draper (cloth merchant) who came to the attention of the king and was appointed Esquire of the Body of the King around 1455. King Henry was deposed in 1460 so ending John's court connections. He married about that time a wealthy London widow, Joan Horne, nee Fabian, whose husband Robert Horne had been a stock fishmonger, alderman and one time Sheriff of London. John and Joan had five children in quick succession, four boys and one girl before his untimely death in 1464. Richard was the oldest and his father's heir.  He inherited the manor of East Shefford in Berkshire and New Langport in Kent.

 Joan moved her family from London to their home at East Shefford. The children's estate was put into the hands of James Fettiplace, John's brother and the children's uncle. He lived at nearby Maidencourt, Berkshire. Joan remarried to a local man John Estbury of Antwick's manor in Letcombe Regis.

When Richard was about 25 years old he married the only daughter and heiress of Williams Bessels and his wife Alice Harcourt Bessels. Her name was Elizabeth. The marriage took place around 1485.She brought the manor of Besselsleigh into the Fettiplace family. The Bessels were an old established Berkshire family as were the Fettyplaces'. That being said, William came into the manor of Leigh in an unusual way. In 1424 Sir Peter Bessels died without an heir. His wife was able to hold the manor of Leigh for her lifetime. After much squabbling by the trustees and the death of Margery the widow of Sir Peter, the manor finally passed to William Bessels, possibly a distant cousin of Sir Peter.
(this might change as I have more info to come with a different opinion on Thomas Bessels)

daily life
Richard and Elizabeth seems to have lived quietly in East Shefford. His did not make much of a mark on the public record. They had quite a few children including a daughter Ann who married Edward Purefoy. Now all over the web and is a few books it says that Anne Fettiplace was born in Little Shelford, Cambridgeshire also known as Shelford Parva. But, the Fettiplaces are not known to have had any land there. Why would she been born there? I think this is an error and that she was born in Shefford like the rest of them.

Richard was never knighted and therefore was not Sir Richard.

Richard died in 1511, in what was still a Catholic country. He asked to be buried in the church of Poughley Priory, a house for Austin Canon Friars. The Priory was located at Chaddlesworth near Great Shefford. He left money to the Priory and gave them land, asking in return for 99 years worth of prayers. He did not get his money's worth as the Priory was dismantled in 1524 by Thomas Cromwell during the dissolution of the monasteries.

In January 1527, Edward Fetyplace, Richard's son, treasurer to the duke of Suffolk, wrote to Thomas Cromwell, upbraiding him with breaking his word as to granting him the site of Poughley, on the faith of which he had given Cromwell 40s. at the time of its dissolution, and yet the lease had been granted to another man. This letter is of particular interest, as showing that the house of the dissolved priory was for a time occupied by scholars of Wolsey's great college then in course of erection.

In February 1529, Fetyplace wrote again to Cromwell desiring his interest that he might be assured of more years in the farm of Poughley. From this letter it is evident that Cromwell had been recently visiting the dismantled priory, as Fetyplace records a visit to Poughley, on 'the Thursday after our departing,' of one John Edden who came with a cart to carry off such stuff as was appointed to go to Wolsey's College at Oxford.

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