FITTON, Edward (1527-79), of Gawsworth, Cheshire.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 31 Mar. 1527, 1st s. of Sir Edward Fitton of Gawsworth by Mary, da. and coh. of Sir Guischard Harbottle of Horton, Northumb. m. 19 Jan. 1539, Anne, da. of Sir Peter Warburton of Arley, Cheshire, 9s. inc. Edward† 6da. suc. fa. 17 Feb. 1548. Kntd. 19 Oct. 1553.1
Commr. relief, Cheshire 1550, eccles. causes, diocese of Chester 1562, 1568, subsidy, Cheshire 1563, piracy 1565, musters 1569, 1570; sheriff, Cheshire 1558-9; j.p. 1561-d., q. 1564; gov. Macclesfield g.s. Apr. 1552; ld. pres. Connaught 1 June 1569-72, vice treasurer and treasurer at war, Ireland Dec. 1572-d.; custos rot. Cheshire c.1573-d.2
An inscription in St. Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, gives Edward Fitton’s date of birth as 31 Mar. 1527, his future wife Anne Warburton’s as the following 1 May, and the date of their marriage as 19 Jan. 1539, less than 12 years later. Fitton was nearly of age when he succeeded his father in February 1548 and had reached it by the time the inquisition was taken. The next few years saw the beginning of his public career, but he was still young and lacking in experience when in the autumn of 1553 he was elected junior knight of the shire to his only Parliament. This early distinction he clearly owed to his connexion with the sheriff, Sir William Brereton, who had married Jane Warburton at the time of Fitton’s marriage to her sister. The knighthood which he received two weeks after the opening of the Parliament may have been conferred with an eye to the fact that no unknighted person had previously been returned for the shire. Hardly more indicative is the absence of his name from among those of the Members of this Parliament who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism: ten years later he alone out of six justices in the hundred of Macclesfield was to be adjudged ‘favourable’ to the Anglican settlement. The only other glimpses of Fitton during Mary’s reign relate to his landed property: after his mother’s death in December 1556 he entered upon her lands and at about the same time he paid £2,600 for the reversion of three Cheshire manors but also parted with one in Sussex.3
Of the remaining 20 years of his life Fitton passed the first ten in Cheshire and the rest largely in Ireland, where he was successively president of Connaught and vice-treasurer and treasurer at war. It was there that he died ‘from the disease of the country’ on 3 July 1579 and was buried, as he had wished to be, beside his wife in Dublin cathedral. Five years earlier he had made a will leaving his eldest son Edward all his lands and goods on condition that Edward paid off all his father’s debts and gave £400 to each of his unmarried sisters, whom he was to maintain until their marriages. Edward Fitton was also to continue all existing annuities, to give his brother William 20 marks a year more than his annuity while at an inn of court, and to maintain his youngest brother Francis first at a good grammar school and a university until the age of 18 or 20, then at an inn of chancery for two years, and finally at an inn of court for a further seven. If Edward Fitton were to stand by the will he was to be its executor, but if he were to break any part of it the testator’s goods were to be divided among his younger sons and two thirds of the lands used to maintain his daughters and to pay off debts. The will was proved by Edward Fitton on 2 Dec. 1579.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. Date of birth from MI given in DNB. Ommerod, Cheshire, iii. 550, 552-3; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 100; Arch. Ael. (ser. 3), i. 82-83; Northumb. Co. Hist. ix. 266; Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 138.
- 2. CPR, 1550-3, p. 361; 1553, p. 360; 1560-3, pp. 280-1, 444; Lansd. 8(18), f. 81; APC, vii. 284; B. Coward, ‘Stanley fam. c.1385-1651’(Sheffield Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1968), 201, 224; SP12/93, 121 ex inf. J. C. Sainty; CP and CR Ire. i. 533.
- 3. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 76; CPR, 1555-7 pp. 331, 374, 407-8.
- 4. CPR, 1558-60, pp. 35, 158; Chetham Soc. (ser. 3), xix. 1; R. Bagwell, Ireland under undr the Tudors, ii. 170-3, 216-20, 254-7 et passim; PCC 48 Bakon.