Richard Fettiplace was the eldest son of John Fettiplace, citizen and draper of London and Lord of the Manor of East Shefford (Berkshire), by his wife, Joan Fabian, widow of Alderman Robert Horne. He inherited his father's estates when still a toddler and, no doubt, grew up at East Shefford under the watchful eye of his mother and step-father, John Estbury. Though the estates were managed by his uncle, James Fettiplace of Maidencourt (Berkshire) for at least five years.
Unlike his brothers, Anthony and Sir Thomas, Richard had few connections as Court and was more interested in mixing with the landed gentry of Berkshire. Around 1485, he married Elizabeth, the only child and heiress of William Bessels (and his wife Alice, daughter of Sir Richard Harcourt) of Besselsleigh (Berkshire). Her family had settled at Leigh, as Leland says in his quaint language, "syns the time of Edward the First. The Bessels cam out of Provence in France and were men of activitye in feates of arms as it appearith in monuments at Legh; how he faught in listes with a straunge knyghte that challengyd hym, at the whitche deade the kynge and quene at that time of England were present." However, the manor had been going through a series of legal wrangles since the death of Sir Peter Bessels in 1424 and the marriage was something of a gamble for Richard. Fortunately, it turned out to be an excellent match for Elizabeth's father was finally successful in claiming the manor in 1487. Though he outlived his son-in-law and his eventual heir was John Fettiplace, the eldest of their five sons and seven daughters.
Richard Fettiplace died in 1511 and was buried in the chancel of the Priory Church at Poughley in Chaddleworth, leaving property not only to that church, but also certain lands "to be seized to the use of the Parson and his successors of East Shefford for 99 years to keep an obit there for my soul and to yearly keep in order the said parish Church" and to maintain lights there too. His widow, Elizabeth, remarried a year later to Sir Richard Elyot, the famous Wiltshire judge.
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