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A Genealogical Notice
of the Family of Fettiplace

in Continuation of Remarks
 'On the Monument of a Supposed Princess of Portugal in East Shefford Church, Berkshire'

An Article by J.R. Planché Esq., Rouge Croix

The family of Fettiplace, which name is with the usual caprice of the middle ages spelt indifferently Feteplace, Fetyplace, and Phetiplace, is supposed to be of Norman origin; but the earliest record of it I have hitherto met with occurs in a patent roll of the 41st of King Henry III (1223), where I find the following entry. "Pro Ada Feteplace de Oxon de toto manerio de Wantinge in com. Berks." This, I presume, was the Adam Feteplace, who was Mayor of Oxford in 1245, and again from 1253 to 1260 inclusive. In 1267, he was for the tenth time elected chief magistrate of that city, and somewhere about that period purchased of Ralph de Camoys the manor of Denchworth in Berkshire. (Ashmole and Dale's MSS., College of Arms) That this Adam was a merchant or tradesman, appears from the curious fact of his "shop" being mentioned in a deed of gift by Jeffrey de Hinksey, a wealthy burgess of Oxford; of one shop or tenement "situated between the shop of Adam Fettiplace on the eastern side, and one belonging to Richard de Farendon on the western side." This grant is witnessed by Nicholas de Kingston, then mayor of Oxford. (Dunkin's History of the Hundred of Beckinston and Ploughley) About the same time, John Feteplace owned a mansion called Sampson's Hall, in the city of Oxford. (Peshall's Oxford)

In the Hundred Rolls of the reign of Edward I, Walter Fettiplace is found to hold lands in Abingdon as heir of his father Adam, and that Walter had a son Thomas, described in the same roll as the son of Walter the son of Adam, There is also mention in the same roll of another Thomas, who was the son of Walter the son of Thomas, and I therefore presume that Adam had a brother Thomas from whom that line descended: but after that period I have as yet discovered no trace of it. This latter branch of the early Oxfordshire Fettiplaces are not mentioned in any of the genealogical notices of the family that I have met with.

The next in point of date is an Almericus Fettiplace of Denchworth, stated by Dale in a MS. Pedigree in the College of Arms as living 9th of Edward I, 1281. Sir Philip Pettiplace of North Denchworth was knight of the shire 29th of Edward I, 1301, and Henry Fettiplace was his son and heir. Another , Almericus Fettiplace was witness to a charter of the 7th of Edward III, 1333. Richard Fettiplace, the son of an Almericus Fettiplace, according to Dale's Pedigree, acquired lands in Lyford, co. Berks, 20th of Edward III, 1346; and a Richard Fettiplace of East Hanney, who was most probably the same person, had a son and heir named John, who was called John Sonthbury. His charter, in which he is described as "Johannes Fetiplace dictus Johannes South-bury filius et haeres. Rici. Feteplace de Esthanney," is dated anno 21 of Edward III (1347), and scaled with the arms of Fettiplace, two chevrons and a canton fretty for difference, and circumscribed, "Sigillum Jo. . . South. . ." A (Emericus?) Fettiplace, a third, I presume, of that name, owned one knight's fee in Denchworth and Papworth, 22nd of Richard II, 1399, at which time there were also living a John Fetiplace of South Denchworth and a Henry Fettiplace, who was witness to a charter of John Fettiplace of Buckland in that year, and died seized of Denchworth, 4th of Henry V, 1416, leaving a son and heir named John, aged twenty at that date. We have now arrived at the period when Thomas Fettiplace of East Shefford and Childrey was appointed steward of the manor and hundred of Bampton by Gilbert, Lord Talbot, whose widow Beatrice he afterwards married. In no pedigree do we find an indication of the branch from which he descended; but in one by Vincent, (MS., No. 143, College of Arms) he is set down as having had a brother described as John of Wolverley [ie. Woolley in Chaddleworth, Berkshire]. I know of no Wolverley except that in Worcestershire, and can find no trace of a Fettiplace in that locality; but in the will of John Fettiplace, the son of Thomas by Beatrice, already quoted, there is, I think, a clue to the mystery. By that document, I find that he was seized of the manor of New Landport, or Langport, in the county of Kent, which he bequeathed to his eldest son Richard, with remainder to each of his other sons in regular succession. Now Hasted in his account of this manor (History of Kent, Vol.3) tells us that the mansion of it, usually called Seavan's Court, acquired that name from the eminent family of Septvans, the ancient possessors of it, and in which it continued till the beginning of the reign of Henry VI, when William Septvans passed the manor away to John Writtle, from which name, after it had remained some years, it was alienated to Henry Fettiplace, of the county of Oxford, esq. [Hasted was in error. This should read John Fettiplace], whose descendant, Edmund Fettiplace, had his lands dis-gavelled by the general act of the 31st year of king Henry VIII, and died the year after, John Fettiplace being his son and heir. (Rot. Esch. A. 33, Hen. VIII) Now Edmund Fettiplace, who died April 1st, 32nd of Henry VIII, 1540, leaving a son John, afterwards sir John Fettiplace, was great grandson of the John who entailed the manor of New Langport, and it is clear therefore that the descent of that manor came in the direct male line from the Henry to whom it passed from Writtle. The will of Thomas, the husband of Beatrix, has not been discovered; the earliest of that family, being that of his son John aforesaid, in the Prerogative office. The wills at Oxford and Salisbury, the other two most likely places for its registration, are not of a date earlier than the sixteenth century, and there is no mention of any escheat or inquisition at the time of his death: but there can be little question of his having possessed the manor of New Langport, which his son John held in 1464, and as Henry Fettiplace of the county of Oxford had only acquired it in the early part of the reign of Henry VI, Thomas would appear to have been the next possessor, and most probably the son as well as the heir of Henry. The description of this Henry as of "the county of Oxford" is too vague for us to be able to identify him with any of the family of Fettiplace of whom we find mention. If Hasted be correct in the date at which he says the manor passed from Writtle, he cannot be the same with Henry of Denchworth who died in 1416. The family of Writtle was of the county of Essex, and its connection with Kent, according to the pedigree in the visitation of the latter county, arose from the marriage of Eleanor, daughter of Walter Writtle, with Thomas, third son of Thomas Walsingham of Chislehurst. Walter Writtle died in 1473, leaving by a former wife, Johanna, daughter and coheir of sir John Hurd, a son John, the first of that name in the recorded pedigree, and who, therefore, it is clear, could not be the John Writtle who held the manor of New Langport in the beginning of the reign of Henry VI. The title-deeds of that manor, if in existence, would throw considerable light upon the question at issue.

In the meanwhile I can only repeat my conviction that the Henry Fettiplace, from whom the manor descended to Edmund Fettiplace, was either the father or uncle of Thomas, the husband of Beatrix, and of his brother John of Wolverley. That Thomas was of the Oxfordshire branch appears probable from the repetition of that Christian name in that line only, previous to the fifteenth century; and it may also be observed that Walter, an early name in that line, first appears in the pedigree of Writtle at the commencement of that century. In conclusion, two other circumstances are remarkable in the pedigree of Fettiplace. The first, that not a single match is recorded previous to that of Thomas with Beatrix, nor even the name of any female member of the family to be found; and the second, that the name of Beatrix has never been given to any of her descendants direct or collateral.

I subjoin a pedigree of the Souzas descended from Alfonzo Denis and from Leonara Alfonza, the illegitimate issue of King Alphonso III.

Reproduced from a booklet in the Reading Local Studies Library (1889)

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