FITZJAMES, James (d.c.1423), of Wyke Champflower, Som.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of James Fitzjames by Eleanor, da. and h. of Simon Draycot of Redlinch, Som. m. bef. 1412, Joan, 1s.
Fitzjames’s uncle, John Fitzjames, held property in Wyke Champflower of the lords of Dunster, and in 1372 he entailed lands near Bridgwater first on his son John and then, failing heirs, on his brother James Fitzjames, our Member’s father. The latter came into possession of the manors of Draycott and Redlinch as well as other considerable properties including 25 messuages and over 600 acres of land elsewhere in Somerset through his marriage to Eleanor Draycot, and he successfully brought an action against the earl of Salisbury for the manor of Knolle by Redlinch. When his father died, soon after 1391, the younger James was still a minor. His mother retained possession of Redlinch until after his death, but he did eventually succeed to the Fitzjames lands, including his uncle’s holdings, taking control some time before 1407 when he sued the prior of Bruton for confiscating two calves belonging to him at ‘Randolfeswey’ in Wyke Champflower. Fitzjames was, therefore, a member of a landowning family, but he did possess a tenement in the borough he represented in Parliament. He witnessed the election indentures for Somerset in 1414 (Apr.) and 1421 (May), having been included, in the meantime, on a list sent to the King’s Council in December 1419 by the j.p.s. providing the names of men considered best able to help in national defence. In 1423 the bailiff of the barony of Dunster presented evidence that Fitzjames was dead, and that his son and heir, John, was aged ten. Wyke was seized on behalf of the overlord, and the heir was made a ward of the Luttrells of Dunster. Fitzjames’s widow was still alive in 1444.
Some Som. Manors (Som. Rec. Soc. extra ser. 1931), 375-6; Som. Fines (ibid. xvii), 77, 147-9; Bridgwater Bor. Archives (ibid. lviii), 568; C219/11/3, 12/5; E28/97/28; Feudal Aids, iv. 384; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 158. The account in Som. and Dorset N. and Q. (xvi. 56-60) confuses this James Fitzjames with the Bridgwater MP of 1467.