FITZSYMOND, Sir John (c.1342-c.1392), of North Shoebury, Essex.
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Family and Education
Sheriff, Essex and Herts. 25 Nov. 1378-5 Nov. 1379.
Commr. of sewers, Essex May 1379; to put down rebellion Dec. 1381; of array Apr. 1385; inquiry Dec. 1386 (theft of cargo of a ship wrecked off Shoebury).
The Fitzsymond family had been established in Essex for about a century, the senior branch holding the manors of Danbury and Langridge, as well as Waterend in Sandridge in Hertfordshire. That branch included Sir Hugh Fitzsymond (the sheriff of 1354-5) and his nephew Sir Edward, who was sheriff in the year of his death, 1375.2 But John belonged to a junior line, his father and Sir Edward being cousins. The father died at Michaelmas 1355 in possession of a third of the manor of North Shoebury and marshland on the Thames estuary, as a tenant of the honour of Rayleigh. The honour was then held by William de Bohun, earl of Northampton, by grant of Queen Philippa, and the earl accordingly held the wardship of young John until his death in 1360, when it pertained to the queen. Fitzsymond had not yet reached his majority by November 1362. He subsequently also held the manor of Barling and property in Great Wakering, while from his paternal grandmother, one of the coheirs of Sir Henry Graponell†, he inherited land in Great Stambridge.3 From his maternal grandfather, Reynold atte Conduit, there passed to him holdings on the Thames in the London parish of St. Martin Vintry, and in 1366 he successfully claimed more in the parishes of St. Margaret Pattens, St. Mary Fenchurch and St. Dunstan.4
In the summer of 1378 Fitzsymond, already a knight, served in the retinue of Sir Aubrey de Vere in the unsuccessful naval expedition led by John of Gaunt against the French fleet, which had been harrying the south coast. His connexion with de Vere was to continue until his death. He was appointed sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire shortly after his return home, and during his term, in June 1379, he was granted a royal pardon at de Vere’s request for causing the death of one Andrew Bole.5 Fitzsymond’s interests seem to have been confined to the area around the Thames estuary where he had his home. The few royal commissions on which he served were concerned in the main with this locality, and when he witnessed deeds it was for kinsmen, such as Sir Edward Benstede*, or for neighbours, like Sir Richard Sutton and Sir William Berland†. In 1383 Berland named him as a trustee of his estates for the performance of his will, and among the co-feoffees was Joan de Bohun, countess of Hereford, the daughter-in-law of Fitzsymond’s one-time guardian. Fitzsymond was closely associated with others of the countess’s circle, notably her lawyer, Robert Rikedon, and Sir Robert Tey† and his son Robert*. Whether his ties with the countess were stronger than those with de Vere is now impossible to say, and it need not be assumed that either connexion influenced his three returns to Parliament. In 1387 he assisted Sir Aubrey in the mortage or purchase of certain lands in Essex, but he had no known connexion with de Vere’s nephew Robert, earl of Oxford, the King’s favourite.6
In 1390 Fitzsymond was a feoffee of the manor and advowson of West Thurrock, and as such appeared as co-patron of the prebend of West Thurrock in the royal chapel of Hastings. It is uncertain for whom he was acting.7 He died at a date not precisely known, but between November that year and May 1392.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. No evidence has been found to support Morant’s statement (Essex, i. 302-3) that Fitzsymond married a da. of Lord Fitzwalter.
- 2. VCH Herts. ii. 434; iii. 22, 26, 245, 424; Essex Feet of Finex, iii. 21-22, 73; Add. Ch. 28783.
- 3. Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 109; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 55, 65; CIPM, xi. 326; CCR, 1360-4, pp. 368-9.
- 4. CPR, 1350-4, p. 334; Corporation of London RO, hr 101/47; London Rec. Soc. i. nos. 71, 123.
- 5. C76/62 m. 19; CPR, 1377-81, p. 355.
- 6. CCR, 1369-74, p. 586; 1377-81, pp. 491, 517; 1381-5, pp. 84, 132, 394-5, 449; 1385-9, pp. 95, 423, 428, 444, 636-7; 1389-92, pp. 75, 288.
- 7. Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 213; CPR, 1388-92, p. 244.
- 8. CCR, 1389-92, p. 294; CFR, xi. 48.