FLEETWOOD, Henry (c.1667-1746), of Penwortham, nr. Preston, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1708 - 1722

Family and Education

b. c.1667, 1st s. of Arthur Fleetwood of Lichfield, Staffs. and St. Margaret’s, Westminster, by Mary, da. and h. of Sir Henry Archbold of Abbots Bromley, Staffs., chancellor of Lichfield dioc.  educ. Brasenose, Oxf. matric. 25 Oct. 1683, aged 16.  m. settlement 12 Feb. 1714, Sarah (d. 1719), da. of Roger Sudell of Preston, s.p.  suc. fa. 1677, his cos. Edward Fleetwood† at Penwortham 1704.1

Offices Held

2nd lt. 7 Ft. 1685, lt. 1688.2

Freeman, Preston 1714; burgess, Wigan 1714.3


Fleetwood was descended from the Fleetwoods of Vache, Buckinghamshire, and his recent ancestry was impeccably Royalist. His grandfather had been a Royalist chaplain during the Civil Wars and had received ecclesiastical preferment from Charles I and Charles II, culminating in his appointment as Bishop of Worcester in 1675, while his father’s political sympathies can be gleaned from his service as secretary to the Earl of Danby (Sir Thomas Osborne†) during the Restoration period. His father’s sister had also married Lord Dartmouth (George Legge†), in whose regiment Fleetwood served until Dartmouth was stripped of his offices in 1689, and through this marriage Fleetwood was first cousin once removed of the Cumberland Tory Sir Christopher Musgrave, 5th Bt.* In April 1704 Fleetwood succeeded to the Lancashire estates of his cousin Edward Fleetwood, another veteran of the Royalist cause during the Civil Wars. Given such a background, it is scarcely surprising that having inherited a significant estate near Preston he should use this interest to launch a staunchly Tory political career.4

At the Preston by-election of 1706 Fleetwood canvassed support, claiming that despite being ‘very ambitious of serving my church and country’ he stood only in response to pressure from the corporation and local gentry. Forecasts that he would be defeated proved to be accurate and, despite petitioning against the return of Arthur Maynwaring, the start of his parliamentary career was delayed until 1708 when he was returned unopposed with Maynwaring. Fleetwood was an inactive Member. However, his inclusion among those named to draft a bill for an additional Anglican parish to be established in Manchester (7 Feb. 1709) perhaps reflected a concern for the Established Church. Such concerns are evident from his vote in 1710 against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.5

Fleetwood secured his return at Preston in 1710 with the support of the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton, and he was classed a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’. On 7 Apr. 1711 he told against the election of the Whig James Stanhope* at Cockermouth, and he was listed among the ‘Tory patriots’ opposed to the war and the ‘worthy patriots’ who detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. In January 1712 he was included in Lord Oxford’s (Robert Harley*) canvassing list for the Commons’ attack upon Marlborough (John Churchill†), and on 24 May told against the late paymaster of marines for paying £6,798 to marine officers without any parliamentary sanction. In June he managed through the Commons the estate bill of his niece Barbara Chetwynd, which named her husband Walter Chetwynd† and himself as trustees. Fleetwood’s concern to secure his interest at Preston was clear from his pursuit in July 1712 of the complaint that the borough’s address, presumably upon the issue of the peace, had not been published in the London Gazette. In the autumn of 1712 he declared his intention to stand for Preston at the next election, hoping to benefit from his friendship with the Duke of Hamilton, the lord lieutenant of Lancashire. Fleetwood’s relationship with Hamilton was in strong contrast with the legal disputes in which Hamilton was involved at this time with one of the Staffordshire branches of Fleetwood’s family. Hamilton’s death in November 1712 was perceived as a great loss to Fleetwood, Sir Roger Bradshaigh, 3rd Bt.*, claiming that Hamilton had been applying to the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, Lord Berkeley, to ‘set him up at Preston as the chancellor’s man’. Despite this setback, Fleetwood campaigned assiduously, attending the Preston corporation at the proclamation of the peace, which ‘was done with great splendour’, and, having voted on 18 June 1713 for the French commerce bill, he was returned at the head of the poll. Although he had made such efforts to retain his seat Fleetwood made no impact upon the records of the 1713 Parliament, though two comparisons of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments listed him as a Tory. Fleetwood was nevertheless eager to remain at Westminster, and in October 1714 his cousin Sir Christopher Musgrave canvassed the new chancellor of the duchy, Lord Guernsey (Heneage Finch I*), to support Fleetwood at the forthcoming election. Musgrave pointed out that Fleetwood

has laboured so long in the vineyard without any view but his country’s service, for which reason he never received the least civility from the former ministers. He lives within half a mile of the town and seems to have the natural interest of the place with the gentry, who are all entirely his friends.

The request fell on deaf ears, but Fleetwood retained his seat in 1715, his defeated opponent attributing this to Preston ‘being one of the greatest Tory or Jacobite towns in England’. He stood aside at the 1722 election, but was an active member of the mock corporation of Walton-le-Dale for the next two decades. He died on 22 May 1746, leaving no heir and debts of £16,000, which necessitated an estate Act in 1748 and the sale of the Penwortham estate the same year.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. N. and Q. ser. 10, vii. 302–3; Priory of Penwortham (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, xxx), p. lxix.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 294.
  • 3. Lancs. RO, Preston bor. recs. CNP 3/1/1/, p. 593; Wigan RO, Wigan bor. recs. AB/MR/11.
  • 4. DNB (Fleetwood, William); N. and Q. 303; Priory of Penwortham pp. lxvii–lxviii; Baines, Lancs. ed. Croston, iv. 208.
  • 5. Staffs. RO, Sutherland mss D.593/P/13/10, Fleetwood to Ld. Gower (Sir John Leveson-Gower, 5th Bt.*), 18 May 1706; Lancs. RO, Stanley mss DDK/1683/1, Richard Edge to Mr Worthington, 15 Nov. 1706.
  • 6. Lancs. RO, Kenyon mss DDKe 9/102/14, Thomas Winckley et al. to George Kenyon*, 10 May 1708; DDKe/HMC/ 1144, Richard Langton to same, 15 May 1713; NLS, ms 8262, ff. 40–42; Add. 70223, Fleetwood to Duchess of Hamilton, 26 Sept. 1710; 70331, canvassing list, c.Jan. 1712; SP 34/19, ff. 17–18; HMC Kenyon, 448; Devonshire mss at Chatsworth House, Finch-Halifax pprs. box 5 bdle. 11, Musgrave to Guernsey, 19 Oct. 1714; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 118; Leics. RO, Finch mss 4969, John Chetwynd† to Ld. Finch (Daniel), 13 Jan. 1714–15; Harris Museum Preston, min. bk. of mock corp. of Walton-le-Dale.