Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fleetwood, Peter Hesketh

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FLEETWOOD, Sir PETER HESKETH (1801–1866), founder of the town of Fleetwood, descended from the ancient Lancashire families of Hesketh and Fleetwood, son of Robert Hesketh, esq., of Rossall, Lancashire, was born at Wennington Hall, near Lancaster, on 9 May 1801. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, and graduated B.A. in 1823 and M.A. in 1826. He was high sheriff of Lancashire in 1830, and sat as M.P. for Preston from 1832 to 1847, at first as a conservative, and subsequently as a member of the opposite party. He assumed the surname of Fleetwood by royal license 5 March 1831, and was created a baronet in June 1838. He projected, and in 1836 commenced to build the present flourishing town and port of Fleetwood, situated on his estate of Rossall, at the mouth of the river Wyre, in the Fylde, Lancashire. He was a strong advocate for the abolition of the death penalty, and in 1840 published a translation of Victor Hugo's 'Last Days of a Condemned,' to which he prefixed 'Observations on Capital Punishment.'

He was twice married : first in 1826 to Eliza Debonnaire, daughter of Sir T. J. Metcalfe ; and secondly, in 1837, to Virginia Marie, daughter of Seiior Pedro Garcia, who still (1889) survives. Sir Peter died at his residence, 127 Piccadilly, London, on 12 April 1866. His son, the Rev. Sir Peter Louis Hesketh Fleetwood, died in 1880, when the baronetcy became extinct.

[Gent. Mag. June 1866, p. 906; Illustrated London News, April 1886, p. 426; Hardwick's History of Preston (1857), p. 555; Baines's History of Lancashire (1870), ii. 517-18; Lancashire and Cheshire Historical and Genealogical Notes, ii. 113, 118.]

C. W. S.