Fitzailwin, Henry (DNB00)

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FITZAILWIN, HENRY (d. 1212), first mayor of London, is of doubtful origin. Dr. Stubbs holds that he 'may have been an hereditary baron of London' (Const. Hist. i. 631). Mr. Loftie confidently asserts that he was a grandson of Leofstan, portreeve of London before the Conquest (London, pp. 22, 36, 129). The present writer has shown (Antiquary, xv. 107-8) that this is a fallacy, partly based on the confusion of three or four Leofstans, who are similarly confused by Mr. Freeman (Norman Conquest, v. 469). It is just possible that the clue may be found in an entry in the 'Pipe Roll' of 1165 (Rot. Pip. 11 Hen. II, p. 18), where a Henry Fitzailwin Fitzleofstan, with Alan his brother, pay for succeeding apparently to lands in Essex or Hertfordshire, since we learn that our Henry Fitzailwin held lands at Watton and Stone in Hertfordshire by tenure of serjeanty (Testa de Nevill, p. 270 a), which descended to his heirs (ib. pp. 276 b, 266 b). In that case his grandfather was a Leofstan, but as yet unidentified. It has been urged by the writer (Academy, 12 Nov. 1887) that Henry's career should be divided into two periods : the first, in which he is styled Henry Fitzailwin (i.e. Æthelwine), and the second, in which he figures as mayor of London. He appears as a witness under the former style in a document printed by Palgrave (Rot. Cur. Reg. cvii), in a duchy of Lancaster charter (Box A. No. 163), and in two of the St. Paul's muniments (9th Rep. i. 25, 26). A grant of his also is printed by Palgrave (Rot. Cur. Reg. cv). As mayor he occurs far more frequently, namely five times, in the St. Paul's muniments (9th Rep. i. 8, 10, 20, 22, 27), twice in the 'Rot. Cur. Reg.' (pp. 171, 432), viz. in 1198 and 1199, and once in an Essex charter of 1197 (Harl Cart. 83 A, 18). His last dated appearance in the first capacity is 30 Nov. 1191, and he first appears as mayor in April 1193 (Hoveden, iii. 212). He probably therefore became mayor between these dates. This is fatal to the well-known assertion in the 'Cronica Maiorum et Vicecomitum Londoniæ' (Liber de Ant. Leg.) that 'Henricus filius Eylwini de London-stane' was made mayor in '1188' or 1189, and is even at variance with Mr. Coote's hypothesis that the mayoralty originated in the grant of a communa 10 Oct. 1191 (vide infra). Dr. Stubbs, however, leans to this date as the commencement of Henry's mayoralty (Sel. Chart. p. 300; Const. Hist. i. 630). Though he continued mayor, as far as can be ascertained, uninterruptedly till his death, the only recorded event of his mayoralty is his famous 'assize' (Liber de Ant. Leg. p. 206 ; Liber Albus, p. 319). And even this is only traditionally associated with his name. In 1203 he is found holding two knight's fees of the honour of 'Peverel of London' (Rot. Canc. 3 John). He derived his description as 'de London-stane' from his house, which stood on the north side of St. Swithin's Church in Candlewick (now Cannon) Street, over against London Stone. He also held property at Hoo in Kent, Warlingham and Burnham in Surrey, and Edmonton in Middlesex. He is found presiding over a meeting of the citizens, 24 July 1212, consequent on the great fire of the previous week (Liber Custumarum, p. 88). The earliest notice of his death is a writ of 5 Oct. 1212, ordering his lands to be taken into the king's hands (Rot. Pat. 14 John). It is often erroneously placed in 1213. His wife, Margaret, survived him (Rot. Claus. 14 John), as did his three younger sons, Alan, Thomas, and Richard (ib. 15 John), but his eldest son, Peter, who had married Isabel, daughter and heir of Bartholomew de Cheyne, had died before him, leaving two daughters, of whom the survivor was in 1212 Henry Fitzailwin's heir.

[Patent Rolls (Record Commission) ; Close Rolls (ib.); Testa de Nevill (ib.); Palgrave's Rotuli Curiæ Regis (ib.) ; Rot. Canc. (ib.) ; Pipe Roll Society's works; Duchy Charters (Public Record Office) ; Roger Hoveden (Rolls Series) ; Riley's Munimenta Gildhalle Londoniensis (ib.) ; Reports on Historical MSS. ; Stapleton's Liber de Antiquis Legibus (Camd. Soc.) ; Stubbs's Select Charters and Constitutional Hist. ; Freeman's Norman Conquest; Antiquary, 1887; Academy, 1887 ; Coote's A Lost Charter (London and Middlesex Arch. Trans, vol. v.); Loftie's London (Historic Towns).]

J. H. R.