Fleetwood, George (fl.1650?) (DNB00)

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FLEETWOOD, GEORGE (fl. 1650?), regicide, was the son of Charles Fleetwood, knt., of the Vache, near Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, and Catherine, daughter of Henry Denny of Waltham, Essex. In the will of Sir George Fleetwood, who died 21 Dec. 1620, George Fleetwood is described as his third son, but Edward and Charles, his elder brothers, appear to have died without issue. In ‘Mercurius Aulicus,’ 7 Dec. 1643, it is stated that ‘Young Fleetwood of the Vache’ had raised a troop of dragoons for the parliament, to defend the Chiltern parts of Buckinghamshire; and in an ordinance of 27 June 1644 the name of Fleetwood appears in the list of the Buckinghamshire committee (Husband, Ordinances, 1646, p. 54). He entered the Long parliament in July 1647 as member for Buckinghamshire (Names of Members returned to serve in Parliament, i. 485). In 1648 he was appointed one of the commissioners for the trial of the king, attended two sittings of the court, and was present also when sentence was pronounced, and signed the death-warrant (Nalson, Trial of Charles I). In 1649 and 1650 he was colonel of the Buckinghamshire militia, and was chosen a member of the eighth and last council of state of the Commonwealth (1 Nov.–10 Dec. 1653, Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1653–4, p. xxxvi). He represented the county of Buckingham in the assembly of 1653, and again in the parliament of 1654 (Old Parliamentary History, xx. 176, 297). Cromwell knighted him in the autumn of 1656, and summoned him to his House of Lords in December 1657 (Perfect Politician, ed. 1680, p. 293; Old Parliamentary History, xxi. 168). On the occasion of Sir George Booth's rising parliament authorised Fleetwood to raise a ‘troop of well-affected volunteers’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659–60, pp. 125, 565). He refused to assist Lambert against Monck, opposed the oath of abjuration in parliament, was entrusted with the command of a regiment by Monck in the spring of 1660, and proclaimed Charles II at York (11 May 1660) (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. p. 159). When the regicides were summoned to surrender he gave himself up (16 June), but was excepted from the Act of Indemnity (Kennett, Register, pp. 181, 240). At his trial (October 1660) Fleetwood pleaded guilty, was sentenced to death, and said, weeping, that he had confessed the fact, and wished he could express his sorrow (Trial of the Regicides, pp. 28, 276). A saving clause in the Act of Indemnity suspended the execution of those who claimed the benefit of the king's proclamation, unless their conviction was followed by a special act of parliament for their execution. Fleetwood accordingly petitioned parliament, stating that his name was inserted in the list of commissioners without his knowledge and against his will, and that his signature to the warrant was extorted by Cromwell, ‘whose power, commands, and threats (he being then young) frighted him into court.’ He produced certificates from Monck and Ashley of his services in forwarding the Restoration, and begged ‘to be represented to his majesty as a fit object of his royal clemency and mercy to hold his life merely by his princely grace’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. p. 159). His life was spared, but his estate of the Vache confiscated and given to the Duke of York. In 1664 a warrant was issued for Fleetwood's transportation to Tangier, but it seems to have been suspended at the solicitation of his wife. According to Noble he was finally released and went to America. He was twice married and had issue. A miniature of Fleetwood by S. Cooper, dated 1647, belongs to G. Milner Gibson Cullum, Esq., F.S.A.

[Pedigree and wills kindly communicated by W. S. Churchill, esq.; Dom. State Papers; Noble's Lives of the Regicides, 1798.]

C. H. F.