Fleetwood, James (DNB00)

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FLEETWOOD, JAMES, D.D. (1603–1683), bishop of Worcester, the seventh son of Sir George Fleetwood of the Vache, Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, by Catherine, daughter of Henry Denny of Waltham, Essex, was baptised at Chalfont St. Giles 25 April 1603. He was educated first at Eton and then at King's College, Cambridge, of which he was elected scholar in 1623. Having taken holy orders, he was appointed in 1632 chaplain to the Bishop of Lichfield (Dr. Robert Wright), by whom he was presented to the vicarage of Frees, Shropshire, and subsequently, 12 July 1636, collated to the prebend of Eccleshall in the church of Lichfield, in which he was installed on 9 Sept. following. On the outbreak of the rebellion he attached himself as chaplain to the regiment of John, earl of Rivers, and was of so much service at the battle of Edgehill - whether he limited himself strictly to prayers and exhortations or took a more active part in the fighting is not clear - that at Charles's special command the university of Oxford conferred upon him the degree of D.D. on 1 Nov. 1642. He was afterwards preferred to the rectory of Button Coldfield, Warwickshire, from which, however, he was ejected by the parliament. He was tutor to several noblemen and chaplain to Prince Charles, who made him his chaplain in ordinary on the Restoration. In accordance with a royal mandate the fellows of King's College, Cambridge, elected him provost in June 1660. Dr. Whichcote, the existing provost, supported by a minority of the fellows, held out in his rooms, and Fleetwood was compelled to apply to Charles for a 'letter mandatory' before he would quit. He was restored to the living of Frees and presented to the rectory of Anstey in Hertfordshire and that of Denham in Buckinghamshire. On 29 Aug. 1675 he was consecrated bishop of Worcester in the church of St. Peter le Poer, Broad Street, London. He died on 17 July 1683, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral. A mural tablet inscribed with his name was placed in Jesus Chapel the same year. Wood states that he was buried in the lady chapel, and that 'a marble monument with an epitaph of his own making' was placed over his grave in 1687. No trace of this, however, is now to be seen. By his wife, Martha Mercer of Reading, he had two sons, Arthur and John (the latter became archdeacon of Worcester), besides four daughters.

[Wood's Fasti Oxon. ii. 51; Alumni Etonenses; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl.; Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. App. 67, 7th Rep. App. 106; Britton's Worcester Cathedral, App. 2; information from J. P. Earwaker, esq.]

J. M. R.