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John (FitzLewis) Fitz Lewis (abt. 1400 - 1442)

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Sir John Fitz Lewis formerly FitzLewis
Born about in Essex, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
[children unknown]
Died [location unknown]
Profile last modified | Created 19 Dec 2014
This page has been accessed 769 times.
Research suggests that this person may never have existed. See the text for details.

"Sir John Fitz Lewis" is a semi-fictional character who appears in a description of West Horndon in Wright's Picturesque Beauties, no doubt taken from an earlier legend.

This begins with the alleged origin of the family in the days of King John, in a liaison between Louis the Dauphin and a great noble heiress, who of course cannot be named.

The descent proceeds, as questionably as one might expect, through several Fitz-Lewises to one "sir John Fitz-Lewis, of West Horndon", who "in the inquisitions is called sir Lodowick John", and who Wright calls "sir John Lewis Fitz-Lewis" later in the same paragraph.

We're further told that this sir John died in 1442 having had 3 wives

  1. Elizabeth Neville, daughter of Robert Neville (unidentified), mother of Sir John Wingfield's wife Elizabeth
  2. Alice de Vere, the earl of Oxford's daughter
  3. Anne Montagu, the earl of Salisbury's daughter.

An early edition of Burke's, or a predecessor, takes up this cue. Discussing Sir John Wingfield, it names his wife as Elizabeth FitzLewis, daughter of "Sir John FitzLewis" by his wife Elizabeth Neville, daughter of Sir Robert Neville (advanced in rank but still unidentified).

In fact we know who Sir John Wingfield's wife was, since she is named as such in her mother's will (1457). Her mother was Anne Montagu aforesaid, the earl of Salisbury's daughter. Anne died as the widow of a Duke of Exeter, having previously been married to Sir Lewis John of West Horndon (d 1442), sometime bulk wine merchant to Henry of Bolingbroke.

Lewis is Ludovicus in Latin, and this Sir Lewis John is indeed the man who "in the inquisitions is called sir Lodowick John". In fact he's never called anything else, in a well-recorded career as royal officer and Parliamentarian, so there's no reason to give him a different name, except that it works better with the fabled descent from Louis the Dauphin. (In fact Sir Lewis John's own offspring seem to have been the first recorded users of the surname FitzLewis.)

Anne Montagu was Sir Lewis's 2nd wife; his 1st wife had indeed been the aforesaid Alice de Vere. But of "Elizabeth Neville" and her mysterious father, there is no trace in the records.

Nevertheless, Burke's sticks to its line, and the 2003 Peerage remains stubbornly unchanged and unimpressed on the subject of Sir John Wingfield's wife's parents.

However, in modern times, the forces of internet chaos seem to have added a new twist. "Sir John FitzLewis" now appears, not as a pedigree-faker's alias for Sir Lewis John, but as his son, with DoB invented to fit (though not very well, since his alleged mother's previous husband died in 1413).

Not even Burke's offers any support for this version, but then, internet theories are entirely free-standing and don't need any.

Sir Lewis's will mentions 5 sons, the last-named being John, but nothing else seems to be known about that John; he is never mentioned in Burke's and clearly is not imagined to be "Sir John FitzLewis" the father of Elizabeth Wingfield.


Sources

  • Wright.
  • Stirnet.com (citing old Burkes)
  • Burke's Peerage (any)
  • ThePeerage.com, citing Burke's 2003.


Acknowledgements

This person was created on 09 May 2011 through the import of Lewis2011.ged.



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On 6 Apr 2014 at 22:57 GMT Michelle (Bairfield) Brooks wrote:



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Categories: Uncertain Existence