Categories: Knights bachelor.
He served as an elite soldier to King Charles I. He rose to prominence at the Siege of Montauban in France in 1621. Having learned of a false report that Rochell had been surrendered, the English command urgently needed to deliver a letter to the besieged city to counter the false rumor. Hicks agreed to take the mission, and managed to infiltrate the siege lines by subterfuge, associating with Peregrine Fairfax, the brother of Lord Fairfax, who was with the English ambassador. When Hicks managed to get between the lines with a good mount, he dashed off toward the Montauban defenses, dodging "showers" of the French shots. According to one version of the story, as he left, he called out to Fairfax to follow him, but the unfortunate Fairfax was unaware of the plan, failed to escape, and was tortured to death by the French King's men. A different account though relates that Fairfax had been apprised of the plan, and died of different causes. The garrison at Montauban, receiving this positive news, rallied and beat back the besiegers so decisively the next day that the siege was lifted and the town saved (at least for the next 8 years; it ultimately fell in 1629). This feat of daring earned Hicks an unspecified reward. Since he was later a King's pensioner, it's possible this was a life pension. In 1635, he was knighted for his continued services to the crown. Lord Fairfax initially blamed Hicks for his brother's death, though the testimony of a witness to the events evidently satisfied Lord Fairfax that Hicks was in fact blameless. Hicks' later military record shows that he was placed in command of several warships (the Fourth Whelp and the Richard and Mary) and was later the standard bearer of the Gentlemen Pensioners, the King's personal elite bodyguard.
Sir Elias' will was probated in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in 1679. The will lists, among others, a sister Susanna Conningsby and brother Adam Hickes.
There is no evidence of a wife or children.
By the 19th century, a portrait of Sir Ellis Hicks in what is obviously 17th century armor hung at Witcombe, which came into the family around the time of William Hicks (b London 1595) the 1st Bt in the early 1600s. Sir William was probably a contemporary and even relation of Sir Ellis Hicks.
From 1621, Hicks was present during the Siege of Montauban, and played a vital role there, sufficient to earn him a knighthood, which he was granted in 1635. He could speak French, and was styled “gentleman.”
1628: liable for taxation in the Royal Household, and not in [Huntingdonshire], the previous area of tax liability.
1635 (Sept 23): Elias (Ellis) Hicks, gentleman pensioner of King _____, knighted by the Earl of Lindsay aboard the Marie Honor.
1636: While he was captain of the Fourth Whelp, a pilot wrecked his ship against a sunken rock, though all hands were saved.
1639: Listed as an officer in the band of “Gentleman Pensioners”; bore the standard.
1645: among those who “came of Oxford” (to the King?)
1645-1654: His estate was sequestered by Parliament, at which time he is styled “Sir Elias Hicks, London” and fined 290 pounds; he repealed various times; last record (no resolution) 12 Oct 1654. 
1647: he was a defendant in a court case against plaintiffs Mary Carey, Sir Thomas Pelham bart, Sir Robert Honywood, kt, and Thomas Fisher concerning Wasperton manor, in Warwickshire.
1667: Defendant (with Robert Hicks) in a chancery suit Ketherick v Hicks (Note: chancery suits with the Kethericks/Ketteridges/Kittridges seem to be fairly common, which probably indicates a familial relation.)
1679: At the time of his death he was styled Sir Elias Hicks of The Wyld, Hertfordshire.
Dobson's 1795 Historical anecdotes of heraldy and chivalry... and Rudge’s 1803 History of Gloucester (as well as a host of later genealogies) appear to be the earliest claims that Sir Ellis Hicks was instead a 14th century knight who fought with the Black Prince during the reign of King Edward III. Some later versions specify the Battle of Poitiers, while others say Crecy. These earliest forms of the legend merely say that Sir Ellis/Elias was an ancestor of John Hicks of Tetworth, but some later commentators asserted, against all chronological sense, that he was the father of John Hicks.
The earliest known Hicks genealogy, the 1623 Visitation of Gloucester, only goes back to John Hicks, failing to mention any such descent from Sir Ellis/Elias Hicks. And this pedigree has a dotted line between Robert and his father/ancestor Thomas, suggesting either multiple generations or even questionable relatedness.
Presumably, the story placing Sir Ellis Hicks in the 14th century arose after Hicks' lifetime. It may have been partly inspired by Hicks' portrait, which has hung in the Hicks' family seat at Witcombe since at least the 19th century. Although it does not appear that Hicks had any direct descendants, the fact that his portrait was passed down to this particular Hicks family suggests that he must have been a relative of theirs, and it is possible that the reimagining of Sir Ellis' role in the family history comes out of an attempt to place him in the family tree generations after his real identity had been forgotten. The style and subject of the portrait clearly belong to the 17th century, and Sir Ellis' apparent age, perhaps in his 50s or 60s, would agree with a mid-century date. This curious fact was observed by several genealogical authors who seem to have assumed that this strange anachronism was the choice of some late artist who modeled it on a 17th century example. The possibility that it is in a 17th century style because it is a 17th century life portrait does not seem to have been considered.
It seems possible that some form of the 14th century story must have predated Sir Ellis' involvement though. A particular detail that may be telling is that the story explains the inclusion of fleurs de lis in the family arms as being a grant from Edward III in recognition of taking French banners. This clearly could not have occurred in the 17th century, as the Hicks family would not have inherited from Sir Ellis, so the story might well predate him and indeed some of it might even be true. As with Ellis' gradual promotion from distant ancestor to father of John Hicks, the family tradition may have started out with an unnamed ancestor taking the French banners. If the detail regarding his dubbing as a knight banneret is accurate, this could quite easily have happened without generating much in the way of contemporary records, since the banneret rank was largely honorary. By the middle of the 18th century, Sir Ellis had been gone for several generations, so perhaps the Hicks of that time began to confuse the two tales of military valor, and eventually started attaching Ellis' name and portrait to even more dimly remembered events from 300 years before his time. At any rate, it seems fairly certain that the real Sir Ellis/Elias Hicks of the 17th century is depicted in the portrait and was some reasonably close relation to the Hicks family that purchased Witcombe during his lifetime.
Could this Elias Hicks son of William be the husband of Juliana Coningsby who is known to be involved in the flight of Charles 1st, and is known to be married to a Amias Hext. References to Juliana are found in both the Diary by Anne Wyndham given in The Boscobel Tracts edited by J Hughes published MDCCCXXX and The Flight of The King by Allan Fea published mdcccxvii.. The last know fact is that she recievd 50 marks per annum as a pensioner, married to Amias hext. alive in 1679. She was the neice of Elizabeth Coningsby married to Thomas Wyndham in 1597. The Coningsbys being resident at North Mymms and The Weld. which is where Elias is sad to have died
Thanks to Ben Buckner for surfacing the documentation that revealed the real Sir Ellis Hicks and determined the origins of the myth behind the false ancestry of medieval Hicks family members. RJ Horace, Helen Ford, Isabelle Rassinot and John Atkinson also contributed to solving this mystery. Jillaine Smith drafted an initial narrative and timeline, above. Others have contributed. (See Changes tab for details.) See the g2g thread associated with this profile for details of the hunt.
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On 29 May 2018 at 22:10 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:
On 28 May 2018 at 20:00 GMT Ben Buckner wrote:
Elias is 30 degrees from Anne Buckmaster, 16 degrees from Franklin Roosevelt and 16 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.