John MORDAUNT

(2nd B. Mordaunt of Turvey)

Born: ABT 1508, Turvey, Bedfordshire, England

Acceded: 18 Aug 1562

Died: 1571/2

Buried: Turvey, Bedfordshire, England

Father: John MORDAUNT (1 B. Mordaunt of Turvey)

Mother: Elizabeth De VERE (B. Mordaunt of Turvey)

Married 1: Ellen FITZLEWIS (b. ABT 1522 - d. 2 Jun 1543) (dau. of John Fitzlewis and Catherine Lovell) ABT 1537, Turvey, Bedfordshire, England

Children:

1. Lewis MORDAUNT (3 B. Mordaunt of Turvey)

2. Elizabeth MORDAUNT

3. Margaret MORDAUNT

4. Anne MORDAUNT

5. Ursula MORDAUNT

6. Son MORDAUNT

7. Dau. MORDAUNT

8. Son MORDAUNT

9. Dau. MORDAUNT

10. Son MORDAUNT

Married 2: Joan FERMOR (B. Mordaunt of Turvey) (dau. of Richard Fermor of Easton Neston and Anne Browne) (w. of Robert Wilford) ABT 1550, Turvey, Bedfordshire, England


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire Oct. 1553, Apr. 1554, Nov. 1554, 1555.  Brother of Edmund. Married 1st, settlement 26 Feb 1526, Ellen (d. 2 Jun 1543), daughter and heir of John Fitzlewes and had 4(?) sons, including Lewis, and 6 daughters; married 2nd, Licensed 3 Dec 1545, Joan, daughter of Richard Fermor of Easton Neston, Northants., widow of Robert Wilford (d. Sep or Oct 1545) of London. KB? 30 May 1533; succeeded father as 2nd Baron. Sheriff, Essex and Herts. 1540-1; bailiff, duchy of Cornwall, Newport Pound, Essex c. 1543; justice of the peace Essex 1544-47 or later, q. by 1554-64; commissioner relief, Essex 1550, musters, Essex, Herts? c. 1557, 1558, 1563, 1565, heresy 1557; steward, duchy of Lancaster, Olney, Bucks. 1552-8, Hertford and constable, Hertford castle 1554-58?; PC 1553-58?

The Mordaunts had been prominent in Bedfordshire since the 13th century. Their landed wealth had steadily increased and Sir John Mordaunt's father, besides acquiring much monastic land, had secured the wardship of the granddaughter of Sir Richard Fitzlewes and married her to his son and heir. At least until until the 1st Baron Mordaunt died, Sir John Mordaunt seems to have lived most frequently on his first wife's property at West Horndon, and it was mainly in Essex that he served as a county official. But the family's long connection with Bedfordshire, together with his own Privy Councillorship, enabled him to secure the knighthood of that shire in the first four Parliaments of Mary's reign.

As a young man, Mordaunt had been introduced by his father into Henry VIII's court, created a knight of the Bath at the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and been among the courtiers present at the arrival of Anne of Cleves at Blackheath. During the closing years of Henry VIII's reign, and increasingly under Edward VI, however, both he and his father forfeited royal favour through their opposition to religious change.

Although included in Cecil's list of gentlemen expected to transact 'affairs for Queen Jane', Mordaunt, whose second wife had formerly been in the service of Princess Mary, was one of the first prominent men to join the Marian forces. This promptitude earned him a place on Queen Mary's Council, and for some years from 22 Aug 1553, his first recorded appearance, he attended Council meetings regularly. He was present at Mary's coronation and at her wedding to Felipe of Spain; at the time of Wyatt's rising against the marriage he had been one of those appointed to organize the supply of the Tower. He was also active in suppressing opponents of Catholicism- first as a justice of the peace, and from 1557 as a heresy commissioner in the diocese of London. During the last year of the reign he was prominent in levying Essex men for service at Calais.

The accession of Elizabeth brought him into disfavour at court. By Apr 1561 his adherence to Catholicism had caused him to be imprisoned in the Fleet, 'a prisoner for the mass', but he probably did not remain there long. His religion did not prevent him from attending the Parliament of 1563 as a peer and in 1571 he named Edward, 3rd Lord Windsor, his proxy.

Mordaunt's public career had been set against a background of domestic discord. He and his elder son, Lewis, became estranged by the son's refusal to marry a daughter of his stepmother, Joan Fermor. According to the family historian, Lewis had at first been willing to marry the girl, whom he may have seduced, but his grandfather, the 1st Baron, forbade the marriage as one of disparagement. This led to a series of complicated manoeuvers. Mordaunt secured a recovery of the Fitzlewes lands to his own use, and drew up a will depriving Lewis of them if he continued to refuse the marriage, whereupon old Lord Mordaunt made arrangements virtually disinheriting Mordaunt himself in favour of Lewis, whom he ordered to leave his father's household and take up residence at Turvey. The Mordaunt estates still lay principally in Bedfordshire but included outlying manors in Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Somerset. There was also a large London house in St. Sepulchre without Newgate.

After spending much time and money in these disputes, Mordaunt and his father were officially reconciled, probably as late as 1562. Lewis inherited the Mordaunt estates in 1571, although his father's final will still appears designed to keep his son out of full enjoyment of the Fitzlewes lands for at least ten years after that date. It is probable that Lewis reached an agreement with his stepmother over these, to which, by the will of Sir Richard Fitzlewes, he was undoubtedly the heir on his father's death. This took place between 16 Apr, when Mordaunt drew up his last will, and 19 Oct 1571, when it was proved. His widow married Sir Thomas Kempe.

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