|Creation date||24 June 1295|
|Created by||Edward I|
|Peerage||Peerage of England|
|First holder||Robert FitzWalter|
|Present holder||Julian Plumptre, 22nd Baron FitzWalter|
|Heir apparent||Hon. Edward Brook Plumptre|
|Motto||Je Garderai ("I will guard") |
Baron FitzWalter is an ancient title in the Peerage of England. It was created on 24 June 1295 for Robert FitzWalter. The title was created by writ, which means that it can descend through both male and female lines.
One of the oldest titles in the English Peerage, the barony of FitzWalter has a long history. The fourth baron was an Admiral of the Fleet. The fourth baron's grandson, the sixth baron, died from dysentery at the siege of Harfleur. He was succeeded by his brother, the seventh baron, who was the last known male line descendant of Rollo of Normandy, and was succeeded by his daughter and only child, Elizabeth. She was the wife of John Radcliffe. Their son, the ninth baron, was attainted for treason in 1495 with his title forfeited. However, his son Robert Radcliffe obtained a reversal of the attainder by Act of Parliament in 1509 and later served as Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire. He was created Viscount FitzWalter in 1525 and Earl of Sussex in 1529. His grandson, the third earl, was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in 1553 in his father's junior title of Baron FitzWalter. Lord Sussex later served as Lord Deputy of Ireland. He was succeeded by his younger brother, the fourth earl. He had earlier represented Maldon, Hampshire and Portsmouth in the House of Commons and also served as Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire. When he died the titles passed to his only child, the fifth earl. He was Lord Lieutenant of Essex.
On his death in 1629, the barony of FitzWalter separated from the viscountcy and earldom. The latter titles were inherited by the late earl's cousin and heir male, the sixth earl, who notably sat as a Member of Parliament for Petersfield, Bedford and Portsmouth. When he died in 1643 the viscountcy and earldom became extinct. The claim to the barony of FitzWalter was passed on to the fifth earl's cousin and heir-general Henry Mildmay, de jure fifteenth baron. He was the son of Lady Frances, the only daughter of the second earl of Sussex by his second wife, Anne Calthorpe. He claimed the barony in 1641 and 1645 but was unsuccessful both times and was never summoned to the House of Lords. His grandson Henry Mildmay, de jure sixteenth baron, successfully[ citation needed ] claimed the title in 1660. However, his younger brother Benjamin Mildmay successfully petitioned for the peerage in 1667 and was summoned to the House of Lords as the seventeenth baron. In 1730 his younger son, the nineteenth baron, was created Viscount Harwich, in the County of Essex, and Earl FitzWalter, in the Peerage of Great Britain. Lord FitzWalter later served as President of the Board of Trade and was also Lord Lieutenant of Essex.
However, on his death in 1756, the viscountcy and earldom became extinct while the barony of FitzWalter fell into abeyance between the daughters of Mary, only sister of the sixteenth and seventeenth barons. The peerage remained in abeyance for 168 years, until it was called out of abeyance in 1924 (after a petition to the House of Lords) in favour of Henry Fitzwalter Plumptre, who became the twentieth baron.  He was the son of John Bridges Plumptre and grandson of Eleanor, wife of Reverend Henry Western Plumptre and daughter of Sir Brook William Bridges, 4th Baronet, of Goodneston, a descendant of the aforementioned Mary, sister of the sixteenth and seventeenth barons. Sir Brook William Bridge's eldest son Sir Brook William Bridges, 5th Baronet, of Goodneston, had unsuccessfully claimed the barony in 1842, but was instead created Baron FitzWalter, of Woodham Walter in the County of Essex, in 1868 (for more information on this creation, which became extinct in 1875, see Bridges baronets of Goodneston).
The twentieth baron died childless in 1932 when the peerage once again fell into abeyance. The abeyance was terminated in 1953 in favour of Fitzwalter Brook Plumptre, the twenty-first Baron. He was the son of George Beresford Plumptre, younger brother of the twentieth baron. As of 2017 [update] the title is held by his son, the twenty-second baron, who succeeded in 2004.
The family seat is Goodnestone Park. The house was built in 1704 by Sir Brook Bridges, 1st Baronet, of Goodneston. The house came into the Plumptre family through the marriage of the aforesaid Eleanor Bridges, daughter of Sir Brook William Bridges, 4th Baronet, of Goodneston, to Reverend Henry Western Plumptre, whose son John Bridges Plumptre inherited it upon the death of the last Bridges baronet of Goodneston in 1899.
The FitzWalters were of the same line as the de Clare. Presuming they were from an unbroken male line, the seventh baron was the last agnate of the House of Normandy. Through de Balliol they also have a connection to the old Saxon line in England.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Hon. Edward Brook Plumptre (b. 1989).
Sir Walter Mildmay was a statesman who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer to Queen Elizabeth I, and founded Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
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The Bridges Baronetcy, of Goodnestone in the County of Kent, was created in the Baronetage of Great Britain on 19 April 1718 for Brook Bridges. His son the second Baronet, died in 1733 whilst in office as High Sheriff of Kent. His grandson, the third Baronet, represented Kent in the House of Commons. In 1842, the fifth Baronet, unsuccessfully claimed the ancient barony of FitzWalter as a descendant of Mary, sister of the seventeenth Baron FitzWalter. He later sat as a Member of Parliament for Kent East. In 1868 he was created Baron FitzWalter, of Woodham Walter in the County of Essex, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. However, the peerage became extinct on his death, while he was succeeded in the baronetcy by his younger brother, the sixth Baronet. On his death the title passed to his first cousin, the seventh Baronet. He was the son of Reverend Brook Henry Bridges, third son of the third Baronet. When he died this line of the family also failed and the title was passed on to his first cousin, the eighth Baronet. He was the son of Reverend Brook Edward Bridges, fourth son of the third Baronet. He never married and on his death in 1899 the baronetcy became extinct.
Robert Radcliffe, 10th Baron Fitzwalter, 1st Earl of Sussex, KG, KB, PC, also spelt Radclyffe, Ratcliffe, Ratcliff, etc., was a prominent courtier and soldier during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII who served as Chamberlain of the Exchequer and Lord Great Chamberlain.
Brook William Bridges, 1st Baron FitzWalter, known as Sir Brook Bridges, Bt, between 1829 and 1868, was a British peer and Conservative politician.
Lady Frances Radclyffe was an English noblewoman, who early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England became one of her Maids of Honour. It was at the royal court when Frances attracted the attention of visiting Irish chieftain Shane O'Neill, who was searching for a "proper English wife" and made her a proposal of matrimony, which she refused to consider. She later married Sir Thomas Mildmay, by whom she had two sons.
Benjamin Mildmay, 1st Earl FitzWalter, styled The Honourable Benjamin Mildmay until 1728 and known as The Lord FitzWalter between 1728 and 1730, was a British politician. He served as First Lord of Trade between 1735 and 1737 and as Treasurer of the Household between 1737 and 1755.