From Portal:Isle of Wight:
Sir Thomas Fleming (April 1544 - August 7, 1613), was an English judge, whose most famous case was the trial of Guy Fawkes in relation to the Gunpowder Plot.
Fleming's father, John, was a general trader and mercer and the family lived in a house just to the east of the entrance to the corn market from the High Street in Newport on the Isle of Wight. He studied law, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1574. He became the Member of Parliament for Winchester in 1584, serving until 1601. His progression within the legal profession was fast (possibly due to several personal connections with the monarch); he became a serjeant-at-law in 1594, and shortly afterwards became Recorder of London. In 1595, the Lord Treasurer, Burleigh, promoted Fleming (in preference to Francis Bacon) to the position of Solicitor General, succeeding Sir Edward Coke who had become Attorney General. Fleming was praised by his contemporaries, more particularly Coke, for his "great judgments, integrity and discretion."
Fleming continued as a Member of Parliament (MP) in 1601, this time representing a Cornish constituency, but his maiden speech on 20 November of that year was a disaster and Fleming broke down; he never addressed the House of Commons again. Nevertheless, he continued to serve as an MP, representing Southampton for several terms. When James I became king in 1603, Fleming was reappointed Solicitor General and received his knighthood the following year, when he was elevated to the bench as Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. It was in this capacity that he tried Guy Fawkes, although his conduct during the trial was criticised: he was accused of attempting "to look wise, and say nothing".
In 1607, on the death of Sir John Popham, Fleming was elevated to the post of Lord Chief Justice of England. The following year he obtained a Charter for Incorporation for Newport from the king, providing for the election of a mayor instead of the historical appointed bailiff. He assisted in the establishment of a free grammar school in the town. Also in 1608, Fleming was one of the judges at the trial of the post nati in 1608, siding with the majority of the judges in declaring that persons born in Scotland after the accession of James I were entitled to the privileges of natural-born subjects in England.
Fleming died suddenly on 7 August 1613 at Stoneham Park in Hampshire, having given to his servants and farm-labourers what was known in Hampshire as a "hearing day." He had purchased the North Stoneham estate in 1599 from Henry Wriothesley, a young Earl of Southampton who inherited the title and estate at the age of eight. After joining in the festivities, he went to bed, apparently in sound health, but was taken suddenly ill, and died before morning. He was buried in the parish church of North Stoneham, where a stately monument records the numerous successes of his career.