CROMWELL, alias WILLIAMS, Francis (c.1541-98), of Hemingford Grey and St. Neot's, Hunts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1541, 2nd s. of Sir Richard Cromwell alias Williams† of Hinchingbrooke by Frances, da. of Sir Thomas Murfyn, ld. mayor of London; bro. of Henry Cromwell alias Williams . educ. G. Inn 1565. m. by 1565, Margaret, da. of Henry Mannock† of Hemingford Grey, 1s.1
J.p.q. Hunts. from 1582; sheriff Cambs. and Hunts. 1587-8.
The bulk of Cromwell’s estates lay in Huntingdonshire, including the site of St. Neot’s priory, the manors of St. Neot’s, Hardwick, and Grafham, and lands in the parish of Wintringham. He also owned property in Aldermanbury, London. Fairly active in local affairs, he played a role subordinate to that of his elder brother, (Sir) Henry, with whose support, as sheriff, he was returned as junior Member for the county. The only reference found to him in the journals is to leave of absence granted him on 11 June 1572, unless he is the ‘Cromwell’ who voted to include minstrels within the provisions of the bill against vagabonds on 30 May 1572. But this is more likely to have been Thomas Cromwell. He stood again in 1584, but then the sheriff was Sir Henry Darcy, an opponent of his brother, who so arranged matters that Francis was defeated. He complained to the House of Commons, which decided that the dispute lay outside its jurisdiction. Subsequently the attorney-general took up his case in the Star Chamber, but no further evidence survives.2
By 1586 Cromwell was estranged from his wife, making her an annuity. He died at Hardwick 5 Aug. 1598.3
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. VCH Hunts. ii. 67, 69; Vis. Hunts. (Cam. Soc. xliii), 79-80.
- 2. Cal. Coleman Deeds, 209-10; St. Ch. 5/C3/37; C142/255/151; VCH Hunts. ii. 200; iii. 61; Cal. Feet of Fines, Hunts. ed. Turner (Camb. Antiq. Soc. Pubs. oct. ser. xxxvii), 162-3; PRO Lists and Indexes, vii. 100; CJ, i 102; HMC Lords, n.s.xi.8; HMC Hatfield, iii. 109; CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 338-9, 462; APC, xiv. 296; Neale, Commons, 49; St. Ch. 5/A41/32, A42/30.
- 3. APC, xiv. 57; C142/255/151.