ANDERSON, Sir Francis (1614-79), of Greyfriars House, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Bradley, Ryton, co. Dur.
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Family and Education
bap. 21 Dec. 1614, o.s. of Roger Anderson, merchant (d.1622), of Jesmond, Northumb. by 1st w. Jane, da. and coh. of William Bower alias Jackson of Oxen-le-Field, co. Dur. educ. Corpus, Oxf. 1634; G. Inn 1634. m. 19 May 1636, Jane (d.1673), da. and h. of John Dent of Barnard Castle, co. Dur., 7s. (4 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. gdfa. 1623, cos. Robert Anderson in Bradley estate 1640; kntd. Nov. 1641.1
Sheriff, Newcastle 1641-2, alderman 1642-4, 1662-d.; member of hostmen’s co. 1642, gov. 1676-7; j.p. co. Dur. July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Newcastle and co. Dur. Aug. 1660-1, 1663-d.; dep. lt. Newcastle c. Aug. 1660-d. , member of merchant adventurers 1661, commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662, mayor 1662-3, 1675-6, sub-commr. for prizes 1665-7; commr. for recusants, co. Dur. 1675, carriage of coals, Newcastle 1679.2
Col. of horse (royalist) 1642-5.3
Anderson may have sprung from a cadet branch of the great family which had represented Newcastle almost continuously from the Reformation Parliament to the Civil War, but the link has not been established. His grandfather served twice as mayor of the borough, and Anderson himself, a zealous Royalist, was elected sheriff in 1641 on the evacuation of the town by the Scots, and knighted. He raised a regiment of horse for the King at the outset of the Civil War, and fought until captured at Sherburn. He compounded in 1646 for £1,200 on properties, chiefly collieries, valued at over £1,000 p.a. but encumbered with debts and legacies totalling close on £4,700. He was involved in the plans for a royalist uprising in 1655, and imprisoned until the Restoration. ‘Extraordinarily in debt’, he was obliged to sell his property in Jesmond in 1658.4
As a Cavalier, Anderson was ineligible at the general election of 1660, but he was returned for Newcastle at a by-election in August. The corporation paid him for 128 days’ service in the Convention, but he made no speeches and was named to no committees. Re-elected after a contest in 1661, he was an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to only 26 committees, none of which was of direct political importance. In 1662 he helped to consider the bill for the sale of the lands of Sir Robert Slingsby, one of the unsuccessful candidates at Newcastle in the previous year. After being restored to the corporation by the commissioners, he was elected mayor in the autumn. he attended Parliament none the less during his year of office, receiving 156 days’ wages in October 1663. He was appointed to the committee for the relief of the creditors of the London Merchant Adventurers (29 Mar. 1664), and with Sir John Marlay was formally thanked by the Newcastle company as ‘being instrumental in procuring the vote of the committee of the House of Commons, by which vote we are to be free of paying any part of that great debt’. He remained active in municipal affairs, complaining of the boldness of the Newcastle ‘fanatics’ in 1668. In that year and again in 1671, he was listed among the parliamentary defaulters, though on each occasion the fine was remitted, and Sir Thomas Osborne could still include him among those who had usually voted for supply. His financial affairs had reached a crisis which a grant of £100 in April 1671 for assistance to the customs officials can have done little to alleviate. He implored Lord Ogle (Henry Cavendish) to obtain for him a grant of the poll-tax collected in Northumberland and not yet paid into the Exchequer:
If my business succeed not, a prison must be my sad fate. I am confined now in my own house in the country, and if I should wander from it but a little, another not so convenient is prepared for me. I would sell my lands at once at undervalues to escape my creditors, but they will not give me time.
To (Sir) Joseph Williamson he wrote: ‘my service and charge, my great losses and sufferings ... are very well known in the North’. His petition for a grant of lands was referred to Lord Treasurer Clifford on 9 Apr. 1673 with no known effect, and he was involved in further difficulties as security for a tax official who had served under him as sheriff of Newcastle. He received the government whip for the autumn session of 1675, but it was again his turn for the mayoralty, which, as he explained to Williamson, would detain him in Newcastle until 21 Oct., ‘after which I shall make all the haste possible to attend his Majesty’s and your commands’. Sir Richard Wiseman marked him as absent, but he had reached Westminster by 20 Nov., when he was appointed to a committee on a bill to prevent theft and rapine on the northern borders. During his second mayoralty he sold his magnificent town house to his colleague, William Blackett. Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’ in 1677, when he was given a secret service payment of £200 out of the French subsidy. He made his only recorded speech in this session, when Thomas Neale proposed the construction of a ballast shore at Shields to assist the coal trade. Anderson described the bill as ‘a very unreasonable thing, and destructive to the river, and in general to the town of Newcastle; for 35,000,000 tons of water would come every tide less into the river when Carrow sluice was walled in than now’. Though he produced no support for his figures, the bill was rejected on the second reading. He was described in A Seasonable Argument as a pensioner, and included in both lists of the court party in 1678. During the summer session of that year he was appointed to the committee for regulating the dimensions of vessels in the coal trade. The creditors of the London Merchant Adventurers preferred another bill for their relief; Anderson was named to the committee, but on 1 July it was ordered to ‘make no further progress before a recess’. The Newcastle company naturally expected the bill to be revived when Parliament met again, and on 20 Sept. resolved to ask Anderson and William Blackett to engage counsel; but the Popish Plot prevented any further consideration of the matter.