BOTELER, Sir Francis (c.1612-90), of Hatfield Woodhall, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1612, o. surv. s. of Ralph Boteler of Queen Hoo Hall, Tewin by Susanna, da. of Francis Saunders of Welford, Northants. educ. Isleworth g.s. Mdx.; Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1628-9. m. (1) c.1634, Anne (d.1644), da. of Thomas Cockayne of Ashbourne, Derbys., 1s. d.v.p. 2da.; (2) Elizabeth (d. 30 Apr. 1684), da. of Richard Corbet of Edgmond, Salop, s.p. Kntd. 1 May 1642; suc. fa. 1645, uncle Edward Boteler 1653.1
Capt. of ft. [I] by 1640, 1662-3, maj. 1642.2
J.p. Herts. July 1660-?d., Hertford 1687, commr. for assessment, Herts. Aug. 1660-1, 1663-80, 1689, loyal and indigent officers 1662, dep. lt. 1670-89.
Boteler came from a cadet branch of a prolific family which had settled in Hertfordshire in the reign of Edward III and first sat for the county in 1445. He could expect no inheritance from his father, a younger son, and took service in the Irish army under Strafford. He was knighted at York on the eve of the Civil War for good service against the Irish rebels. In England he ‘adhered to and assisted the late King in the first war’, presumably in arms, though his military career was so inconspicuous that he did not compound for his delinquency until 1649, and then only on his own discovery. He was then living in London, possessed only of horses and clothes, which he valued at £100, and was fined one-sixth.
He signed the Cavalier disclaimer of revenge in April 1660. Chauncy, the county historian, describes him as:
very obliging to his lady, and most affectionate to his children. He was grave in his deportment, yet pleasant in his aspect. He was very modest in speaking, and free from all pride and ostentation. He was endowed with some competency of learning and good elocution. He was master of great reason and understanding, and qualified with a vast memory and great presence of mind, so that he could, extempore, reduce a long speech delivered in confusion, under proper heads in good language and excellent method. His manner of delivery was very graceful, without any affectation. He was very impartial in all his acts of justice and would not be biased by any. He was very loyal to the King and very zealous for the service of the Church, which he daily frequented during his residence in London, where he generally spent the winter part of the year when age grew upon him. He was well skilled in the discipline of military affairs, and reputed an excellent soldier. He always kept a genteel table, treated his neighbours with great courtesy, assisted his friends with much willingness upon all occasions, and relieved the poor with great cheerfulness, yet would reprimand those that commonly used the trade of begging.
In 1678 he founded and endowed a charity for five poor widows of Hatfield and Tewin. Though doubtless a Tory in his views, he seems to have taken no part in politics until he was returned for Hertford as a septuagenarian at the general election of 1685, replacing the exclusionist Sir William Cowper. An inactive Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed only to the committee to inspect expiring laws (26 May). As he was retained on the lieutenancy in 1688, presumably he gave affirmative answers on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws; but he was not reappointed after the Revolution. He died on 9 Oct. 1690 ‘in his 80th year’ and was buried at Hatfield, the last of his family to sit in Parliament.3