CROFTS, Sir Henry (c.1590-1667), of Little Saxham, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1624
1626
14 May 1660

Family and Education

b. c.1590, 1st s. of Sir John Crofts of Little Saxham and West Stow by Mary, da. of Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston, Suss. m. (1) settlement 1 Nov. 1610, Elizabeth (d. 1 Oct. 1643), da. of Sir Richard Wortley of Wortley, Yorks., 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 5da.; (2) Margaret (d. 26 May 1674), 1s. d.v.p. 3da. Kntd. 3 Feb. 1611; suc. fa. 1628.1

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Suff. 1642, j.p. July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d.2

Biography

Crofts’s ancestors are said to have held manorial property in the reign of Edward I, but they were of little account until the 16th century, when they acquired Little Saxham, which became their principal residence. The first of the family to enter Parliament was his father, who sat for Thetford in 1597. Although Crofts, a strong Anglican, was named to the Suffolk commission of array, he remained inactive during the Civil War. On the introduction of the Covenant in 1643 he wrote:

I hope God will in his mercy direct me to some place of retreat, whereby I may avoid the having that tendered to me which I am resolved and am bound in conscience never to subscribe unto.

In 1646 he had to surrender to the sequestrators the portion due to his daughter, who had married the Cavalier Sir Frederick Cornwallis without his consent; but this was returned to him when the sequestration was lifted in 1648. His sister was the mother of Sir Henry Bennet, and three of his sons were also in exile with Charles II. The eldest, William, who took charge for a time of the upbringing of the future Duke of Monmouth, then called ‘James Crofts’, was raised to the peerage in 1658.