CROFTS, Sir Henry (c.1590-1667), of Little Saxham, Suff.
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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
Commr. of array, Suff. 1642, j.p. July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d.2
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 1658.3
Crofts, who owned property in Bury St. Edmunds, five miles from his home, stood for the borough at the general election of 1660 with Sir John Duncombe, another royalist sympathizer. After a double return they were seated on the merits of the election. Doubtless a court supporter, he was not an active Member of the Convention. He was appointed to nine committees, including those for settling the revenue in July and the Dunkirk establishment in September. On 28 Dec. he acted as teller for the bill empowering the corporation of London to raise money by assessment for the militia. He did not stand again, and made over the estate to his son, Lord Crofts, in 1664, reserving an annuity of £600 p.a. for himself and £5,000 for his widow. He was buried at Little Saxham on 31 Mar. 1667. On his son’s death in 1677 the estate passed to William Crofts.4