FANSHAWE, Sir Thomas I (1596-1665), of Warwick Lane, London.

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

Constituency

Dates

17 May 1624
Apr. 1640
Nov. 1640 - 7 Sept. 1642
1661 - 26 Mar. 1665

Family and Education

b. 16 Nov. 1596, 1st s. of Sir Henry Fanshawe of Ware Park, Herts., and bro. of Sir Richard Fanshawe. educ. travelled abroad (France) 1618. m. (1) 23 Sept. 1627, Anne (bur. 19 July 1628), da. of Sir Giles Alington of Horseheath, Cambs., 1da. ; (2) 24 June 1629 (with £10,000), Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Cokayne, Skinner, of Broad Street, London and Rushton, Northants., ld. mayor 1619-20, 9s. (5 d.v.p.) 7da. suc. fa. 1616; KB 2 Feb. 1626; cr. Visct. Fanshawe of Dromore [I] 5 Sept. 1661.1

Offices Held

King’s remembrancer in the Exchequer 1619-41, Aug. 1660-d.2

J.p. Herts. by 1625-42, Essex by 1632-42, Herts. July 1660-d., St. Albans Sept. 1660-d.; commr. of array, Herts. 1642, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for oyer and terminer, Home circuit July 1660, assessment, Herts. Aug. 1660-d., loyal and indigent officers 1662.3

Biography

Fanshawe’s ancestors had been tenants on the Derbyshire manor of Holmesfield since at least 1417. They first entered Parliament in Elizabethan times, held office in the Exchequer, and bought Ware Park, ‘one of the best seats within twenty miles of London’. Fanshawe was described by his sister-in-law as

a very worthy, valiant, honest, good-natured gentleman, charitable and generous and had excellent natural parts, yet choleric and rash, which was only incommode to his own family; he was a very pretty man, (for he was but low), of a sanguine complexion, much of a gentleman in his mien and language.

It was estimated that before the Civil War his property in Hertfordshire, Essex and London was worth £2,800 p.a., and his office as King’s remembrancer another thousand. But this he was compelled to make over to his brother in 1641 after the discovery of serious irregularities in the appointment of staff. Nevertheless he fought for the King at Edgehill and joined with Sir Gervase Clifton, Richard Spencer, and Sir William Walter in advancing a considerable loan in 1643 on the security of the royal forests. A Straffordian in the Long Parliament, he sat at Oxford in 1644. After a brief period of exile at the end of the first Civil War he petitioned to compound on the Barnstaple articles in 1648. He alleged debts of £14,000, and was fined £1,310. During the Interregnum he made over the Hertfordshire estate to his son. His arrest was ordered in 1659 after Booth’s rising, and he signed the declaration of the Hertfordshire Cavaliers in April 1660 disclaiming thoughts of revenge, though he was of course ineligible at the general election.4

Fanshawe, who is said to have refused an offer from his kinsman Cromwell to reinstate him in the Exchequer, regained his office soon after the Restoration. It was some years before his advance to Charles I could be repaid, and as compensation for the delay he was given an Irish peerage, for which the fees fell little short of £200. Although no longer a Hertfordshire resident or freeholder, he was returned for the county at the general election of 1661, and listed as a friend by Lord Wharton. An active Member of the Cavalier Parliament in its first four sessions, he was appointed each time to the committee of elections and privileges, and probably to 137 others, including seven conferences. He was the first Member appointed to the committee on the bill for confirming public acts (14 May), served on the committee for the security bill, and helped to manage a conference about it. He was also appointed to the committees to consider restoring bishops to the House of Lords, the corporations bill, and the bill to prevent mischief from Quakers. During the debate on the bill promoted by Sir John Pakington 2nd Bt., ‘Sir Thomas Fanshawe took occasion to thank the House for showing so much kindness to a Cavalier, it being the first time he ever saw any’. His name again stands first on the committee for the uniformity bill (3 July), and on the following day he was among those entrusted with the bill of pains and penalties. It was probably Fanshawe who drew the attention of the House to the pamphlet of William Prynne against the corporations bill, since he was the first to be appointed to the committee. Before the autumn recess he may have acted as teller for confirming the election of the royalist candidates at Downton, and as manager of a conference on the uniformity bill. He was the first Member named to the committee for the militia bill (3 Dec.), and before the session ended he was appointed to manage three more conferences, to compare the texts of the Book of Common Prayer, to prepare reasons for a conference on the uniformity bill, and to report whether it was necessary to produce a supplementary bill obliging incumbents to renounce the Covenant.5

In the 1663 session Fanshawe was among those appointed to report on defects in the Act of Uniformity and the Corporations Act, to consider a petition from the loyal and indigent officers, and to prepare a bill to prevent the growth of Popery. On 29 Apr. he read to the House a letter from William Willoughby ‘and several other persons of quality of the county of Hertford, complaining of the frequent and numerous conventions of Quakers, Anabaptists, and other dissenters’. His was the first name on the committees ‘provide such further remedies and expedients as they shall find necessary’ for this situation, and to consider the bill to regulate vestries. He was among those ordered to prepare a bill restricting office to loyal Anglicans, and on 6 May he carried up the bill to authorize the levying of toll on the highways in Hertfordshire. He was appointed to the committee to prevent abuses in the sale of offices and honours and he was the first Member appointed to consider an explanatory bill on relieving the loyal and indigent officers. On 2 July he carried to the Lords two bills, one against Popery, the other against conventicles, and he helped to manage a conference on relief from the Act of Uniformity. A court dependant in 1664, he was the first Member named to the committee for the conventicles bill, which he carried to the Lords on 28 Apr., later helping to manage a conference. He told the local Quakers in August that they were not punished for their religion, but for assembling in numbers larger than was lawful, and he was prepared to plead the cause of a conventicler who had loyally served Charles I. In the next session he probably introduced the bill to continue the Turnpike Act, since his name once more headed the list of the committee. When he was struck down with apoplexy at his London home on 28 Mar. 1665, Charles II is said to have remarked that he had lost the best of men and subjects. He was buried at Ware, intestate and £28,000 in debt, and his widow was saved from penury only by the grant of a pension of £600 to her and her heirs for 31 years.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: E. R. Edwards

Notes

  • 1. Wards 7/54/122; Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, vi. 157-61; Fanshawe Mems. 293-4; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 149.