LOVELACE, Francis (1594-1664), of Canterbury, Kent and Gray's Inn.

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

Constituency

Dates

1661 - Feb. 1664

Family and Education

bap. 22 Sept. 1594, 1st s. of Lancelot Lovelace of Canterbury and Gray’s Inn by Mary, da. and coh. of William Cayser of Hollingbourne. educ. G. Inn, entered 1609, called 1620; St. John’s, Camb. 1612. m. lic. 5 July 1624, Anne (d.1679), da. of Goldwell Rogers of Canterbury, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1640.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Canterbury 1636, recorder 1638-43, July 1660-d., common councilman Oct. 1660-d., recorder, Dover 1640-54, ?July 1660-d.; j.p. Kent by 1641-?44, Mar. 1660-d.; counsel, Cinque Ports 1647-d.; bencher, G. Inn 1650, reader 1663; steward, St. Augustine’s liberty July 1660-3, courts of Chancery and Admiralty, Cinque Ports ?July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Canterbury Aug. 1660-d., Kent 66-d., sewers, E. Kent Sept. 1660, Denge marsh Oct. 1660, corporations, Kent 1662-3.2

Biography

Lovelace’s ancestors had held property in Kent since the 14th century, and the elder branch, to which Richard Lovelace the Cavalier poet belonged, first represented Canterbury in 1567. ‘By their deep knowledge in the municipal laws’, according to a contemporary, ‘the family deserved well of their country’, and in 1638 Lovelace, a professional lawyer, succeeded his father as recorder. He has to be distinguished from his cousin, the poet’s brother, and from the governor of New York, one of the Berkshire family. He was removed from office in 1643 as a royalist sympathizer; but in 1647 he was one of the moderates who strove to allay the disturbances in the city caused by the attempt of the county committee to suppress the celebration of Christmas. When the parliamentary forces regained control, he was imprisoned in Leeds Castle for a few months, and he signed the Kentish petition for a free Parliament in the following year. He was described as ‘very active against Parliament’ in the second Civil War, and compounded for £50 on a property he had purchased in Chartham, though this had apparently been sequestrated because of the vendor’s delinquency rather than his own.3

Lovelace again signed a Kentish petition for a free Parliament in January 1660 and regained his recordership at the Restoration. He petitioned successfully for the stewardship of the liberty of St. Augustine, near Canterbury, on the grounds of the sequestration, imprisonment, and loss of office which he had suffered for his loyalty. In a fulsome speech of welcome to the King and the queen mother in October he described the Act of Indemnity as inaugurating a golden age. He was returned for the city on the corporation interest in 1661. Much activity could not be expected of a Member making his parliamentary debut at the age of 66, and only three committees can be definitely attributed to him, including that for the corporations bill, though he may have sat on 14 others. In 1663 he resigned his stewardship in favour of Sir Anthony Aucher, with whom he worked closely in local affairs. Both were little disposed to credit alarming accounts of seditious activities. Lovelace was buried at St. Margaret’s, Canterbury on 1 Mar. 1664, the last of the Kentish family to sit in Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning

Notes

  • 1. Arch. Cant. x. 216-19; Canterbury Mar. Lic. ed. Cowper, ii. 626; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 126.
  • 2. Roll of the Freemen ed. Cowper, iii. 320; Hasted, Kent, xii. 611; J. B. Jones, Annals of Dover, 346; Black and White Bks. (Kent Recs. xix), 481; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 139; 1663-4, pp. 215, 502; Eg. 2985, f. 66; C181/7/56.