POPHAM, Francis (c.1682-1735), of Littlecote Park, Littlecote, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1682, 1st s. of Alexander Popham of Houndstreet, Som. and Littlecote Park by Jane, da. of one French; cos. of Alexander Popham*. educ. Wadham, Oxf. matric. 13 Dec. 1698, aged 16. m. 27 June 1704, his 2nd cos. Anne (d. c.1712), da. and coh. of Alexander Popham (d. 1708) of Bourton on the Hill, Glos., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1720.1
Popham was Robert Harley’s* nephew by marriage (his mother-in-law was Brilliana Harley) – a relationship of profound importance and value to Popham, and he was determined to exploit the connexion. It was presumably through Harley that he obtained Henry St. John II’s* nomination at Wootton Bassett, but he subsequently took little part in the work of the House. He was listed as a Tory early in 1708. In the 1708 Parliament, his only significant activity was to act as a teller on 2 Feb. 1709 against a motion that Reynolds Calthorpe I had been duly elected for Hindon.
By 1710 Popham had purchased a house in St. James’s Square, for £6,000, but it was noted that he did not live there and that its value was suffering through neglect. He was in London in that year to vote against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, but soon afterwards, thinking he had smallpox, he returned to Wiltshire. Confined to bed with what proved to be a severe attack of rheumatism, he was obliged to ask Harley to explain his absence should the House be called. He put up at Chippenham in 1710 on the family interest, and was eventually seated on petition in March 1711. Another Harley relative, meeting him in London at this time, reported that he looked ‘mightily well’ and had even ‘grown fat’. Listed among the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the 1710–11 session exposed the mismanagements of the previous ministry, he appears to have remained loyal to Harley. Given three weeks’ leave of absence on 7 Mar. 1712, he left Parliament at the 1713 election. His name was one of those sent to the Pretender in 1721 as a probable supporter in the event of a rising. Popham died intestate on 14 Sept. 1735, and was succeeded by his son Edward†.2
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Burke, Commoners, ii. 200; Berry, Hants Gens, 183; Add. 70252, Harley to Popham, 10 Feb. 1707–8, Popham to Harley, 6 Jan. 1712, 9 Jan. 1719–20, Letitia Popham to same, 27 Jan. 1719–20; HMC Portland, iv. 476.
- 2. Add. 70252, Popham to Harley, 11 Mar. 1709–10, 5, 6 Jan. 1712; 70145, Elizabeth to Abigail Harley, 27 Feb. 1711; 31143, f. 475; HMC Portland, iv. 461, 476; Wilts. Arch. Mag. lxiv. 107; P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, p. 149.