FURNESE, Sir Robert, 2nd Bt. (1687-1733), of Waldershare, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Aug. 1687, o.s. of Sir Henry Furnese, 1st Bt., M.P., by his 1st w. Anne, da. of Robert Brough of St. Lawrence Jewry, London, linen draper. educ. Eton c.1697. m. (1) c.1708, Anne (d. 29 May 1713), da. of Anthony Balam by his stepmother Matilda, da. of Sir Thomas Vernon of London, merchant, 1da.; (2) 8 July 1714, Lady Arabella Watson (d. 5 Sept. 1727), da. of Lewis Watson, M.P., 1st Earl of Rockingham, sis. of Edward, Visct. Sondes, 1s. 1da.; (3) 15 May 1729, Lady Anne Shirley, da. of Robert, 1st Earl Ferrers, 2da. suc. fa. 30 Nov. 1712.
The Furneses were descended from a Cromwellian sergeant of dragoons who settled at Sandwich as a tallow-chandler.1 One son, Henry, moved to London; became prominent as a Flanders and East India merchant; remitted money to William III and Marlborough’s forces in Flanders; and retired with a baronetcy to Waldershare, near Sandwich, for which he sat. His son, Robert, thought it ‘right to get a little quality to so much riches’,2 two of his three wives being the daughters of earls, while his daughters found noble husbands. Re-elected as a Whig on his own interest at New Romney in 1715, he voted for the septennial bill, but followed Walpole into opposition in 1717, voting against the Government on Lord Cadogan in June 1717 and on the peerage bill in 1719.
In 1727 Furnese stood with government support for the county,3 as well as for New Romney,
as active as a fat man can be. He sits at home most part of the day surveying the field of battle, and reviewing his forces as they are drawn out on paper and gives his directions to his agents and attendants who are writing for his success and assure his Honour of success.4
Returned for the county, and, on petition, for New Romney, he chose to sit for Kent. From 1729 he voted against the Government. He ‘went off delirious, roaring against the excise’,5 on 7 Mar. 1733, not having been ‘sober for ten days before he was taken ill.’6