HERNE, Francis (c.1702-76), of Luton Hoo, Beds. and Harrow-on-the-Hill, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1702, s. of Francis Herne, Spanish merchant, by his w. a Miss or Mrs. Flatman. educ. Harrow 1714-20; Caius, Camb. 1720. suc. to Luton Hoo estates of his kinswoman Miss Frances Napier 1751.
Sheriff, Beds. 1753-4.
Herne was returned in 1754 on a compromise with the Duke of Bedford and with the support of the corporation at a cost of ‘about £460’.1 Dupplin in 1754 classed him as Tory; Bute in December 1761 as ‘Bedford, Tory’; Rockingham in November 1766 and Townshend in January 1767 as ‘Bedford’. He does not, however, appear to have acted in Parliament with the Bedfords, nor was he ever claimed by them as one of their party. His name is not included in Henry Fox’s list of Members in favour of the peace preliminaries. In the autumn of 1763 Jenkinson marked him as ‘doubtful’; he is not in any minority list on Wilkes; and on 16 Feb. 1764, during the debates on general warrants, Edward Kynaston, writing to Jenkinson, included Herne among ‘such gentlemen, that perhaps a line from you or Mr. Grenville may engage their attendance tomorrow’, though he was one of those who ‘very seldom stay out a long day’.2 His one recorded vote was with Opposition on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767.
In 1763 Herne sold Luton Hoo to Lord Bute, and in 1768 did not stand for Bedford. The circumstances of his election for Camelford in 1774 have not been ascertained. He was presumably nominated by Administration, though it is not clear why they should have chosen one apparently independent of them. There is no record of his having spoken in the House. He died 26 Sept. 1776.