FANSHAWE, Henry II (1569-1616), of Ware Park, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

bap. 13 Aug. 1569, 1st s. of Thomas Fanshawe I by his 1st w. and half-bro. of Thomas II. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. 1581, BA 1584/5; I. Temple 1587. m. Elizabeth, 6th da. of Thomas Smythe of Westenhanger, Kent, 6s. 5da. suc. fa. 1601. Kntd. May 1603.

Offices Held

Auditor of north parts of duchy of Lancaster in reversion 1594, in office by 1596; remembrancer of the Exchequer 1601-16; j.p. Herts. by 1608.1

Member, Antiq. Soc.


Fanshawe’s family originated in Derbyshire, whence his father moved to Ware Park. The estates also comprised a house in Warwick Lane, London, land in Derbyshire, the manor of Burchull and other lands in Essex. Fanshawe must have owed his returns for Westbury to his father’s friend William Brouncker, who was married to a daughter of the chancellor of the Exchequer. Fanshawe’s only other Wiltshire connexion was a relationship with the Duckett family. In 1593 he was appointed to the subsidy committee (26 Feb.) and he may have served on a cloth committee (15 Mar.) to which the burgesses for Westbury were appointed. He no doubt secured election at Boroughbridge through his position as a duchy of Lancaster official. As remembrancer of the Exchequer, in succession to his father, Fanshawe is reported to have been described by Queen Elizabeth as ‘the best officer of accounts she had and a person of great integrity.’ His duties involved such work as drawing up trade and customs statistics and supervising debts owing to the Crown. Thus, in 1608, together with the archbishop of Canterbury and the Earl of Exeter, he was appointed trustee of lands belonging to the late Lord Chancellor Hatton which were under extent for a debt of £40,000. Fanshawe was himself related to Sir Christopher Hatton, cousin of the lord chancellor, who had married Anne Fanshawe, later to be immortalised in the Ingoldsby Legend of ‘Bleeding Heart Yard’. Before his death, Fanshawe arranged that the office of remembrancer should be held in trust for his son, who was not of age. He was one of the original subscribers to the Virginia Company and a member of its council in 1609. In 1614, after the dissolution of Parliament, he contributed £50 towards the benevolence to supply the King.2

Apart from his official emoluments, Fanshawe’s estates brought in £4,000 a year, enabling him to live in some style. His will mentions oil paintings, pictures, prints, drawings, wind and other musical instruments, medals, engraved stones and books. His landscaped garden contained a trout stream and excelled in ‘flower, physick-herbs and fruit, in which things he did greatly delight’. Sir Henry Wotton, the architect, wrote of it as ‘a delicate and diligent curiosity, surely without parallel among foreign nations’ and visitors included the Earl of Arundel and Inigo Jones. The King was supplied twice a week with fruit from the garden, and Fanshawe’s equestrian accomplishments endeared him to Prince Henry, who, according to Lady Fanshawe, had he lived to be King, would have made Fanshawe a secretary of state.3

Fanshawe died suddenly in March 1616. His will, made 13 Nov. 1613 and proved 23 Apr. 1616, recorded his expectation of a a ‘permanent’ and blessed life in heaven according to God’s promises ‘which He on His part cannot break’. There follows a lengthy declaration whereby he affirmed that in ‘all points of difference between the papists and the protestants’ he believed ‘as the Church of England believeth, not implicitly but particularly’. He declared that justification lay in faith alone, but that to make faith effectual it was necessary to do good works during the time of one’s ‘warfare in this world’. Only thus was it possible for God to crown ‘His own works and grace’. He rejected all prayers for him after death, declaring that ‘the triumphant Church and the saints in Heaven’ would be unable to hear them. He requested a simple burial, and paid tribute to his wife who had cared for his children with a love which could not ‘but be interrupted and hindered by a second husband’. He bequeathed £1,500 apiece to five daughters and set aside money so that the widow might buy the wardship of his son and heir Thomas. Personal gifts were made to John Chamberlain and Edward Cason. As executors he appointed the widow, Sir Richard Smith, his brother-in-law and his heir Thomas when he should come of age. According to Evelyn his medals were, after his death, ‘thrown about the house for children to play at counter with’.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: W.J.J.


  • 1. H. C. Fanshawe, Hist. Fanshawe Fam. 21-2, 73-4; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 194; Clutterbuck, Herts. iii. 294.
  • 2. PCC 35 Cope, 20 Woodhall; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 524; 1601-3, pp. 163-4, 235; 1611-18, pp. 12-13, 355, 357; D’Ewes, 474, 501; Somerville, Duchy, i. 438-9; Morant, Essex, i. 369; Chauncey, Herts. ii. passim; VCH Herts. iii. 388; HMC Hatfield, xvii. 100, 568; APC, 1615-16, p. 668; E. St. J. Brooks, Sir Christopher Hatton, 146; Nichols, Progresses Jas. I, iii. 7.
  • 3. Clutterbuck, iii. 296; PCC 35 Cope; Nichols, iii. 534; W. Notestein, Four Worthies, 59, 65.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 354; PCC 35 Cope; Fanshawe, 74.