FANSHAWE, Thomas I (c.1533-1601), of Fanshawe Gate, Derbys., Ware Park, Herts. and Warwick Lane, London.

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

b. c.1533, 1st s. of John Fanshawe of Fanshawe Gate by Mary Rowland of Harrop. educ. Jesus, Camb. m. (1) c.1568, Mary (d.1578), da. of Anthony Bourchier, 1s. Henry Fanshawe II (2) 1578, Joan (d.1622), da. of Thomas (‘Customer’) Smythe I of Westenhanger, Kent, 2s. inc. Thomas II 3da. suc. fa. 1579.2

Offices Held

Clerk in the Exchequer bef 1568, Queen’s remembrancer from 1568.

J.p. Essex from c.1569, Herts. from c.1577.

Steward of Essex manors to Thomas, 4th Duke of Norfolk.3


Fanshawe evidently began his career as a clerk under his uncle Henry Fanshawe I in the office of Queen’s remembrancer of the Exchequer, an appointment held successively by five members of the family. He himself was granted it in reversion in July 1568, and succeeded to it in the following October, and it was as remembrancer that he gained admission to the Middle Temple in 1571. On succeeding his father he leased Fanshawe Gate to his brother, having acquired considerable estates in Essex and Hertfordshire, and a lease of over 50 acres in St. John’s Wood. He was granted the manor of Jenkins, near Barking, Essex, and in 1576 bought Ware Park, Hertfordshire, from the dowager Countess of Huntingdon. Henceforth this was his chief residence when not at his house in Warwick Lane, London. As a Hertfordshire justice Fanshawe was frequently asked to investigate complaints and settle disputes, and in 1586 he was one of those made responsible for escorting Mary Queen of Scots to Hertford, where, however, she was not finally sent.4

He was a firm protestant, believing that God’s purpose was revealed ‘for the comfort of His elect, by the most holy scriptures, the only way and mean to know His good will and pleasure by’. He served on the ecclesiastical commission for many years, and in 1593 was on the commission against Jesuits. In 1586 he was a member of a Commons committee considering Sir John Heigham’s motion concerning ministers.5

As remembrancer, Fanshawe had the means to secure his return to Parliament, either at his own request or through the influence of those with whom his office connected him. At Rye the lord warden of the Cinque Ports was his patron, while he must have been elected at Arundel through the influence of the 12th and 13th earls of Arundel. His seat at Much Wenlock he appears to have obtained for himself. Hearing of the vacancy caused by the death of the sitting Member, he wrote to the borough, which thereupon returned him at a by-election. The greater part of Fanshawe’s parliamentary committee work was concerned with legal affairs. In 1572 he served on a committee concerning tellers and receivers (14 May); in 1576 he served on committees concerning land (18 Feb.) and sheriffs (23 Feb.), and in 1581 his committee work comprised bills concerning the clerk of the market (27 Jan.), cloth (4 Feb.) and sheriffs (4 Feb.). His only recorded speech in Parliament was made during the course of the 1584 Parliament, on a bill to reduce officers’ fees in certain courts and to increase the wages of judges. When the committee was being named to consider it, an objection was made to Fanshawe’s inclusion, as he was one of the officials who would lose by it. He replied to the objection:

I come hither as a commonwealth man and not as an officer. If any man envy my gains I would he had it. I see not why I may not be a committee that am a clerk to lose by it, as Mr. Recorder to be one who is shortly to be a judge and to gain by it.

His committee work in 1584 included two legal bills (1, 12 Dec.), and a conference with the Lords to discuss the progress of the fraudulent conveyances bill (15 Feb. 1585). On 18 Feb. he was one of those appointed to draw up a new bill on the subject of fraudulent conveyances. In 1587 he served on committees concerning religion (8 Mar.) and statutes (17 Mar.); and in 1589 he served on the subsidy committee (11 Feb.) and a private committee (18 Mar.). In the 1593 Parliament Fanshawe served on committees concerning the subsidy (26 Feb.), recusancy (28 Feb.) and fuel (26 Mar.).6

Fanshawe died at his London house in February 1601 after some years of poor health. He was buried as he wished at Ware. In his will, dated 10 July 1596 and proved 27 Mar. 1601, he desired his funeral to be without pomp. His children, household clerks, servants and three score poor from the parishes of Bengeo and Ware ‘and no more’ were to go to the churchyard in the mourning gowns provided. A monument was to be raised to him, mentioning his wives and children, and an inventory to be made of his goods. He provided for the disposal of his considerable landed and other wealth, asking for any disputes to be referred to the Exchequer. Most of his lands were bequeathed to his widow and to his first son Henry, who also succeeded him as remembrancer of the Exchequer. His second son Thomas succeeded to Jenkins and his land at Barking. Small bequests included £10 each to the poor of Christ Church within Newgate, Barking and Ware.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.H.


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. DNB; H. C. Fanshawe, Hist. Fanshawe Fam. 20-5.
  • 3. CPR, 1566-9, pp. 319, 407; Egerton 2345; Lansd. 121, f. 68; N. J. Williams, Duke of Norfolk, 106; SP13/F/11; SP12/121.
  • 4. Fanshawe 23-4; APC, xx. 218, 312; xxvi. 448; xxx. 361; Lansd. 25, f. 24; 32, f. 91; 49, f. 171; 53, f. 168; 60, f. 90; 146, f. 43.
  • 5. PCC 20 Woodhall; D’Ewes, 443.
  • 6. CJ, i. 95, 106, 108, 120, 122; Lansd. 43, anon. jnl. 170; D’Ewes, 206, 334, 338, 349, 353, 413, 416, 431, 447, 474, 477, 510.
  • 7. Fanshawe 24, 25; PCC 20 Woodhall.