FANSHAWE, Thomas II (1596-1665), of Ware Park, Herts. and Warwick Lane, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



17 May 1624
1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.) - 7 Sept. 1642
1644 (Oxf. Parl.)
1661 - 26 Mar. 1665

Family and Education

b. 16 Nov. 1596,2 1st s. of (Sir) Henry Fanshawe† of Ware Park, remembrancer in Exch. 1601-16, and Elizabeth, da. of Sir Thomas Smythe*, of Philpott Lane, London, and Bidborough, Kent; bro. of Sir Richard†. educ. travelled abroad (France) 1618.3 m. (1) 23 Sept. 1627, Anne (bur. 19 July 1628), da. of Sir Giles Alington of Horseheath, Cambs. 1da.; (2) 24 June 1629 (with £10,000), Elizabeth (bur. 27 Feb. 1668), da. of Sir William Cokayne, of Broad Street, London and Rushton, Northants. ld. mayor 1619-20, 9s. (5 d.v.p.) 7da. (3 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1616; cr. KB 1626; Visct. Fanshawe of Dromore [I] 5 Sept. 1661.4 d. 26 Mar. 1665.5 sig. Tho[mas] Fanshaw(e).

Offices Held

J.p. Herts. 1618-42,6 Herts. and St. Albans liberty 1660-d.;7 commr. highways, Herts. 1622, sewers, Lea valley 1623,8 oyer and terminer, Home circ. 1635-42, 1660-d.,9 assessment, Herts. 1641-2, 1660-d.,10 array 1642,11 dep. lt., 1660-d.;12 commr. militia, Essex 1660,13 loyal and indigent officers, Herts. 1662.14

King’s remembrancer in Exch. 1619-41, 1660-d.15


The Fanshawe family, of Derbyshire origin, first entered the Exchequer under Henry VIII, and held the senior remembrancer’s office through several generations from 1565 onwards. Fanshawe’s grandfather, who sat in seven Elizabethan parliaments, bought Ware Park, ‘one of the best seats in England within 21 miles of London’, in 1576.16 His father died suddenly in 1616 of an apoplectic seizure when Fanshawe was too young to succeed to his lucrative office, but Sir Ralph Winwood* arranged that it should be held for his benefit by his uncle Sir Christopher Hatton* and Sir Arthur Herrys*.17 His mother, with equal competence, bought his wardship for £800, ‘which, the long days of payment and all other things considered’, observed Chamberlain, was ‘no bad bargain’ on an estate worth £3,800 p.a. in Hertfordshire, Essex and London.18 She was in no haste to marry him off, sending him overseas in March 1618; but, like his neighbour the 2nd earl of Salisbury (William Cecil*), he was soon weary of the Continent, and returned after only six months, ‘much of a gentleman in his mien and language’.19 On Hatton’s death in the following year he was sworn in as king’s remembrancer.20 Some years later his brother’s wife described him as ‘a very worthy, valiant, honest, good-natured gentleman, charitable and generous, and had excellent natural parts, yet choleric and rash’.21 He was summoned by the Privy Council before capitulating to the Palatinate Benevolence in 1622.22

In 1624, in anticipation of the restoration of representation for Hertford, only two miles from Ware Park, ‘divers of the town’ desired Salisbury ‘to give my best furtherance for Mr. Fanshawe, one whom I very well respect’.23 He was elected after a contest, and shared the representation of the borough with Salisbury’s financial agent, William Ashton, for the few remaining days of the last Jacobean Parliament, but left no trace on its records. Before the next election Salisbury undertook not to recommend anyone who might challenge the seat, which Fanshawe won unopposed. His only committee in the first Parliament of the new reign was for the bill to restrict the assignment of debts in the Exchequer (23 June); as an officer of the Exchequer he may also have attended the committee of a bill against secret offices (24 June).24 His uncles (Sir) Thomas Fanshawe I* and William Fanshawe*, both closely connected to the duchy of Lancaster, arranged an entry for him at Preston in 1626, leaving the Hertford seat available to Fanshawe’s brother-in-law, Sir Capell Bedell. Although Fanshawe attended the coronation, at which he received the order of the Bath, he played no known part in the Parliament, although he may have been added to the committee for the revived Exchequer debts bill on 14 March. However, this may have been his uncle, for both men had served on the committee for this bill in the last Parliament.25 Following the dissolution of the 1626 Parliament, Fanshawe contributed to the Privy Seal Loan with his fellow Hertfordshire justices Sir Richard Lucy† and Sir Egremont Thynne, but was unable to generate any real enthusiasm; even his mother’s response was less than adequate.26 Bedell transferred to Huntingdonshire in 1628, and Fanshawe regained the Hertford seat after a contest with a puritan townsman named Gabriel Barbor.27 In the third Caroline Parliament, as in 1626, he cannot be distinguished from his uncle (Sir) Thomas Fanshawe I, but was probably inactive.

Fanshawe’s second wife brought him a handsome portion. ‘He had his house in the country and in London as well furnished with plate and other things as any person of his quality’. He probably opposed Arminianism, selecting Bishop Morton, the strongest Calvinist on the episcopal bench, to consecrate his private chapel at Ware Park, in preference to the diocesan bishop, Laud.28 In 1631 Lady Fanshawe was allowed to substitute the name of her younger son Simon for Herrys as reversioner to the Exchequer office, but it was Fanshawe’s brother Richard who succeeded when Fanshawe was forced to resign following allegations of nepotism in 1641.29 When the Civil War broke out, Fanshawe, unlike Salisbury, had no doubt where his loyalties lay. He joined the king’s army before Edgehill, and was expelled from the Long Parliament. With debts of £14,000, he was allowed to compound for his delinquency with a fine of only £1,310.30 He recovered the remembrancer’s office at the Restoration, represented Hertfordshire in the Cavalier Parliament, and received an Irish peerage in 1661.

Known for his ominously ‘sanguine complexion’ and choleric temper, Fanshawe died suddenly of an apoplexy, like his father before him, on Easter Sunday [26 Mar.] 1665, at Hatton Garden, Holborn, leaving no will.31 He was buried at Ware. His eldest son Thomas, who was elected for Hertford in 1661, succeeded to the title, office, and estate, but was compelled to sell Ware Park three years later to Sir Thomas Byde†.32 Two portraits of Fanshawe by unknown artists are now preserved at Valence House Museum in Dagenham, Essex, and a third was reproduced in Lady Fanshawe’s Memoirs (1907).33

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Historical Collections ed. J Rushworth, v. 573.
  • 2. WARD 7/54/122.
  • 3. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 149, 171.
  • 4. Vis. Eng. and Wales, Notes ed. F.A. Crisp, vi. 157-61; Fanshawe Mems. ed. H.C. Fanshawe (1907), ped. pt. 2; CP, v. 255.
  • 5. Crisp, vi. 157.
  • 6. C231/4, f. 76; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 9; HMC 10th Rep. IV, iv. 503.
  • 7. C220/9/4, f. 37; 193/12/3, f. 45.
  • 8. C181/3, ff. 69, 91.
  • 9. C181/5, ff. 8v, 163, 174, 193, 204, 222; 181/7, pp. 7, 186, 270, 358.
  • 10. SR, v. 151, 213, 332, 460, 532.
  • 11. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 12. SP29/11/163; 29/42, f. 117v.
  • 13. A. and O. ii. 1431.
  • 14. SR, v. 382.
  • 15. Exchequer Officeholders comp. J.C. Sainty (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xviii), 46.
  • 16. VCH Herts. iii. 387-8; Eg. 3328, f. 105.
  • 17. Chamberlain Letters, i. 615.
  • 18. Ibid. ii. 2-3; Eg. 3328, f. 105.
  • 19. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 171; Fanshawe Mems. 11.
  • 20. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 78; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 264.
  • 21. Fanshawe Mems. 11.
  • 22. SP14/127/82.
  • 23. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 205.
  • 24. Procs. 1625, pp. 229, 238.
  • 25. CJ, i. 836b.
  • 26. SP16/36/41.
  • 27. HALS, Hertford bor. recs. 23/13, 17.
  • 28. Fanshawe Mems. 294.
  • 29. Bodl. Bankes ms 5/2, f. 139 (no. 64); G. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 124, 129; Exchequer Officeholders, 47.
  • 30. H.C. Fanshawe, Hist. Fanshawe Fam. 110-17.
  • 31. Fanshawe Mems. 293, 301.
  • 32. Eg. 3328, f. 105; M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 172; CCC, 1864; VCH Herts. iii. 388.
  • 33. Fanshawe Fam. Portraits comp. J. Howson, 11 and plates; Fanshawe Mems. 174.