FANSHAWE, Charles, 4th Visct. Fanshawe of Dromore [I] (1643-1710), of Suffolk Street, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



22 Jan. - 13 May 1689

Family and Education

b. 6 Feb. 1643, 5th but 3rd surv. s. of Sir Thomas Fanshawe I by 2nd w.; bro. of Henry Fanshawe and Thomas Fanshawe. educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1663; I. Temple 1664. unm. suc. nephew 10 Oct. 1687.1

Offices Held

Capt. of ft. Coldstream Gds. 1669-70, regt. of William Alington, 3rd Baron Alington 1678-9.

Commr. for revenue [I] 1670-6, excise appeals 1676-89; envoy extraordinary to Portugal 1681-5.2


Fanshawe began his career in 1667 by attending the peace negotiations at Breda. After two applications from the King on his behalf for a fellowship of his college, the master wrote to Joseph Williamson:

besides the unfitness of the person, the consequence of his coming in will so disturb the happiness and comfort of all our lives, that, if you will endeavour to satisfy Lord Arlington and take him off from urging Mr Fanshawe upon us, I shall feel bound to serve you while I live.

It was probably he of whom Samuel Pepys wrote at this time as ‘a witty but rascally fellow, without a penny in his purse, that was asking ... what places there were in the Navy for him’. Rejected both by Cambridge and the Admiralty, he was commissioned in the guards, and given a seat on the Irish revenue board. When the Irish revenue farm was terminated, he was compensated with a pension of £250 p.a. on the Irish establishment, and appointed to a sinecure office in England. In 1678 he served in Flanders in the regiment of his kinsman, Lord Alington.3

Fanshawe was sent on a diplomatic mission to Portugal in 1681, but failed to obtain a renewal of the treaty of commerce with that country. Returned for Mitchell, where he was a stranger, in 1689, he was named to no committees in the Convention, but urged delay on the motion to declare the throne vacant. He insisted that James’s flight was not voluntary, and was one of the three Members who voted against the declaration. On 30 Jan. he argued that the clergy who prayed for King James should not be censured by the House as they were ‘subject to another jurisdiction’. According to Ailesbury’s list he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, and on 13 May he was discharged from sitting for refusing to take the oaths to the new regime. In May 1692 he was arrested for high treason and was sent to the Tower. After his release in the summer he purchased an estate at Little Bedwyn in Wiltshire. He died on 28 Mar. 1710 at his house in Suffolk Street, and was buried at Ware. The next member of the family to sit was Simon Fanshawe, who was brought in on the government interest for Old Sarum in 1751 and for Grampound in 1754.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, vi. 149.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1668-9, p. 653; 1671, p. 211; 1679-80, p. 437; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 402, 553; Luttrell, i. 534.
  • 3. H. C. Fanshawe, Fanshawe Fam. 122-3; CSP Dom. 1667, pp. 220, 230; 1668-9, p. 318; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 176-7, 197; Pepys Diary, 23 Feb. 1668.
  • 4. Fanshawe, 122-3; Luttrell, i. 532, 564; ii. 443; Hardwick SP, i. 411; information from Mrs L. Schwoerer; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 444; Grey, ix. 37, 244; HMC Portland, iii. 424; Hatton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxiii), 177.