VANE, Christopher (1653-1723), of Raby Castle, co. Dur.

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



25 Oct. 1675
1 Mar. - 18 Nov. 1690

Family and Education

b. 21 May 1653, 7th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Henry Vane of Fairlawn, Shipbourne, Kent by Frances, da. of Sir Christopher Wray of Ashby, Lincs.; bro. of Thomas Vane. educ.I. Temple 1671. m. lic. 9 May 1676, Lady Elizabeth Holles (d. 9 Nov. 1725), da. of Gilbert Holles, 3rd Earl of Clare, and coh. to her bro. John Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. bro. 1675; cr. Baron Barnard of Barnard Castle 25 July 1698.1

Offices Held

Commr. for recusants, co. Dur. 1675, j.p. co. Dur. 1675-80, by 1701-d., Kent Feb. 1688-d., freeman, Durham 1675, Hartlepool 1676; commr. for assessment, co. Dur., Kent and Westminster 1677-80, Westminster 1689, co. Dur. and Kent 1689-90; ranger, Teesdale forest 1689-d.; dep. lt. Kent Feb. 1688-bef. 1701, co. Dur. by 1701-d.2

PC 6 July-Dec. 1688.3


On his brother’s death four days after his election for the county Vane was returned unopposed with the support of Bishop Crew and most of the gentry. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament he was appointed to seven committees, including that to continue the Border Act, but made no recorded speeches. In 1676 Sir Richard Wiseman wrote:

I can never believe he will be cordially true to the crown. He [is] cunning enough to appear for it when he cannot turn the scales, as many others of the same party; [but] if the crown ever wants their assistance they will never give it.

In the same year he was restored to the Kentish estates forfeited on his father’s attainder; but Shaftesbury marked him ‘thrice worthy’ in 1677. Vane acted as teller five times in 1678. On 27 Mar. he was against adjourning the debate for a conference with the Lords on the danger from the growth of Popery, and was named to the committee to draw up heads for a conference. On 7 May he was teller for presenting an address to remove the Duke of Lauderdale from the King’s councils. In the last session he was against an adjournment during the conference on the bill for disarming Papists (26 Nov.), and for continuing the debate on the articles of impeachment against Danby.4

Vane, a member of the Green Ribbon Club, was again marked ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury in 1679, but was unsuccessful in the three Exclusion elections. In his petition to the first Exclusion Parliament he alleged that the sheriff of Durham had released ‘a great number of popish recusants’ in order to secure the return of the successful candidates, but no report was made before dissolution. Vane stood again, somewhat reluctantly, in August, and was soon afterwards removed from the commission of the peace. After another electoral defeat in 1681 he went abroad.5

A Whig collaborator in 1688, Vane was appointed j.p. and deputy lieutenant in Kent, though he was refused the rangership of Teesdale forest, which had been forfeited by his father and since granted to William Bowes. Sworn a Privy Councillor in July, to the horror of the 2nd Lord Clarendon (Henry Hyde), and nominated one of the Queen’s advisers in the event of James II’s death, Vane was alleged to ‘have been consulted in the modelling of the justices of the counties and for the next Parliament’. Nevertheless he assisted Danby at York in the Revolution and was returned to the Convention for Boroughbridge. He was named only to the committees to consider an address sent down from the Lords and to inquire into the weavers’ tumult. Re-elected in 1690, he was unseated on petition by Sir Brian Stapylton, and bought a peerage in 1698. He died on 28 Oct. 1723, and was buried at Shipbourne. His sons both sat for Durham as Whigs.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Gillian Hampson / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. C. Dalton, Wrays of Glentworth, ii. 126; Collins, Peerage, iv. 522.
  • 2. Surtees, Dur. iv. pt. 2, p. 22; C. Sharp, Hist. Hartlepool, 73; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 102-3.
  • 3. PC2/72/697.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1675-6, pp. 184, 288, 362; D. Lacey, Dissent and Parl. Pols. 216, 354; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 211.
  • 5. HMC Astley, 41; CJ, ix. 57; HMC 13th Rep. VI, 20; C. Sharp, Parl. Rep. Dur. (1831), 15-17; CSP Dom. 1682, p. 624.
  • 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1730; ix. 102-3; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 20; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 311; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 180; Clarke, Jas. II, ii. 646; HMC 7th Rep. 420; Browning, Danby, ii. 144; T. Lawson-Tancred, Recs. of a Yorks. Manor, 213; HMC Astley, 92-93; Dalton, ii. 136.