FANSHAWE, Simon (1716-77), of Fanshawe Gate, Derbys. and Dengie Hall, nr. Southminster, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



22 Nov. 1751 - 1754
1754 - 1768

Family and Education

b. 4 Mar. 1716, 1st s. of Thomas Edward Fanshawe of Great Singleton, Lancs. by Elizabeth, da. of William Snelling of Bromley St. Leonards, by Bow, Mdx. m. 10 Oct. 1753, his cos. Althea, da. of his mat. uncle William Snelling of Holborn 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 1726.

Offices Held

Comptroller of the household to the Prince of Wales 1756-60; comptroller of the Board of Green Cloth 1761-7.


Fanshawe, one of Lord Lincoln’s friends, was returned by Government for Old Sarum. Promised an easy election in 1754, he was nominated by the Treasury for Grampound, paying £1,000 towards the cost of his election. Before the formation of the Prince of Wales’s household Lord Waldegrave wrote about him to the Duke of Newcastle, 27 Feb. 1756:1

I shall certainly not think of recommending him as a groom of the bedchamber, and he exceeds the weight of an equerry by at least ten stone.
But he is a very proper person to keep his Royal Highness’s cooks under good discipline, to speak with authority to purveyors, wine merchants, cellar men etc., and consequently well qualified to be a clerk of the Green Cloth ...
... I can recommend him as a gentleman who may be depended on, whose conduct in Parliament has ever been clear and uniform, of whom Mr. Pelham had a thorough good opinion, and who I know both in his private and political capacity, to be an honest man and a man of honour.

In 1761 Edward Eliot, now patron of Grampound, demanded £2,000 for returning Fanshawe, who wrote to Newcastle on 16 Jan. 1761: ‘I did not believe you designed I should be at such an expense.’2 But no money was available from the Treasury, and presumably Fanshawe had to pay the £2,000. He was appointed comptroller of the Board of Green Cloth in November.

In Bute’s list of 1761 he was described as ‘Government, Newcastle’, and Newcastle wrote 27 Oct. 1762: ‘I have all the reason in the world, from the strongest assurances which he has often given me, to depend upon my good friend Simon Fanshawe.’3 Yet Newcastle was uneasy about him; in fact Fanshawe’s name appears in Fox’s list of Members secured for the peace preliminaries, and he remained a constant Government follower; Sandwich described him to Grenville, 12 Mar. 1764, as a ‘good politician’ with ‘great merit’.4 His only known Opposition vote was on the repeal of the Stamp Act, 22 Feb. 1766. There is no record of his having spoken in Parliament.

In December 1767 Fanshawe was removed from the Board of Green Cloth (Sir William Musgrave supposed, because he could not bring himself into Parliament) and George Selwyn wrote to Lord Carlisle: ‘this greasy cook dismissed with a sop, but of what sort I know not’.5 He received a secret service pension of £800.6 When Fanshawe did not stand at the general election of 1768, George Selwyn commented: ‘so there is so much money saved to him, and his pension consequently in greater security’.7

Fanshawe died 1 Jan. 1777.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Add. 32863, ff. 85-86.
  • 2. Add. 32917, f. 359.
  • 3. Add. 32944, f. 106.
  • 4. Grenville mss (JM).
  • 5. HMC Carlisle, 223, 224.
  • 6. Fortescue, v. 467.
  • 7. HMC Carlisle, 227.