Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland

Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland (1 February 1580 – 23 March 1629), KB (styled Sir Francis Fane between 1603 and 1624[1]) of Mereworth in Kent and of Apethorpe in Northamptonshire was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1601 and 1624 and then was raised to the Peerage as Earl of Westmorland.

The Earl of Westmorland
Francis Fane, first Earl of Westmorland, portrait by Cornelius Johnson (1593-1661)
Member of Parliament for Kent
In office
Serving with Sir Henry Nevill
MonarchElizabeth I
Preceded bySir Robert Sidney
Percival Hart
Succeeded bySir John Scott
John Leveson
Member of Parliament for Maidstone
In office
Serving with Laurence Washington
MonarchJames I
Preceded bySir Thomas Fludd
Succeeded byHimself
Sir John Scott
In office
Serving with Sir John Scott
MonarchJames I
Preceded byHimself
Sir Thomas Fludd
Succeeded byHimself
Sir Francis Barnham
In office
Serving with Sir Francis Barnham
MonarchJames I
Preceded byHimself
Sir John Scott
Succeeded bySir George Fane
Thomas Stanley
Member of Parliament for Peterborough
In office
Serving with Laurence Whitaker
MonarchJames I
Preceded byMildmay Fane
Walter Fitzwilliam
Succeeded bySir Christopher Hatton
Laurence Whitaker
Personal details
Francis Fane

February 1579
Died23 March 1629(1629-03-23) (aged 50)
Resting placeApethorpe Church, Apethorpe, Northamptonshire, England
52°32′50″N 0°29′32″E / 52.5472°N 0.4922°E / 52.5472; 0.4922Coordinates: 52°32′50″N 0°29′32″E / 52.5472°N 0.4922°E / 52.5472; 0.4922
Spouse(s)Mary Mildmay (1599-1628)
ChildrenMildmay Fane, 2nd Earl of Westmorland
Sir Francis Fane
George Fane
Rachel Fane
Parent(s)Sir Thomas Fane
Mary Neville, 3rd Baroness le Despencer
Residence(s)Apethorpe Palace, Apethorpe, Northamptonshire, England


He was the eldest surviving son and heir of Sir Thomas Fane (died 1589) of Badsell in the parish of Tudeley in Kent, by his second wife Mary Neville, suo jure Baroness le Despenser (c. 1554–1626), heiress of Mereworth in Kent,[5] sole daughter and heiress of Henry Nevill, 6th Baron Bergavenny (died 1587) (a descendant of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland (c.1364-1425)[6]) by his wife Lady Frances Manners,[7] 3rd daughter of Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland.

The earliest proven recorded ancestor of the Fane family of Kent is "Henry a Vane" (d.1456/7) of Tonbridge, Kent, thrice-great-grandfather of Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland. According to The Complete Peerage "the long line of Welsh descent, as given in the Heraldic Visitation of Kent 1574, is spurious".[8] His younger brother was George Fane of Burston.


Francis Fane, in coronation robes as worn 2 February 1625 or 26.

Fane was educated at Maidstone Grammar School in Kent and in about 1595 matriculated at Queens' College, Cambridge.[9] He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn on 19 November 1597, for training as a lawyer.

In 1601, with the support of his near neighbour Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham, lord of the Manor of Cobham, Kent, Fane was returned as a Member of Parliament for Kent. He was created a Knight of the Bath at the Coronation of King James I on 25 July 1603.[10] After Cobham's disgrace Fane was elected as a Member of Parliament for Maidstone in 1604. He was re-elected MP for Maidstone in 1614 and in 1621. In 1624 he was elected MP for Peterborough,[7] Northamptonshire, near his wife's home at Apethorpe. On 29 December 1624, he was created Baron Burghersh "in the County of Sussex", and Earl of Westmorland (1008th on the roll). On his mother's death on 28 June 1626 he succeeded her as 4th Baron le Despenser, and as de jure 8th and 6th Baron Bergavenny.

Marriage and childrenEdit

Fane's wife, Mary Mildmay, Countess of Westmorland.

On 15 February 1598/99 Fane married Mary Mildmay (died 9 April 1640), daughter and eventual sole heiress of Sir Anthony Mildmay (d. 1617), of Apethorpe Hall near the City of Peterborough in Northamptonshire, British Ambassador to France, by his wife Grace Sherington (1552–1620) a daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Sherington (alias Sharington) (c. 1518–1581) of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. By Mary Mildmay he had seven sons (six of whom survived him) and six daughters:[11]


  1. Mildmay Fane, 2nd Earl of Westmorland (24 January 1602 – 12 February 1666), a poet and Member of Parliament.
  2. Thomas Fane, died in infancy
  3. Sir Francis Fane (c. 1611–1681?) of Fulbeck, third but second surviving son. He was a Royalist governor of Doncaster, and afterwards of Lincoln Castle. He was the great-grandfather of Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland.
  4. Anthony Fane (1613–1643), a colonel in the Parliamentary army, who suffered a shot wound to the cheek at the siege of Farnham Castle on 9 December 1642 and died at his home in Kingston upon Thames early the following year.[12] He married Amabel Benn who after his death married Henry Grey, 10th Earl of Kent.
  5. Col. George Fane (c. 1616 – April 1663), fifth but fourth surviving son. A Royalist officer and later Member of Parliament.
  6. William Fane
  7. Robert Fane


Death and burialEdit

Westmorland was buried at Apethorpe on 17 April 1629. A monumental inscription survives in Mereworth Church near Badsell. He was survived by his wife Mary Mildmay, who died at Stevenage and was buried at Apethorpe, and many children.


  1. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, Vol. III (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. p. 4134.
  2. ^ Cokayne et al. 2000, Vol. II, p. 34
  3. ^ Cokayne et al. 2000, Vol. V, p. 635
  4. ^ Cokayne et al. 2000, Vol. II, p. 19
  5. ^ Edward Hasted, 'Parishes: Mereworth', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5 (Canterbury, 1798), pp. 70-90 [1]
  6. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Westmorland, Earls of" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 553.
  7. ^ a b History of Parliament Online - Francis Fane
  8. ^ Cokayne, G. E., Geoffrey H. White, ed. (1959). The Complete Peerage, or a history of the House of Lords and all its members from the earliest times, volume XII part 2: Tracton to Zouche. 12.2 (2nd ed.). London: The St. Catherine Press, p.565, note (f)
  9. ^ "Fane, Francis (FN595F)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  10. ^ "Fane, Thomas" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  11. ^ Collins & Brydges 1812, pp. 294,295
  12. ^ Brayley, Edward Wedlake (1844). The History of Surrey. Vol. 3, Part 1. R.B. Ede. p. 34.


  • Cokayne, George Edward; Gibbs, Vicary; Doubleday, Herbert Arthur; White, Geoffrey Henllan; Walden, Thomas Scott-Ellis, Lord Howard de (2000) [1910]. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed. Gloucester: Alan Sutton Publishing.
  • Collins, Arthur; Brydges, Egerton (1812). Collins's Peerage of England; Genealogical, Biographical, and Historical. Vol. 3. London: F. C. and J. Rivington, Otridge and son.
  • Gunnis, Rupert (1957). Eridge Castle and the Family of Nevill. Stanford Print.
  • Hasler, P. W., ed. (1981). The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603. HMSO. ISBN 978-0118875011.
  • Mercer, Malcolm. "Fane, Sir Thomas (d. 1589)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 22 December 2006.
  • Salis, de, R. W. (2003). Quadrennial di Fano Saliceorum. London.

Some ancestorsEdit

Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland's ancestors in three generations
Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland Father:
Sir Thomas Fane
Paternal Grandfather:
George Fane, Esq.
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Richard Fane, Esq.
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Agnes Stidolph
Paternal Grandmother:
Joan Waller
Paternal Great-grandfather:
William Waller of Groombridge
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Anne Fallemar or Elizabeth Hendley (?).
Mary Nevill, Baroness le Despencer
Maternal Grandfather:
Henry Nevill, 6th Baron Bergavenny
Maternal Great-grandfather:
George Nevill, 5th Baron Bergavenny
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Mary Stafford
Maternal Grandmother:
Frances Anne Manners
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Eleanor Paston
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Robert Sidney
Percival Hart
Member of Parliament for Kent
With: Sir Henry Nevill
Succeeded by
Sir John Scott
Sir John Leveson
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Fludd
Sir John Leveson
Member of Parliament for Maidstone
With: Lawrence Washington 1604–1611
Sir John Scott 1614
Sir Francis Barnham 1621–1622
Succeeded by
Sir George Fane
Thomas Stanley
Preceded by
Mildmay Fane
Walter FitzWilliam
Member of Parliament for Peterborough
With: Laurence Whitaker
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Westmorland,
Baron Burghersh

Succeeded by
Preceded by Baron le Despencer