Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland

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Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his wife Mary Mildmay

Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland, KB (1 February 1580 – 23 March 1629) 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.


Armorial of Fane, Earls of Westmorland: Azure, three dexter gauntlets back affrontée or [1]

Francis Fane was the eldest surviving son and heir of Sir Thomas Fane (d.1589) of Badsell in Kent, by his second wife Mary Neville (c. 1554-1626), sole daughter and heiress of Henry Nevill, 6th Baron Bergavenny (d.1587) (de jure 4th Baron Bergavenny) by his wife Lady Frances Manners.[2] Fane was the senior representative of the Fane family of Mereworth, near Maidstone, Kent, and then of Apethorpe in Northamptonshire. His younger brother was George Fane of Burston.


Fane was educated at Maidstone Grammar School and in about 1595 matriculated at Queens' College, Cambridge.[3] He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn on 19 November 1597.

In 1601, with the support of Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham, 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.[4] After Cobham's disgrace Fane was elected MP for Maidstone in 1604. He was re-elected MP for Maidstone in 1614 and in 1621. In 1624 he was elected MP for Peterborough.[2] 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 8th Baron le Despenser, and as de jure 8th and 6th Baron Bergavenny.

Marriage & progeny[edit]

Apethorpe Hall in 1829
Seal of Mary, Dowager Countess of Westmorland displaying arms of Fane impaling Mildmay, within a widow's lozenge-shaped escutcheon.[5]

On 15 February 1598/99 Fane married Mary Mildmay (d. 9 April 1640), daughter and eventual sole heiress of Sir Anthony Mildmay (d. 1617), of Apethorpe Hall, Northamptonshire, British Ambassador to France, by his wife Grace Sherington (1552–1620) daughter and co-heir of Sir Henry Sherington (alias Sharington) (c. 1518-1581) of Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire.[6][7] Westmorland had by Mary Mildmay seven sons (six of whom survived him) and six daughters:[8]


  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), an officer in the Parliamentary army, killed at taking of Farnham Castle.
  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


Portrait of Lady Rachael Fane, later Countess of Bath, later Countess of Middlesex, who signed herself: R:B:M.
  • Grace Fane
  • Mary Fane
  • Elizabeth Fane
  • Rachel Fane (1614-1681), wife of Henry Bourchier, 5th Earl of Bath (1593-1654) of Tawstock Court, Devon. The marriage was without progeny, whereupon the earldom became extinct. Her lifesize marble statue survives in Tawstock Church.
  • Catherine Fane.

Death & burial[edit]

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. ^ Blazon per Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.1148
  2. ^ a b History of Parliament Online - Francis Fane
  3. ^ "Fane, Francis (FN595F)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^  "Fane, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  5. ^ Fane de Salis MSS
  6. ^ Apethorpe was sold by the 13th Earl of Westmorland to Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey in 1904.
  7. ^ Grace Mildmay's sister Olive (d. 1646) who inherited Lacock abbey, married a Talbot, from which eight generations later sprang the pioneer photographer William Fox Talbot (d. 1877)).
  8. ^ Collins 1812, pp. 294,295


Fane shield in stained glass, Fulbeck's church.
  • Collins, Arthur; Brydges, Egerton (1812). Collins's Peerage of England; Genealogical, Biographical, and Historical 3. F. C. and J. Rivington, Otridge and son. 
  • R. W. de Salis, Quadrennial di Fano Saliceorum, volume one, London, 2003
  • printed (History of Parliament, GEC), manuscript & family knowledge.
  • P. W. Hasler (ed), The House of Commons 1558-1603, H.P.T, H.M.S.O., 1981.
  • (G.E.C) G. E. Cokayne, Geoffrey H. White & R. S. Lea, The Complete Peerage, vol. XII, London, 1959.
  • Rupert Gunnis, Eridge Castle and the Family of Nevill, unknown date & publisher.
  • Malcolm Mercer, ‘Fane, Sir Thomas (d. 1589)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2005 , accessed 22 Dec 2006
  • Link to English Heritage web-site for Apethorpe

Some Ancestors[edit]

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
Laurence Whitaker
Sir Christopher Hatton
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Westmorland
Succeeded by
Mildmay Fane
Preceded by
Mary Fane
Baron le Despencer