Stephen Fox

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Sir Stephen Fox
Stephen Fox.png
Personal details
Born (1627-03-27)27 March 1627
Farley, Wiltshire
Died 28 October 1716(1716-10-28) (aged 89)
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Whittle
Christiana Hope
Children 14 children including
Stephen Fox-Strangways, 1st Earl of Ilchester

Sir Stephen Fox (27 March 1627 – 28 October 1716) was an English politician.

Life[edit]

Stephen Fox was the son of William Fox, of Farley, in Wiltshire, a yeoman farmer. At the age of fifteen he first obtained a post in the household of Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland; then he entered the service of Lord Percy, the earl's brother, and was present with the royalist army at the Battle of Worcester as Lord Percy's deputy at the ordnance board. Accompanying Charles II in his flight to the continent, he was appointed manager of the royal household, on the recommendation of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon. Clarendon described him as "a young man bred under the severe discipline of Lord Percy ... very well qualified with languages, and all other parts of clerkship, honesty and discretion".

The skill with which Fox managed the finances of the exiled court earned him further confidence and promotion. He was employed on several important missions, and acted eventually as intermediary between the king and General Monck. Honours and emolument were his reward after the Restoration; he was appointed to the lucrative offices of first Clerk of the Green Cloth and Paymaster of the Forces.

In November 1661, he became member of parliament for Salisbury. In 1665 he was knighted; was returned as MP for Westminster on 27 February 1679, and succeeded the Earl of Rochester as a commissioner of the treasury, filling that office for twenty-three years and during three reigns. In 1680 he resigned the paymastership and was made first commissioner of horse. In 1684, he became sole commissioner of horse.

He was offered a peerage by James II, on condition of turning Roman Catholic, but refused, in spite of which he was allowed to retain his commissionerships. In 1685 he was again M.P. for Salisbury, and opposed the bill for a standing army supported by the king. During the Revolution, he maintained an attitude of decent reserve, but on James's flight, submitted to William III, who confirmed him in his offices. He was again elected for Westminster in 1691 and 1695, for Cricklade in 1698, and finally in 1713 once more for Salisbury.

It is his distinction to have founded Royal Hospital Chelsea, to which he contributed £13,000. As a statesman he was second-rater, but as a public servant he creditably discharged all the duties with which he was entrusted. Unlike other statesmen of his day, he grew rich in the service of the nation without being suspected of corruption or forfeiting the esteem of his contemporaries.

Family[edit]

Stephen Fox was married twice.

Firstly on 8 December 1651 to Elizabeth Whittle (died 11 August 1696), daughter of William Whittle and wife, with issue seven sons, all of whom predeceased him, and three daughters including:

Secondly on 11 July 1703 to Christiana Hope (died 17 February 1718), daughter of Rev. Francis Hope and wife Christian Palfreyman, with issue two sons and two daughters, including:

References[edit]

  • Sir Egerton Brydges, Collins's peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, and historical (1812) pp. 529–538
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Edward Tooker
Francis Swanton
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
1661–1679
With: Edward Tooker 1661–1664
Edward Hyde 1664–1665
Richard Colman 1665–1673
William Swanton 1673–1679
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Mompesson
Alexander Thistlethwayte
Preceded by
Sir Philip Warwick
Sir Richard Everard
Member of Parliament for Westminster
1679
With: Sir William Pulteney
Succeeded by
Sir William Pulteney
Francis Wythens
Preceded by
Alexander Thistlethwayte
John Wyndham
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
1685–1689
With: John Wyndham
Succeeded by
Thomas Hoby
Giles Eyre
Preceded by
Sir William Pulteney
Sir Walter Clarges
Member of Parliament for Westminster
1691–1698
With: Sir Walter Clarges 1691–1695
Charles Montagu 1695–1698
Succeeded by
Charles Montagu
James Vernon
Preceded by
Charles Fox
Edward Pleydell
Member of Parliament for Cricklade
1699–1702
With: Edward Pleydell 1699–1701
Edmund Dunch 1701–1702
Succeeded by
Thomas Richmond Webb
Samuel Barker
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Charles Fox
Richard Jones
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
1714–1715
With: Richard Jones
Succeeded by
Francis Swanton
Edmund Lambert
Political offices
Preceded by
Paymaster of the Forces
1661–1676
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Puckering Newton
Preceded by
Sir Henry Puckering Newton
Paymaster of the Forces
1679–1680
Succeeded by
Nicholas Johnson
William Fox