Thomas Fane (died 1589)

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Coat of arms of Sir Thomas Fane (d. 1589)

Thomas Fane (c. 1510–1589) was an English landowner and High Sheriff. He is not to be confused with his brother, also Thomas Fane (died 1607), who was the MP for Dover.

Fane was born at Badsel Manor, Tudely, Kent, the son of George Fane of Badsell in Tudeley and his wife Joan Waller, daughter of William Waller of Groombridge. The family lived on estates bought in the 14th century from the ransomed monies received for capturing King John II of France at the battle of Poitiers 1356. Sir John Fane (captain) or Ivon Vane as he was also known, had captured King John on the battlefield and he received a share of the huge ransomed monies, which took the French people eight years to raise. His descendants both the Fane and the Vane families still retain a golden gauntlet on their crests which was awarded at the battle of Poitiers in 1356.

16th-century Fane gateway from Badsell, Kent, but now in Fulbeck, Lincolnshire. Dated 1583 it bears initials TF and MF, for Thomas Fane and his wife Mary Neville. Note how it shows the original Fane crest.

After education at Maidstone Grammar School Fane who was a committed Protestant was convicted of treason in 1554 for his involvement in Wyatt's rebellion and he was sentenced to death. After four months of imprisonment in the Tower of London he was pardoned by Queen Mary on account of his youth and on the condition that he took the Oath of Loyalty.

Fane went on to serve as High Sheriff of Kent in 1572 and be knighted to services to the crown in 1573.

There is a memorial to Fane in St Lawrence's Church, Mereworth, Kent.[1]


He married twice: firstly Elizabeth Culpepper who died in childbirth and then secondly Mary Neville, Baroness le Despencer, daughter of Henry Nevill, 6th Baron Bergavenny and his wife Frances Manners daughter of the 1st Earl of Rutland. Mary Neville was one of the great Tudor heiresses, she was the last heiress to the mediaeval House of Neville and one of Englands largest landowners. Mary Fane née Neville inherited the titles of Baron le Despenser and Baron Bergavenny from her father. The Barony of le Despenser was called out of abeyance in 1604 in favour of Mary, Lady Fane, and she accordingly became 3rd Baroness le Despenser. She was also, by modern doctrine, 7th and 5th Baroness Bergavenny, having inherited the senior two Baronies of Bergavenny from her father on his death, as well as his estates in Kent centred on Mereworth Castle. Her son choose the title of Earl of Westmorland when he was raised to that rank by James I of England. The original Neville Earldom of Westmoreland had been confiscated in 1571 from Mary Fane's cousin Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland for his part in the Rising of the North.


External links[edit]

  • Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, volume 5, 1798.


  1. ^ "St Lawrence Mereworth". Kent Churches. Retrieved 29 August 2011.