Thomas Fane (died 1589)

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Arms of Fane: Azure, three dexter gauntlets back affrontée or

Thomas Fane (c. 1538–1589) of Badsell Manor in the parish of Tudeley in Kent, and of Mereworth Castle, Kent, was Sheriff of Kent. He is not to be confused with his younger brother, Thomas Fane (died 1607), of Burston, Hunton, Kent, a Member of Parliament for Dover.


Monument to George Fane (d.1572), All Saints' Church, Tudeley

Not to be confused with his younger brother also named Thomas Fane, he was born about 1538 at Badsell, the elder son of George Fane (died 1572) of Badsell, Sheriff of Kent in 1557 and 1558 (whose monument survives in Tudeley Church), by his first wife Joan Waller (d. 1545), daughter of William Waller of Groombridge, Sheriff of Kent in 1530. George Fane was the son of Richard Fane (or a'Vane[1]) by his wife Agnes Stidulf, the daughter and heiress of Henry Stidulf of Badsell, the son of Thomas Stidulf (d. 1457) and his wife Marion Badsell, heiress of Badsell, which latter couple's inscribed monumental brass survives in the chancel of Tudeley Church.[2] George Fane married secondly Elizabeth Hendley, a daughter of Sir Walter Hendley of Corsehorne, Cranbrooke.[3]

Early origins[edit]

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

According to tradition, and to the Heraldic Visitation of Kent in 1574, the Fane/Vane family was descended from Captain Sir John Fane (or Ivon Vane as he was also known), a Welsh gentleman who captured King John II of France at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 and received a share of the huge ransom money, which took the French people eight years to raise. His descendants, the families of Fane (Earl of Westmorland) and Vane (Marquess of Londonderry), use for their heraldic crests a golden gauntlet which was awarded him at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, and also three golden gauntlets in their coat of arms.

However, according to The Complete Peerage (1959)[4] relying on their source Fane (1897), 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. The Complete Peerage also states that "the long line of Welsh descent, as given in the Heraldic Visitation of Kent 1574, is spurious" and their source (Fane (1897)) states it to be "rendered so doubtful by negative evidence as to be no longer capable of support".[5] However, Keith W. Murray (1897), published in the same source as Fane (1897)[6] vindicates the Welsh pedigree and severely criticises the methodology of Fane (1897), followed by the Complete Peerage.


After an 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 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 in 1573 was knighted for services to the crown.

A monument to Fane survives in St Lawrence's Church, Mereworth, Kent.[7]

Marriages and children[edit]

He married twice:

Further reading[edit]

  • Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, volume 5, 1798 [3]
  • The Ancestor, A Quarterly Review of County and Family History, Heraldry and Antiquities, ed. Oswald Barron, No. XII, January 1905 [4]


  1. ^ Tudeley Church information leaflet
  2. ^ See image
  3. ^ Tudeley Church information leaflet
  4. ^ 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), quoting Fane, W.V.R., The pedigree of the Fane and Vane family, published in the Geneaologist Magazine, New Series, Vol xiii, London, 1897, pp. 81–6 [1]
  5. ^ 1574 Welsh pedigree of Fane, according to Fane, W.V.R: p. 85
  6. ^ The Welsh Descent of the Fane Family, in the Geneaologist Magazine, New Series, Vol xiii, London, 1897, pp. 209–213 [2]
  7. ^ "St Lawrence Mereworth". Kent Churches. Retrieved 29 August 2011.