Fane, Sir Thomas (d. 1589), administrator
by Malcolm Mercer

Fane, Sir Thomas (d. 1589), administrator, was the elder of two Thomas Fanes, both sons of George Fane (d. c.1571) of Badsell in Tudeley, Kent, and Joan, daughter of William Waller of Groombridge, Kent. A kinsman of the Edwardian politician Sir Ralph Fane (d. 1552), he acquired influential connections to the Culpepers through his marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Culpeper of Bedgebury, Kent. These probably account for his participation in Wyatt's rebellion against Queen Mary in 1554. Fane was accused of marching on London with a large rebel force. He was subsequently imprisoned in the Tower and attainted of high treason. A warrant was issued for his execution, but on 18 March 1554 Lord Chancellor Gardiner was instructed to spare him. He seems to have been released a week later and pardoned on 3 April, though his estates were not restored until 4 March 1555. Fane made little impact on local affairs until the 1570s. He served as sheriff of Kent in 1572–3 and was a justice of the peace from about February 1573. On 31 August 1573 he was knighted at Dover Castle by Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth. His prospects were undoubtedly improved by his second marriage, to Lady Mary Neville (c.1554–1626), daughter and heir general of Henry, Lord Bergavenny, on 12 December 1574 at Birling, Kent.

During the course of his career Fane attracted little criticism, although he was accused on one occasion of pressuring an assize jury to return a decision favourable to his own clients. In November 1580 he was appointed one of five deputy commissioners within Kent for breeding and maintaining an adequate supply of horses for royal service. When the Spanish Armada was expected in 1588 Fane and Sir Thomas Scott were active in the deployment of troops along the Kent coast, advising Burghley that 2000 men could be spared to protect the queen and 4000 deployed to repulse a landing. At this time Fane's younger brother, Thomas (d. 1607), of Burston, Kent, was appointed lieutenant of Dover Castle; in 1603 he became deputy warden of the Cinque Ports. Shortly before his death Fane became embroiled in his wife's claim to the barony of Bergavenny or Abergavenny against Edward Neville, the heir male. On 20 November 1588, for example, he submitted a list of lands claimed by his wife to Burghley as master of the court of wards. It was perhaps in connection with the Neville inheritance that Fane also brought a complaint in chancery in 1588 against Nicholas Maynard concerning the possession of copyhold land in the manor of Rotherfield in Sussex. However, Fane died on 13 March 1589. His place of death is unknown but he was buried at Mereworth, Kent. By an inquisition post mortem conducted on 15 April 1589, Francis Fane [see below], his eldest son with Lady Mary Neville, was found to be his heir. Fane's second son, George (d. 1640), of Badsell and Burston, Kent, was a long-serving member of parliament and the husband of Elizabeth, daughter of Robert, first Baron Spencer of Althorp.

Francis Fane, first earl of Westmorland (1583/4–1629), was a landowner. His wardship and marriage were granted to Roger Manners on 5 May 1592. He was educated at Maidstone grammar school, attended Queens' College, Cambridge, about 1595, and was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1597. In 1599 Fane married Mary (1581/2–1640), heir of of Apethorpe in Northamptonshire and , daughter and coheir of Henry Sharington of Lacock in Wiltshire. They had seven sons and six daughters, including , who succeeded his father, and . Francis Fane was MP for Kent in 1601, Maidstone in 1604, 1614, and 1621, and Peterborough, Lincolnshire, in 1624. He was created KB at James I's coronation on 15 July 1603, and first Baron Burghersh and first earl of Westmorland on 29 December 1624. On the death of his mother in 1626 he also became Baron Le Despencer. He died on 23 March 1629, aged forty-five, at Apethorpe and was buried there.



The visitations of Kent … 1574 and 1592 by Robert Cooke, ed. W. B. Bannerman, Harleian Society, 75 (1924), 42–4, 112–14 · will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/77, fols. 73r–73v · inquisition post mortem, TNA: PRO, C142/223/84 · CKS, U282/T114A · TNA: PRO, C3/224/80 · TNA: PRO, STAC 5/C22/37 · TNA: PRO, PC2/12, pp. 671–2 · TNA: PRO, SP 12/144/9 · TNA: PRO, SP 12/212/35,40 · TNA: PRO, C66/870, m8 · TNA: PRO, C66/873, m35 · DNB · J. S. Cockburn, ed., Calendar of assize records, Kent indictments, Elizabeth I (1979) · J. E. Mousley, ‘Fane, Francis’, HoP, Commons, 1558–1603 · D. M. Loades, Two Tudor conspiracies (1965), 81, 108–10, 113, 126 · Venn, Alum. Cant. [Francis Fane] · Letters written by John Chamberlain during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, ed. S. Williams, CS, 79 (1861) [Francis Fane] · TNA: PRO, SP 16/450, no. 53 [Francis Fane]


BL, family MSS, Add. MSS 34213–34223 · CKS, deeds and MSS, U282 · TNA: PRO, deeds and MSS, C 108/155 |  BL, Barony of Abergavenny legal MSS, Harley MSS 4749, 4768, 4798

Wealth at death  

£467 8s. 7d. p.a. from Kent lands rent roll: TNA: PRO C108/155 (unnumbered); will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/77, fols. 73r–73v; inquisition post mortem, TNA: PRO, C142/223/84

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Sir Thomas Fane (d. 1589): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9130
Francis Fane, first earl of Westmorland (1583/4–1629): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9130