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The 1st Earl of Westmorland and his wife Mary.

Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland, KB (February 1580 – 23 March 1629), of Mereworth in Kent, and then of Apethorpe in Northamptonshire, was first a Member of Parliament and then an English peer.

Fane was the first surviving son and heir of Sir Thomas Fane (died 1589), of Badsell in Kent, by his second wife, the former Mary Neville (c. 1554-1626), sole daughter and heiress of the 6th (and de jure 4th) Baron Bergavenny (died 1587), by his wife, the former Lady Frances Manners, daughter of the 1st Earl of Rutland. The Barony of le Despenser was called out of abeyance in 1604 in favour of Fane's mother, Mary, Lady Fane, and she accordingly became 7th 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.

Fane's grandfather George Fane, of Badsell in Tudeley, was Sheriff of Kent 1557-58, married Joan, daughter of William Waller of Groombridge in 1557, and died in 1571.

Apethorpe Hall in 1829
Fane impaling Neville for Sir Thomas Fane and Hon. Mary Nevill(e) from a print of their younger son's tomb (George Fane of Buston & Elizabeth Spencer who died in 1618) in Westminster Abbey.

Fane was educated at Maidstone Grammar School and matriculated at Queens' College, Cambridge (c. 1595).[1] He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn 19 November 1597. He was created a Knight of the Bath at the Coronation of King James I on 25 July 1603. With the support of Lord Cobham he was returned as a Knight of the Shire (Member of Parliament) for Kent in 1601. After Cobham's disgrace Fane was returned for the borough seat of Maidstone in 1604, 1614 and 1621, and then that of Peterborough in 1624. On 29 December 1624, he was created Baron of 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.

On 15 February 1598/99 Fane married Mary Mildmay (d. 9 April 1640), daughter and eventually sole heir of sometime Ambassador to Paris Sir Anthony Mildmay (d. 1617), of Apethorpe Hall, Northamptonshire, by his wife Grace (1552-1620) daughter and co-heir of Sir Henry Sherington (Sharington) (c. 1518-1581) of Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire.

Seal of Mary, Dowager Countess of Westmorland

(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)). Sir Anthony Mildmay's father Sir Walter Mildmay (c. 1520-1589), PC, MP, bought Apethorpe in 1550; was Chancellor of the Exchequor 1559-89; and founded Emmanuel College, Cambridge 1583. Apethorpe was sold by the 13th Earl of Westmorland to Lord Brassey in 1904.

Lord Westmorland was buried at Apethorpe on 17 April 1629. A monumental inscription is at Mereworth church near Badsell. He left his widow (Mary Mildmay), who died at Stevenage and was buried at Apethorpe, and many children...amongst them:


Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland's ancestors in three generations
Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland Father:
Sir Thomas Fane, Knt.
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:
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


  1. ^ Fane, Francis in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  • 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
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Westmorland
1624 – 1629
Succeeded by
Mildmay Fane
Preceded by
Mary Fane
Baron le Despencer
1626 – 1629


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