Fane, Thomas (DNB00)

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FANE, Sir THOMAS (d. 1589), politician, was the elder of two Thomas Fanes, the sons of George Fane of Badsell, in the parish of Tudeley, Kent, by his wife Joan, daughter of William Waller of Groombridge in the same county. Having engaged in Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion of 1554 he was committed prisoner to the Tower, attainted of high treason, and a warrant issued for his execution; but the queen, pitying his youth, pardoned him by a bill addressed to her chancellor, Stephen Gardiner, from St. James's, on 18 March 1554 (Rymer, Fœdera, edit. 1704–35, xv. 373). A week later he was restored to his liberty and estate (Stow, Annales, edit. 1615, pp. 622, 623). Fane was knighted at Dover Castle 26 Aug. 1573 by Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth. In November 1580 he was appointed a deputy-commissioner within the county of Kent for the increase and breed of horses, and for the keeping of horses and geldings to service (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, p. 685). When the Armada was expected he did good service in disposing forces along the coast of Kent (ib. 1581–90, pp. 478, 501, 502). He died on 13 March (not on 28 Feb. as on his tomb) 1588–9, and was buried at Tudeley, whence his body was afterwards removed to Mereworth, Kent. His will, signed at Badsell on 7 March 1588–9, was not proved until 10 Feb. 1590–1 (registered in P. C. C. 10, Sainberbe). Fane married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Colepeper of Bedgebury, Kent, who died childless; and secondly, on 12 Dec. 1574, at Birling, Kent, Lady Mary Neville, sole daughter and heiress of Henry, baron Abergavenny, by whom he had a numerous issue. In her right he became possessed of the castle and manor of Mereworth, Kent. His widow, by letters patent bearing date at Westminster on 25 May 1604, was restored to the name, style, and dignity of Baroness Le Despencer and to the heirs of her body, with the ancient seat, place, and precedency of her ancestors. As far back as 1588 she had claimed the barony of Abergavenny against Edward Neville, the heir male. James I compromised the matter by allotting the barony of Le Despencer to the heir general, and the barony of Abergavenny to the heir male (Collins, Baronies by Writ, pp. 61, 136). Papers relating to her case, with copious marginal notes and observations by Lord Burghley, are preserved in the Record Office (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1581–90, pp. 564, 574, 1591–94, p. 404). She died 28 June 1626, aged 72, and was buried with her husband at Mereworth. Their eldest son, Francis Fane, was created K.B. at the coronation of James I, 15 July 1603, and was advanced to the titles of Baron Burghersh and Earl of Westmorland 29 Dec. 1624. He died 23 March 1628, aged 45.

Collins's Peerage (Brydges), iii. 290–4; Hasted's Kent (fol.), ii. 265–7, 353.

G. G.