Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Markham, Francis

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MARKHAM, FRANCIS (1565–1627), soldier and author, was a brother of Gervase Markham [q. v.] and the second son of Robert Markham of Cottam in Nottinghamshire, by Mary, daughter of Sir Francis Leake. Francis was born on 5 July 1565. After passing his early years in the household of the Earl of Pembroke, he was sent to Winchester School, and was afterwards under the famous scholar, Adrian de Saravia. In 1582 he was entered of Trinity College, Cambridge, but remained only a short time, going as a volunteer to the wars in the Low Countries without permission. Having made submission to his father, he was properly fitted out as a volunteer under Sir William Pelham [q. v.], and he served at the siege of Sluys. When Pelham died, young Francis returned to England, and in 1588 he was studying law at Gray's Inn. But he soon tired of the law, and crossed over to Flushing in the hope of getting a captain's company from Sir Robert Sidney, who was then governor. Disappointed in that quarter, he went to serve under the Prince of Anhalt in the war caused by a disputed succession to the bishopric of Strasburg, and in 1593 he was studying law at Heidelberg. He had a captaincy under the Earl of Essex in France and in Ireland, and was again in the Low Countries for a short time with Sir Francis Vere. He travelled in France with Lord Roos, and eventually obtained the appointment of muster-master, which gave him a fixed salary with residence at Nottingham. In 1608 he married a lady named Mary Lovel, and had children, but none survived him. He was still muster-master of Nottingham in 1622, and died in 1627, aged 62.

Markham published: 1. 'Five Decades of Epistles of War,' fol. 1622, in which he gives an account of the duties of the officers in the army of every rank in the days of Elizabeth. 2. 'The Booke of Honour,' fol. 1626; an antiquarian treatise on the origin and status of the various ranks of nobility and knighthood. He also wrote a 'Genealogy or Petigree of Markham,' still in manuscript, and dated 27 July 1601 (it belongs to the present writer); and a glossary of Anglo-Saxon words, with derivations of christian names.

[Markham's curious autobiography was printed in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, 17 Nov. 1859.]

C. R. M.