Nanfan, Richard (DNB00)

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NANFAN or NANPHANT, Sir RICHARD (d. 1507), deputy of Calais, son of John Nanfan of Birtsmorton, Worcestershire, belonged to a family which originally sprang from Tresize, Cornwall. His father was sheriff of Cornwall in 1451 and 1457, and in 1453 became governor of Jersey and Guernsey, and collector of the customs there. Richard Nanfan was in the commission of the peace for Cornwall in 1485, and is said to have been esquire of the king's body in the same year. Throughout Henry VII's reign he received frequent grants of stewardships, and must have become very rich in later life. On 21 Dec. 1488 he was elected, in company with Dr. Savage and Roger Machado [q. v.], the Norroy king at arms, for a mission into Spain and Portugal. Before starting Nanfan was knighted. The party left Southampton early in 1489, and reached Medina del Campo on 12 March. They had interviews with Ferdinand and Isabella, and left for Beja in Portugal on 22 April. After staying a month there and treating with the king the party left for Lisbon, and Nanfan came home in a salt-laden ship of twenty tons' burden.

At some time soon after 1488 (he was sheriff of Cornwall in 1489) Nanfan, as Cavendish says, ‘had a great room in Calais.’ Though some have said that he was only treasurer there, it seems certain that he was deputy (Letters … of Richard III and Henry VII, Rolls Ser. i. 231). He is mentioned as being at Calais in 1492, and in 1500 was one of the witnesses at a treasonable conversation of Sir Hugh Conway, the treasurer, of which John Flamank sent home an account. At Calais he was an early patron of Wolsey, who was his chaplain, and who through Nanfan became known to the king. He returned to Birtsmorton early in the sixteenth century, and died in January 1506–7. Wolsey was one of his executors. His widow Margaret died in 1510. He left no legitimate children; but a natural son, John, who went to Spain with him, took his Worcestershire estates.

His great-great-grandson, John Nanfan (fl. 1634), was grandfather of Captain John Nanfan (d. 1716) of Birtsmorton, Worcestershire, who was captain in Sir John Jacob's regiment of foot, and sailed in 1697 for New York, where, by the influence of the governor, Richard Coote, earl of Bellamont [q. v.], who had married Nanfan's cousin Catherine, he was made lieutenant-governor. On Bellamont's death in 1700 the government of New York devolved upon Nanfan till the arrival of Lord Cornbury in 1702. In 1705 Nanfan returned to England; he died at Greenwich in 1716, and was buried at St. Mary Abchurch, London. His wife was Elizabeth, daughter of William Chester of Barbados (Waters, Chesters of Chicheley, pp. 172–3; Nash, Worcestershire, i. 86, &c.; Lodge, Peerage, ed. Archdall, s.v. ‘Bellamont;’ Winsor, Hist. of America, v. 195; Roosevelt, New York, p. 84; Rawl. MS. in Bodl. Libr. A. 272, 289).

[Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. viii. 228, 294, 357, 5th ser. viii. 472, ix. 129; Letters … of Richard III and Henry VII, ed. Gairdner (Rolls Ser.), i. 231, 238, ii. 292, 380; Nash's Worcestershire, i. 86; Cavendish's Life of Wolsey, ed. Holmes, p. 7; Chron. of Calais (Camd. Soc.), xl. 50; Memorials of Henry VII, ed. Gairdner (Rolls Ser.), passim; Materials for the Hist. of Hen. VII, ed. Campbell (Rolls Ser.), i. 25, 38, 313, ii. 87, &c.; Maclean's Hist. of Trigg Minor, passim.]

W. A. J. A.