Popham, Francis (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

POPHAM, Sir FRANCIS (1573–1644), soldier and politician, born in 1573, only son of Sir John Popham (1531?–1607) [q. v.] of Littlecote, matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 17 May 1588, being then fifteen (Foster, Alumni Oxonienses), but does not seem to have taken a degree (Clark, Oxford Registers). In 1589 he was entered as a student of the Middle Temple. He was knighted by the Earl of Essex at Cadiz in 1596. Between 1597 and his death in 1644 he successively represented in parliament Somerset, Wiltshire, Marlborough, Great Bedwin in Wiltshire, Chippenham, and Minehead, sitting in every parliament except the Short parliament. He would appear to have inherited his father's grasping disposition, without his legal ability or training, and to have been constantly involved in lawsuits, which he was charged with conducting in a vexatious manner. Like his father, he took an active interest in the settlement of Virginia and New England, and was a member of council of both countries. He was buried at Stoke Newington on 15 Aug. 1644, but in March 1647 was moved to Bristol. He married Ann (b. 1575), daughter of John Dudley of Stoke Newington, and by her had five sons and eight daughters.

His eldest son, John, married, in 1621, Mary, daughter of Sir St. Sebastian Harvey, was a member for Bath in the parliament of 1627–8, and died (without issue) in or about January 1638 at Littlecote, where he was buried with much pomp (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 20 Jan. 1638).

Popham's second son, Alexander, born in 1605, matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 16 July 1621, being then sixteen (Foster, Alumni Oxon.) In 1627 an Alexander Popham was outlawed as a debtor and his property assigned to his creditors (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 23 March, 15 Aug.), but the identification seems doubtful. From 1640 he sat continuously in parliament as member for Bath. On the death of his father in 1644 he succeeded to the estates of Littlecote. He took an active part on the side of the parliament in the civil war; on the death of Charles I he was at once appointed a member of the council of state, and was one of Cromwell's lords in 1657, which did not interfere with his sitting in the Cavalier parliament of 1661, entertaining Charles II at Littlecote on his way to Bath in 1663, or, as a deputy-lieutenant of Wiltshire, taking energetic measures ‘to secure dangerous persons’ (ib. 2 Sept., 14 Oct. 1663). He died in November 1669. Popham's youngest son, Edward, is separately noticed.

[Brown's Genesis of the United States; Cal. State Papers, Dom.; Burke's Landed Gentry.]

J. K. L.