WENMAN, Sir Francis (1599-1640), of Caswell, Oxon.
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Family and Education
b. 9 Dec. 1599,1 o. (posth.) s. of Francis Wenman of Caswell and Frances, da. of William Goodyeare of Polesworth, Warws.2 educ. Trin. Camb. 1615; M. Temple 1618.3 m. by 1628, Anne, da. of Sir Samuel Sandys* of Ombersley, Worcs., 2s. 1da.4 suc. fa. at birth;5 kntd. 8 June 1618.6 d. 26 June 1640.7
Wenman was the first cousin of Sir Richard Wenman*.11 His father died in Ireland in late August 1599, three months before his birth at Polesworth, and he became the ward of Allen Apsley, then an Anglo-Irish official.12 It is not known how far Wenman maintained a connection with his mother, whose second marriage into the Manners family brought her into Buckingham’s circle, nor with his guardian Apsley, who became lieutenant of the Tower in 1617.13
Wenman was recommended for Oxford by the 5th earl of Huntingdon at the 1628 general election. The corporation, however, promised to support him for the county, and he was duly returned.14 According to his friend Edward Hyde†, Wenman was ‘esteemed in Court’ and ‘equal to the greatest trust and employment, if he had been ambitious of it, or solicitous for it’. He had ‘a competent estate’ in Oxfordshire, including the ancestral home of his family, and ‘his reputation of wisdom and integrity gave him an interest and credit in that country much above his fortune’.15 In Parliament he was named to three committees, to consider bills against the sale of judicial offices (23 Apr.), for the support of the ministry (7 May), and for the jointure of Frances Neville (17 May).16 Sometime before 20 June Wenman and his wife were guests of Lord Huntingdon in Leicestershire, and consequently Wenman perhaps missed the last week of the session, though no leave of absence is recorded.17 He may have been the ‘Sir Edward Wenman’ granted privilege for a servant on 20 Feb. 1629.18
Wenman was a close friend of Lucius Carey†, 2nd Viscount Falkland, and a prominent member of the Great Tew circle of philosophers and wits.19 Sir John Suckling† mentions him with respect in ‘A Session of the Poets’: ‘There was Selden, and he sat hard by the chair; / Wenman not far off, which was very fair’.20 In 1636 Wenman followed Lord Saye and Sele’s lead in refusing payment of Ship Money.21 He sat in the Short Parliament, but died shortly afterwards, on 26 June 1640, and was buried at Witney.22 His health had always been poor and is cited by Hyde in explanation of ‘a kind of laziness of mind, which disinclined him to business’.23 He was able to leave his only daughter a portion of £1,500.24 His second son sat for Oxfordshire in 1664 and his grandson, four times Member for Brackley, succeeded to Thame Park as head of the Wenman family in 1686.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Alan Davidson / Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. C142/260/129.
- 2. Vis. Warws. (Harl. Soc. xii), 67.
- 3. Al. Cant.; M. Temple Admiss.
- 4. Vis. Oxon. (Harl. soc. v), 308.
- 5. C142/260/129.
- 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 168.
- 7. C142/593/37.
- 8. C231/5, p. 12; C193/13/2, f. 54.
- 9. C181/4, f. 179.
- 10. V.J. Watney, Cornbury, 227.
- 11. Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 179.
- 12. APC, 1619-21, pp. 66-67; Lodge, Irish Peerage, iv. 285; Oxford DNB sub Apsley, Sir Allen.
- 13. CSP Carew, 1601-3, p. 95.
- 14. Procs. 1628, vi. 158-9.
- 15. Clarendon, Life (1827), i. 50-51.
- 16. CD 1628, iii. 44, 301, 447.
- 17. HMC Hastings, i. 374.
- 18. CJ, i. 9316.
- 19. CSP Dom. 1631-33, p. 10.
- 20. J. Suckling, Non-Dramatic Works ed. T. Clayton, 71.
- 21. CSP Dom. 1636-7, p. 210.
- 22. Parochial Colls. (Oxon. Rec. Soc. xi), 345.
- 23. Clarendon, i. 50-51.
- 24. PROB 11/185, f. 168.