FAUNT, George (d.1697), of Foston, Leics.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
2nd s. of Henry Faunt (d.1665) of Little Claybrook, Leics. by 2nd w. Barbara, da. of Thomas Love of Leicester. m. 30 June 1646, Dorothy, da. of Edward Hanbury of Kelmarsh, Northants., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. suc.uncle at Foston 1639.1
Sheriff, Leics. 1658-Nov. 1660, commr. for militia Mar. 1660, assessment Aug. 1660-79, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-80, j.p. 1661-85, commr. for corporations 1662-3, receiver of taxes 1671-4.2
Faunt was the great-grandson of a Huntingdonshire lawyer who bought Foston and sat for Leicestershire in 1555. The younger son of a younger brother, he was designated heir by his uncle, Sir William Faunt, who was fined £4,000 in Star Chamber for enclosing. Faunt petitioned the Long Parliament in 1641, and the judgment was reversed. Nevertheless none of the family took any known part in the Civil War, nor did Faunt himself before the overthrow of the Rump hold any office except the shrievalty. In this capacity he presented the Leicestershire petition for a free Parliament to George Monck in January 1660, and was taken into custody on the orders of the Council of State. He was released in time to conduct the general election with admirable imperturbability. When news was received that the republican general John Lambert was only 14 miles away with a party of horse ‘all the electors left the high sheriff, Col. Faunt, save 16, all he could get to stay with him’. But the formalities were observed, and two supporters of the Restoration duly returned. The purchase of Laughton from a ruined Parliamentarian a few years before may have strained his resources, for in the Convention a private bill to confirm a protectorate ordinance was steered through committee without amendment by Richard Hopkins I to enable him to sell part of his uncle’s entailed estate to pay his debts and to provide for his wife and younger children. The income of £2,000 p.a. with which he was credited in the Leicestershire list for the projected order of the Royal Oak was probably exaggerated.3
Nevertheless Faunt was returned unopposed for the county at the general election of 1661. He was appointed to the committee for the uniformity bill, but altogether he was one of the least active Members of the Cavalier Parliament, being named to the committee of elections and privileges in seven sessions and to only seven others. He was granted leave to go into the country on 6 Dec. 1666 and to attend the assizes on 22 Feb. 1668. On the latter occasion he must have returned to Westminster without delay, for on 3 Apr. he was among those ordered to prepare for a conference on fining jurors. He was appointed receiver of the Leicestershire subsidy in 1671, and classed by the Opposition as a government supporter. He was named to his last committee on 7 Dec. 1674, but after the recess in May 1675 he petitioned against the debt-ridden borough Member, Sir John Pretyman, and claimed privilege himself for the stay of a chancery commission. He received the government whip in the autumn, and was assigned on the working lists to the management of Sir Robert Carr as chancellor of the duchy. Carr’s influence, however, was highly suspect in government circles, and after the recess Sir Richard Wiseman commented: ‘Mr Faunt I think does not go maliciously against us, but I know not which [way] to apply to him’. Danby had no such problem, and on 28 June 1676 a warrant was ordered for a grant of £726 5s. as royal bounty, to be satisfied by tallies on his tax payments. He was replaced as receiver by Sir William Hartopp, Pretyman’s equally indigent colleague; but an opposition pamphlet described him in 1677 as ‘a constant receiver of all taxes’, who was to have had ‘£5oo out of the last tax’, and Shaftesbury classed him ‘doubly vile’. Absent from a call of the House on 13 Dec. 1678, he was one of the Members sent for in custody.4
Blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’, Faunt never stood again. The Opposition complained that he was retained on the Leicestershire commission of the peace in 1680, despite being then ‘a prisoner in the King’s bench’. He was buried at Foston on 4 Nov. 1697, the last of the family to sit in Parliament.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Nichols, Leics. iv. 103, 175; Diary of Thomas Isham of Lamport, 186.
- 2. Leicester Bor. Recs. ed. Stock, 480; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 89, 110; v. 298.
- 3. Nichols, ii. 694; iv. 169-70; CJ, ii. 195, 209, 216; vii. 553, 836, 848; viii. 198; CSP Dom. 1659-60, pp. 335-6; 1676-7, p. 178; Merc. Pol. 23 Feb. 1660; 12 Car. II cap. 26.
- 4. CJ, ix. 329, 339; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 255, 298.
- 5. HMC Lords, i. 183; Nichols, iv. 172.