FANE (VANE), Sir George (1581-1640), of Dover and Burston, Hunton, Kent

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1640 (Apr.)

Family and Education

b. Mar. 1581, 2nd s. of Sir Thomas Fane (d.1589) of Badsell, Tudeley, Kent and his 2nd w. Mary, suo jure 3rd Baroness Le Despenser, da. and h. of Henry, 6th Lord Bergavenny; bro. of Sir Francis*. educ. Maidstone g.s.; Queens’, Camb. c.1595; L. Inn 1597. m. (1) 3 Sept. 1607, Elizabeth (bur. 19 Nov. 1618), da. of Robert Spencer†, 1st Bar. Spencer of Wormleighton, s.p.; (2) 1620, Anne (d. 5 Mar. 1664), da. of Sir Oliver Boteler of Teston, Kent, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.). kntd. 23 July 1603; suc. uncle (Sir) Thomas Fane† at Burston 1607. d. 26 June 1640. 1 sig. Geo[rge] Fane.

Offices Held

Freeman, Dover 1602, 1614, Maidstone 1625;2 commr. sewers, Welland, Dengemarsh and Wittersham marshes, Kent and Suss. 1604,3 Rother valley 1609;4 j.p. Kent 1606-d.;5 asst. Dover harbour board 1606;6 commr. subsidy, Kent 1611, 1621-2, 1624, 1626, 1628-9,7 aid, 1612;8 asst. Rochester Bridge, Kent 1613-d. (snr. warden 1614, 1635, jnr. warden 1627);9 commr. piracy, Cinque Ports 1612-d.,10 i.p.m. Zachary Harlackenden, Kent 1618;11 sheriff, Kent 1622-3;12 commr. recusants, Kent 1622/3,13 oyer and terminer, Home circ. 1625-5 June 1640,14 Forced Loan, Kent 1626;15 pres. Cobham Coll. by 1628;16 commr. survey of highways 1631,17 knighthood fines, Kent, Canterbury and Cinque Ports 1631,18 charitable uses 1632-d.19


As nephew and designated heir to Thomas Fane, lieutenant of Dover Castle, Fane was elected under age to the last Elizabethan Parliament. His uncle officiated as deputy warden of the Cinque Ports on the disgrace of Lord Cobham (Henry Brooke alias Cobham†),20 and was presumably responsible for nominating him to the senior seat at Sandwich in 1604, leaving Dover vacant for his cousin Sir Thomas Waller*. During the 1604 session, Fane was appointed to attend the king to defend the proceedings of the Commons over the Buckinghamshire election (28 March). He was also a member of three bill committees, one of which concerned the removal of man-made hindrances from navigable rivers (23 Mar.), a measure which undoubtedly interested him as his elder brother’s seat at Badsell lay close to the obstacle-ridden Medway.21 In May 1605, during the interval between the first and second sessions, Fane accompanied the new lord warden of the Cinque Ports, the earl of Northampton, to Windsor for the latter’s investiture as a knight of the Garter.22 When the Parliament reconvened, Fane was again appointed to attend the king, this time to help present the grievances of the Commons (14 May 1606), and was a member of two bill committees, one of which concerned a proposed amendment to the Tunnage and Poundage Act of 1604 (28 Jan. 1605/6).23 Shortly before his uncle’s death he bought a house in Dover, leasing the adjoining property from the corporation.24 In the third session he was named to the conference of 25 Nov. 1606 to hear the Lords on the Union with Scotland. He was also appointed to consider the bill to enable Waller to acquire the office of chief butler (28 Mar. 1607).25 On inheriting the Burston estate in 1607, Fane married, like his brother, into a Northamptonshire magnate family, and afterwards lord treasurer Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) estimated that he enjoyed an annual income of around £800.26 He was among those appointed to consider two private bills in the fourth session, one of which was to provide for the younger children of another cousin, Lord Bergavenny (Edward Neville*), by sale of land from the entailed estate (7 June 1610). He was also named to three other bill committees.27

In 1614 lord warden Northampton nominated Fane for re-election at Sandwich. The corporation rejected him, however, because ‘he is so much disliked of the most part of our assembly as upon that motion he was no way pleasing unto them’.28 Northampton was obliged to recommend him instead at Dover ‘upon the grounds of an extraordinary occasion’.29 Though a freeman ‘for divers years past’, Fane took the oath again on 1 Apr., promising to use his ‘honest endeavours’ for the good of the town and harbour, and he was elected to the Addled Parliament with his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Brett*.30 His only committee was to attend the king with an explanation of the ‘forbearing’ of business by the Commons (5 May).31

Fane was one of the signatories to a petition addressed to the Privy Council by Kent’s hop-growers in about 1620.32 After a second marriage into a local county family that same year, he moved up to represent Kent in the third Jacobean Parliament. No more active as knight of the shire than he had been as a baron of the Cinque Ports, he nevertheless helped to manage conferences on recusancy and monopolies (15 Feb., 12 Mar. 1621).33 He also broke his long silence in the debate on 20 Feb. 1621 on the patent for licensing inns, when he alleged that James Thurbarne*, counsel for the Cinque Ports, had ‘said to one that if he brought a certificate from any gentleman, whether justice of peace or no, he should have a licence’. Supported by Sir Edwin Sandys, he inquired on 1 Mar. why black rod had brought a message that the Lords had risen, before the charges against Thurbarne’s senior partner, (Sir) Giles Mompesson*, could be transmitted.34 There is no evidence of his presence in the Commons after the session resumed in November.

Fane donated £50 for the relief of the Palatinate in February 1622.35 In the following summer, he was among those entrusted by the Privy Council with investigating the illegal export of fullers’ earth from the Maidstone area.36 Pricked as sheriff in November, he was mainly responsible for the respectful reception of the new Spanish ambassador, Inojosa, in 1623.37 As a former pupil of the local grammar school, and living five miles away at Hunston, he became a freeman of Maidstone, and succeeded his brother as the borough’s representative in the last Jacobean Parliament. Silent once again, he was appointed to the committee for privileges and four others of lesser importance.38

Fane was prevented from being re-elected for Maidstone in 1625 by the borough’s mayor, whose main target was in fact Fane’s former colleague Sir Francis Barnham*. Fane naturally felt aggrieved, and although his health prevented him from giving evidence in person, he wrote to the chairman of the elections committee, Sir George More.39 He was again returned for Maidstone to the second Caroline Parliament, when he was named to seven committees. On 17 Mar. 1626 he was again involved with the affairs of his Neville cousins, being named to consider a bill to settle a jointure on the daughter-in-law of Sir Henry Neville II*. He was ordered to attend the conference of 4 Mar. on the summons sent to lord admiral Buckingham, and was among those appointed to consider the defects of the navy as well as the failure to victual Count Mansfeld’s expedition (23 March).40 Shortly afterwards he fell ill and missed the call of the House on 5 April. He had not returned when Sir Dudley Digges* charged Buckingham with the murder of the late king; but Sandys and two other Members were sent to Fane’s sick room to receive his formal protestation that he had not heard Digges remark ‘that he did forbear to speak any further in regard of the king’s honour’. Although absent on 2 June, he appeared in the House the following day, and on 8 June he was among those appointed to prepare the heads for the Remonstrance against Buckingham.41

Re-elected in 1628, Fane was appointed to the committee for privileges in the third Caroline Parliament and to two others, both of local interest; the committees for the Medway navigation bill and the revived Neville jointure bill (12 May).42 He testified on 17 Apr. that the 2nd earl of Suffolk (Theophilus Howard*) had called Sir John Strangways* to him, but he had not overheard his accusation of John Selden*.43 Fane left no trace on the records of the second session. He was brought into Star Chamber in 1635 for failure to leave London in accordance with the Proclamation.44 Re-elected to the Short Parliament, he died on 26 June 1640 and was buried at Hunton. His will, drafted on 17 Dec. 1639 and proved on 13 July 1640, shows that he owned lands in Yorkshire, Bloomsbury and the Bedford Levels as well as in Kent.45 After the Restoration his son, Thomas, served three times for Maidstone.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. VCH Northants. (geneal. vol.). Nothants. Fams. 95-6; J. Thorpe, Registrum Roffense, 874; Maidstone Recs. 89; Al. Cant.; LI Admiss.; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 120.
  • 2. Add. 29625, f. 38; Add. 28036, f. 157v; Maidstone Recs. 85.
  • 3. C181/4, pp. 170, 173, 180.
  • 4. C181/2, f. 87v.
  • 5. Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 20; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Chas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 364.
  • 6. J.B. Jones, Annals of Dover, 100.
  • 7. E179/127/569; C212/22/20-1, 23; E115/254/79; 115/157/25; 115/570/7.
  • 8. E163/16/21.
  • 9. Traffic and Pols. ed. N. Yates and J.M. Gibson, 294.
  • 10. C181/2, ff. 185, 246v; 181/3, f. 247; 181/5, p. 262.
  • 11. C66/2146 (dorse).
  • 12. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 69.
  • 13. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 449 (misdated).
  • 14. C181/3, f. 138; 181/5, pp. 276, 346.
  • 15. Harl. 6846, f. 37.
  • 16. A.A. Arnold, ‘Cobham Coll.’, Arch. Cant. xxvii. 87.
  • 17. C181/4, f. 88.
  • 18. E178/5368, f. 17.
  • 19. C192/1, unfol.
  • 20. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 25.
  • 21. CJ, i. 157a, 245b. For his other cttees. see ibid. 162a (restitution bill), 247b (church attendance bill).
  • 22. Add. 34218, f. 87.
  • 23. CJ, i. 260b, 309a. For the remaining cttee. concerning highways, see ibid. 264a.
  • 24. Add. 29623, f. 12.
  • 25. CJ, i. 324b, 356a.
  • 26. Hatfield House, ms 86, f. 80.
  • 27. CJ, i. 447a. For his other appointments, see see ibid. 413b (timber preservation), 414a (game), 415a (Davison), 421a (eccles. leases).
  • 28. E. Kent Archives Cent. Sa/AC7, ff. 31v-2.
  • 29. Ibid. Dover Corp. min. bk. f. 59v.
  • 30. Add. 28036, f. 117v.
  • 31. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 377.
  • 32. SP15/42/64.
  • 33. CJ, i. 522b, 551a.
  • 34. Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 72; CJ, i. 533a.
  • 35. SP14/156/15.
  • 36. APC, 1621-3, p. 312; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 449.
  • 37. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 614.
  • 38. Maidstone Recs. 89; CJ, i. 671b, 688a (Wharton decree), 747a (Lumley land bill), 779a (infanticide bill), 695a (sealing writs bill).
  • 39. Surr. Hist. Cent. LM Cor 4/51.
  • 40. CJ, i. 830a, 837a, 840a. For his remaining appointments, see ibid. 823a (Thecker), 840b (Ralegh).
  • 41. Ibid. 844a, 860a, 866a, 868a.
  • 42. Ibid. 873a, 895b, 899a.
  • 43. Ibid. 884b; CD 1628, ii. 523.
  • 44. Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, ii. 290.
  • 45. PROB 11/183, ff. 391v-4v.