FRANCKLYN, Sir William (c.1635-91), of Mavorn, Bolnhurst, Beds.
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Family and Education
b. c.1635, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of George Francklyn of Mavorn by Dorothy, da. of William Halsey of Great Gaddesden, Herts. educ. Winchester 1650, aged 13; Oriel, Oxf. 1651; L. Inn 1654. m. Letitia (bur. 15 May 1691), da. of Sir William Hicks, 1st Bt., of Beverstone Castle, Glos., wid. of Arthur, 1st Earl of Donegall [I], s.p. suc. fa. 1673; kntd. 30 Aug. 1675.1
Commr. for assessment, Beds. 1664-80, 1689-90, Bedford 1679-80; j.p. Beds. 1671-1680, ?1689-d., freeman, Bedford 1677; dep. Lt. Beds. 1689-d.2
Col. of ft. [I] Feb.-July 1689.3
Francklyn’s ancestors had held Mavorn as tenants of Canons Ashby priory and bought the manor soon after the dissolution of the monasteries, but appear to have cherished neither social nor political ambitions. Francklyn’s father took no known part in the Civil War, and his own early career is equally obscure. He was returned to the Exclusion Parliaments for Bedford, six miles from his home, apparently unopposed, and marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. Though he may sometimes have been confused in the Journals with Sir William Frankland, he was probably moderately active in the first Exclusion Parliament. He was appointed to ten committees, of which the most important was to inquire into the conduct of John Robinson I as lieutenant of the Tower. A vehement opponent of Popery, he declared in his only recorded speech:
Our laws, liberties and all that should protect us are at stake now, and are fit to be taken care of; and yet there is something more necessary, and that is the life of the King (which God long preserve!). There is danger from the Papists; they get ground upon us to our destruction. It must be fear that must keep them quiet; and let them see that when that fatal blow is struck, the Kingdom will rise as one man to prevent the effects of that blow. Let the Act of Association of 27 Elizabeth be read, and from thence take some measures for the preservation of the King’s person.
On 8 May he was sent to ask the Lords to sit in the afternoon. He voted for exclusion, and took the chair in the committee which drafted a request to the Lords to return the Popish priests condemned on circuit for execution, and was ordered to carry the message to the Lords. When he was removed from the commission of the peace in 1680 he was said to have ‘great estates in the county’, but this is difficult to reconcile with his later financial position. Moderately active in the second Exclusion Parliament, he was named to five committees, including those for the better collection of the hearthtax and for preventing superstitious bequests. He was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges in the Oxford Parliament. He took no known part in the events of James II’s reign, but he doubtless supported the Revolution. He was commissioned as a colonel of foot in February 1689 and was sent to Ireland, but returned in July to seek supplies. He unsuccessfully contested Bedford in 1690. A man of extravagant tastes, he left debts of £3,427 and an estate estimated at only £2,461. He was buried at Bolnhurst on 7 Apr. 1691, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 300; Beds. RO, DD/FN 973, 1097.
- 2. Beds. RO, DD/FN 1101.
- 3. HMC Lords, ii. 160.
- 4. Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 31, 110; J. Godber, Hist. Beds. 210, 254; Grey, vii. 142; HMC Lords, ii. 160, 180; CJ, x. 375-6; Beds. RO, DD/FN I224; Beds. Par. Regs. xi (Bolnhurst), 24.