ARUNDELL, Francis (1676-1712), of Stoke Park, Stoke Bruern, Northants.
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Family and Education
bap. 3 May 1676, 1st s. of Francis Arundell (d. 1736) of Stoke Park, sheriff Northants. 1693, by Felicia (d. 1710), da. of William Wilmer of Sywell, Northants. educ. Stoke Bruern sch.; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1693. m. lic. 1 July 1703 (with £5,000) Isabella (d. 1724), 4th da. of Sir William Wentworth† of Wakefield, Yorks., 1s. 2da. (1 d.v.p.).1
Surveyor of the outports 1711–d.2
The Arundells of Stoke Park came of ancient Cornish stock. Francis Arundell’s grandfather and namesake, the son of a Cornish clergyman, inherited Stoke Park and its associated lands in 1645 on the death of his uncle, Sir Richard Crane, whose elder brother, Sir Francis, had been granted them by Charles I. In 1703 young Francis Arundell made his match with Isabella Wentworth, a maid of honour to the Queen, whose bestowal of a marriage portion of £3,000, in addition to the £2,000 settled by the Wentworths, was a signal mark of royal favour. Much later Arundell’s distinguished soldier and diplomatist brother-in-law, Thomas Wentworth, Lord Raby (the future 3rd Earl of Strafford), was to claim that the marriage had taken place without his ‘privity’, he having just taken up his appointment as envoy at Berlin, which explains the coolness that always existed between them. When offering Strafford condolences upon Arundell’s death in 1712, Lord Berkeley of Stratton was careful to add: ‘though I know the intimacy between you was not great’.3
In November 1704 Arundell entered Parliament as a Tory after polling successfully at the Northampton by-election, but he was never active in proceedings. Within three weeks of his return he voted against the Tack on 28 Nov., and in a 1705 list relative to that division he was classed as a ‘Churchman’. He also appears, erroneously, in a list of those opposed to the Lords’ amendments to the abjuration bill in February 1703. On 21 Feb. 1705 he was teller against receipt of an additional clause to the bill for prohibiting all trade with France. Returned unopposed in 1705, he voted against the Court’s candidate for the Speakership at the beginning of the new Parliament, 25 Oct. By December 1706 the Arundells had acquired a London residence of their own in Arlington Street, ‘among the great people’, as Lady Wentworth commented to her son Lord Raby. Yet pecuniary worries were never far away. Arundell’s father had settled a yearly sum of £500 on the couple, but it was barely sufficient for their life-style in London’s fashionable quarter. As his wife Isabella recalled later during her widowhood, debt was almost their constant preoccupation. In May 1709 when Isabella was pregnant and unable to travel she had to turn to her brother Raby for the means to allow herself and two servants to lodge with her mother at Twickenham, while Francis and the rest of their household returned to Northampton. Concluding her request, she confessed, ‘Mr Arundell is very much ashamed I should be forced to beg this favour’. Arundell had been returned again in 1708, having withstood a contest, the expense of which may well have strained the family’s resources. In August 1709 Isabella was disappointed in her hopes of rejoining the Queen’s household as a woman of the bedchamber, and of the additional source of income the post would bring. The following summer Lady Wentworth pitied the fact that while Lord William Powlett* had just obtained a place of £2,000 p.a., ‘poor Mr Arundell can get nothing’.4
On 31 Jan. 1710, following a committee of the whole House on the place bill, Arundell told in favour of receiving the report the next morning. During the Sacheverell debates of February–March he opposed the impeachment, and several weeks after the acquittal wrote to Lord Raby in praise of the peers’ ‘great care for our reputation’, which ‘it has given us matter for addressing and showing our loyalty to the Queen and our steadiness to our Church’. In Northampton in 1710 his chances of re-election were placed in jeopardy by the active electioneering and expenditure of another Tory, William Wykes*, and by the expectation that one of the borough seats would automatically be taken by the Whig Montagu interest, thus ruling out a joint Tory candidature featuring Wykes and himself. Arundell did not accept his defeat immediately, however, for it was followed by a ‘tedious scrutiny’, almost certainly at his own instigation, but by the last week of October the result was confirmed. Waiting anxiously for the outcome, his wife wrote to her brother Lord Raby: ‘I hope he will carry his election at last, for to be at great charges and lose it will be a double grief.’ It was taken for granted in local Tory circles that Arundell would petition ‘to prove indirect practices’ and thereby to have the election declared void. He did so on 2 Dec. and though proceedings of some sort were evidently begun in the committee of elections, he was reporting to Raby early in March 1711 that ‘at last I have made an end of my petition’. His timely appointment as surveyor of the outports, which brought him a salary of £366, now disqualified him from a parliamentary seat, ‘so I hope to be at ease and shall be careful how I engage again in those affairs’. Strafford politely congratulated him on his post in May and hoped ‘soon to congratulate you on a better’. But this ease to the Arundells’ financial predicament was soon shattered. In November 1712 Arundell was struck down by smallpox. The low regard in which he was held by his in-laws was unconcealed in Lady Strafford’s reference to the news in a letter to her husband: ‘[it] makes me defer making my men’s surtout coat till I see whether he lives or dies, for, for a brother’s mourning all people put their servants in grey’. Arundell was dead by the end of the month, predeceasing his father, and was buried at Stoke Bruern on 5 Dec. It was a cruel blow for Isabella. In January 1713 she confided to Strafford: ‘poor Mr Arundell was a good man and no couple in the world thought themselves more happy than we did for many years’. Now responsible for two ‘fatherless children’, she was rescued from her unhappy plight by the Queen who in April appointed her a woman of the bedchamber with a salary of £500, but the comfort of the advancement was temporary. In October 1714, following the Hanoverian succession, she was ‘warned’ to vacate her lodgings in the royal apartments, and was thrown once more upon the goodwill of her immediate family.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Andrew A. Hanham
- 1. Baker, Northants. ii. 244, 249; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 38; Add. 22228, f. 17.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxv. 13, 206.
- 3. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 12–13; Baker, 242–3; Cal. Treas. Bks. xviii. 346, 413; xix. 395; Add. 22228, f. 17.
- 4. Wentworth Pprs. 59, 98, 122; Add. 22228, f. 17; 31144, ff. 327, 365.
- 5. Add. 22228, ff. 5, 9, 11; 31143, ff. 478, 563, 582; 31144, ff. 20, 37, 327; Verney Letters 18th Cent. i. 306; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxv. 13, 206; xxvii. 273; Wentworth Pprs. 304, 307–8; Baker, 244.