FANE, Hon. John (1686-1762), of Mereworth, Kent; Apethorpe, Northants. and Hanover Square, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1708 - 27 Jan. 1711
28 Sept. 1715 - 1722
1 Mar. 1727 - 1734

Family and Education

bap. 24 Mar. 1686, 4th son of Vere Fane*, 4th Earl of Westmorland; bro. of Hon. Mildmay Fane†.  educ. Eton 1698; L. Inn 1703; Emmanuel, Camb. 1704.  m. 5 Aug. 1716, Mary (d. 1778), da. and h. of Ld. Henry Cavendish*, s.p.  suc. bro. Mildmay at Burston, Kent, 1715; cr. Baron Catherlough [I] 4 Oct. 1733; suc. bro. Thomas as 7th Earl of Westmorland 4 July 1736.1

Offices Held

Capt. of horse, William Cadogan’s* regt. (later 5 Drag. Gds.) 1709–10; lt.-col. regt. of William Windress (later 37 Ft.) 1710–14, col. 1715–17; col. 1 tp. Horse Gren. Gds. 1717–33; col. 1 tp. Life Gds. 1733–7; brig.-gen. 1735; maj.-gen. and lt.-gen. 1742, with effect from 1735 and 1739 respectively; gen. 1761.2

Asst. warden, Rochester Bridge, 1737–57, warden 1738, 1748, 1755; ld. lt. Northants, 1737–?d.; warden, East Bailiwick, Forest of Rockingham, 1737–?d.; master forester, Cliff Bailiwick, Forest of Rockingham, 1736–d.3

High steward, Oxford Univ. 1754, chancellor 1759–d.


Fane’s life was characterized by luck and longevity. As well as an extensive army and parliamentary career spanning three reigns, he also outlived his three brothers thereby inheriting virtually all of the family property and titles. In 1708, his elder brother, the 6th Earl of Westmorland, the deputy-warden of the Cinque Ports, almost certainly influenced Fane’s decision to contest Hythe. Following his return, the Earl of Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) listed him as a gain for the Whigs, and the compiler of a list of the new Parliament concurred, classing him as a Whig. Fane joined the army as a volunteer for the 1708 summer campaign seeing action at the battle of Oudenarde and the siege of Lille.

Fane returned to England for the opening session of Parliament carrying a letter of recommendation from the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†), who wrote to Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) that Fane had ‘behaved himself very well, so that I am desirous you would do him the honour of presenting him to the Queen. I like him much better than his brother [Westmorland].’ Fane showed his support for the Whigs, telling on 29 Jan. 1709 against the question of whether to adjourn the consideration of the Orford election, and voting for the naturalization of the Palatines. Showing rather more interest in his army career than politics, Fane then left for Europe as a captain in General William Cadogan’s* regiment of horse and fought at Malplaquet.4

A by-election for Hythe was ordered on 23 Dec., necessitated by the place clause in the Regency Act of 1706 which obliged Fane to seek re-election following his receipt of a captain’s commission (the exception of army and navy officers from the provisions of the Act not extending to first commissions). Consequently, Fane was re-elected on 7 Jan. 1710, apparently without a contest. On 1 Feb. he told against an addition to an amendment to Edward Wortley Montagu’s* place bill, a matter in which he might well have been expected to show some interest. He also supported the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. Fane contested the 1710 Hythe election successfully, being classed as a Whig in the ‘Hanover list’, but the defeated Tory candidates presented a petition against them which led to Fane being unseated on 27 Jan. 1711.5

Fane then concentrated on his military career. In April 1713 his brother Westmorland wrote on his behalf to the Earl of Oxford (Robert Harley*) asking that Fane be promoted to the rank of colonel. Having ‘thrown himself and his fortune entirely into the army’, Fane had travelled with his regiment to Flanders, Canada, Inverlochy and Ireland. His fortunes increased with the Hanoverian succession and in 1715, when he inherited a substantial estate from his younger brother, Hon. Mildmay, and again in 1736 when he succeeded to the Westmorland title and estates. He embarked on an ambitious rebuilding programme at Apethorpe and Mereworth and, on a trip to France in 1751 with his wife, commented that the intendant of a particular town was ‘no less diligent than myself in stone and mortar’. An opposition Whig in George II’s reign, Westmorland later became a Tory and seems to have been involved in Jacobite intrigues.6

On his death, on 26 Aug. 1762, Westmorland’s estate was split, with his nephew Sir Francis Dashwood, 2nd Bt.†, inheriting the lands in Kent, Middlesex and Sussex, and Thomas Fane†, a second cousin once removed, inheriting the Westmorland title and the property in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Yorkshire.7

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Sonya Wynne


  • 1. IGI, Kent; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch Soc.), 29.
  • 2. Bodl. Dashwood C5, lt.-col. commn. for John Fane, 1710; Add. 70775, Westmorland to Harley, 9 Apr. 1713.
  • 3. Traffic and Politics ed. Yates and Gibson, 298; Add. 34223, f. 35.
  • 4. Marlborough–Godolphin Corresp. 1128.
  • 5. Statutes at Large, iv. 281.
  • 6. Add. 42593, f. 135; 70775, Westmorland to Harley, 9 Apr. 1713; VCH Northants. ii. 545; Hasted, Kent, v. 79–80; HMC Denbigh, v, 277.
  • 7. PCC 405 St. Eloi.