FANE, Hon. Sir Vere (1645-93), of Apethorpe, Northants. and Mereworth, Kent

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



22 Mar. 1671 - Jan. 1679
Mar. 1679 - Mar. 1681
1689 - 18 Sept. 1691

Family and Education

b. 13 Feb. 1645, 3rd s. of Mildmay Fane†, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, being 1st surv. by 2nd w. Mary, da. and coh. of Horace, 1st Baron Vere of Tilbury, Essex, wid. of Sir Roger Townshend, 1st Bt.†, of Raynham Hall, Norf.; half-bro. of Charles Fane†, Lord le Despenser, and Sir Horatio Townshend, 3rd Bt.†  m. 13 July 1671, (with £5–6,000), Rachel (d. 1711), da. and h. of John Bence†, Grocer and merchant, of Bevis Marks, London, 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da.  KB 23 Apr. 1661; suc. half-bro. as 4th Earl of Westmorland 18 Sept. 1691.1

Offices Held

Asst. warden, Rochester bridge 1672–d., warden 1673, 1680, 1687; jt. ld. lt., Kent 1692–d.2


The Fanes were a prominent family of Kentish origin with a long tradition of providing Members of the House of Commons and, more recently, the Lords. They had increased their fortunes through a series of judicious marriages until, by the time of the Restoration, they owned extensive estates in Northamptonshire, where their main seat was Apethorpe, and in Kent, where they owned Mereworth Castle. During the Civil War, Fane’s father had joined the King’s army but was imprisoned from 1643 to 1644 and was one of the first lords to take the Covenant and compound for his estates. Thereafter, his resistance took the quieter form of writing lampoons on the Parliamentarian regime. Fane himself was too young to take part in the politics of the Commonwealth and little is known of his early life. During the Restoration he showed himself to be of Country Whig inclinations, voted later for Exclusion and evidently welcomed the Revolution, although his son’s recollection that he was ‘very active and forward’ in it is not backed up by any contemporary evidence and he is not mentioned in the account of events in Kent during December 1688 given by Sir John Knatchbull, 2nd Bt.* In 1689 Fane failed to be elected as the Whig candidate at Maidstone but combined with other Whigs to engineer the defeat of Sir William Twisden, 3rd Bt.* (who would not sign the Association), in the election for knight of the shire. As the Members for Kent, Fane and Knatchbull were accorded the honour of presenting the county Association to Hon. Henry Sidney† for delivery to King William.3

In the 1690 election for Kent, Fane was persuaded that Knatchbull need not be opposed by a man with better Whig credentials, and both were returned unopposed. The energy Fane displayed in elections was not translated into much activity in the House. He was classed as a Whig in the Marquess of Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) list of the new Parliament. During the summer of 1690, as a deputy-lieutenant and justice for Kent, he was involved in the pursuit and prosecution of suspected Jacobites and malcontents. Fane was listed as a Country supporter in Robert Harley’s* analysis of April 1691.4

On 18 Sept. 1691 Fane inherited the Westmorland title and an estate which by all accounts was much encumbered with debts. According to his son, despite getting some £40,000 from his father-in-law, Westmorland lived beyond his means and his mismanagement contributed to the family’s financial problems. Westmorland did, however, make some attempts to recoup the family fortunes. In 1689 he, Thomas Mun† and John Farthing had claimed to be able to show that the charges of managing the excise were too high and they petitioned to be appointed as the new commissioners. Although the petitioners were allowed to inspect the accounts, Fane seems to have made no financial gain from this project. He was, however, more successful in 1692–3 in having large debts owed to the crown by John and Sir Alexander Bence assigned to himself. This grant was in consideration of his ‘good and faithful services’, which may refer to his performance in the Lords as a supporter of the Court.5

Westmorland died on 29 Dec. 1693, probably from complications brought on by diabetes. His will, made on 29 Dec., left his children in the guardianship of his wife and his lands to be inherited by his eldest son, Vere. Two of his younger sons, Hon. John* (later 7th Earl of Westmorland) and Hon. Mildmay†, sat in Parliament.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Sonya Wynne


  • 1. Add. 34223, f. 4.
  • 2. Traffic and Politics ed. Yates and Gibson, 296; CSP. Dom. 1691–2, p. 155; 1693, p. 212.
  • 3. VCH Northants. Fams. i. 100; Add. 33923, ff. 457–9, 462–3; 34223, f. 4.
  • 4. Add. 33923, ff. 470, 477, 480, 481; HMC Hastings, ii. 370, 388; CSP Dom. 1690–1, pp. 80, 84.
  • 5. HMC Portland, iii. 475; HMC Ancaster, 435; Add. 34223, ff. 4, 6; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 28, 30, 61, 121, 278, 298, 324, 1621; x. 83, 114, 841–2; xvii. 510; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1557–1696, pp. 41, 47–48, 69–71, 80–81, 210; HMC Lords, iv. 51, 297.
  • 6. VCH Northants. Fams. 101; The Ancestor, xi. 148–9; PCC 22 Box.