Anne Harrison Fanshawe.

Memoirs of Lady Fanshawe, Wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe, bart., ambassador from Charles the Second to the courts of Portugal and Madrid online

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Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading

[Illustration: ANNE, LADY FANSHABE
(From a painting formerly at Parsloes)]




There is a deathless charm, despite the efforts of modern novelists
and playwrights to render it stale and hackneyed, attaching to the
middle of the seventeenth century - that period of upheaval and turmoil
which saw a stately debonnaire Court swept away by the flames of Civil
War, and the reign of an usurper succeeded by the Restoration of a
discredited and fallen dynasty.

So long as the world lasts, events such as the trial and execution of
Charles Stuart will not cease to appeal to the imagination and touch
the hearts of those at least who bring sentiment to bear on the
reading of history.

It is not to the dry-as-dust historian, however, that we go for
illuminating side-lights on this ever-fascinating time, but rather to
the pen-portraits of Clarendon, the noble canvases of Van Dyck, and
above all to the records of individual experience contained in
personal memoirs. Of these none is more charmingly and vivaciously
narrated or of greater historic value and interest than the following
memoir (first published in 1830) of Sir Richard Fanshawe, "Knight and
Baronet, one of the Masters of the Requests, Secretary of the Latin
Tongue, Burgess of the University of Cambridge, and one of His
Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council of England and Ireland, and
His Majesty's Ambassador to Portugal and Spain." It was written by his
widow in the evening of her days, after a life of storm and stress and
many romantic adventures at home and abroad, for the benefit of the
only son who survived to manhood of fourteen children, most of whom
died in their chrisom robes and whose baby bones were laid to rest in
foreign churchyards.

Two contemporaries of Lady Fanshawe, Mrs. Hutchinson and the Duchess
of Newcastle, also wrote lives of their husbands, which continue to
live as classics in our literature. But the Royalist Ambassador's wife
is incomparably more sparkling and anecdotic than the Puritan
Colonel's, and she does not adopt the somewhat tiresome "doormat"
attitude of wifely adoration towards the subject of her memoir which
"Mad Margaret" (as Pepys called her Grace of Newcastle) thought
fitting when she took up her fatally facile pen to endow her idolised
lord with all the virtues and all the graces and every talent under
the sun.

Yet with less lavishly laid on colours, how vivid is the portrait Lady
Fanshawe has painted for posterity of the gallant gentleman and
scholar, one of those "very perfect gentle knights" which that age
produced; loyal and religious, with the straightforward simple piety
that held unwaveringly to the Anglican Church in which he had been
born and brought up.

And of herself, too, she unconsciously presents a series of charming
pictures. The description of her girlhood is a glimpse into the
bringing up of a Cavalier maiden of quality, of the kind that is
invaluable in a reconstruction of the past from the domestic side. In
the town-house in Hart Street which her father, Sir John Harrison,
rented for the winter months from "my Lord Dingwall," where she was
born, her education was carried on "with all the advantages the time
afforded." She learnt French, singing to the lute, the virginals, and
the art of needlework, and confesses that though she was quick at
learning she was very wild and loved "riding, running and all active

One can picture the light-hearted "hoyting girl" breaking loose when
she found herself at Balls in Hertfordshire, where the family spent
the summer, and skipping and jumping for sheer joy at being alive. And
then we see her at fifteen suddenly sobered by the death of her
mother, a lady of "excellent beauty and good understanding," and
taking upon her young shoulders the entire management of her father's
household. With naive satisfaction she tells of how well she succeeded
and how she won the esteem of her mother's relations and friends,
being ever "ambitious to keep the best company," which she thanks God
she did all the days of her life.

Her father, like other loyal gentlemen, cheerfully suffered beggary in
the King's cause. His estates and property were confiscated and he
himself arrested. He managed to escape to Oxford, whither his
daughters followed him, to lodge over a baker's shop in a poor garret
with scarcely any clothes or money, they who had till then lived in
"great plenty and great order."

The seat of learning was strangely transformed by the presence there
of the moribund Court indulging in its last fling of gaieties and
gallantries on the eve of the debacle of Marston Moor. Soldiers
swarmed in the streets and were billeted over the college gates, and
gardens and groves were the trysting-place of courtiers and beautiful
ladies in that fair spring-time. Oxford melted down its plate for the
King and gave up its ancient halls to masques and plays for the
amusement of the Queen.

Sir John Harrison and his young daughters played their part in this
brilliant society. Mistress Anne's tender heart was moved to pity by
the "sad spectacle of war," when starving, half-naked prisoners were
marched past the windows of their lodging, but nothing could damp for
long her high spirits and girlish gaiety. We are told (not by herself,
but by the arch-gossip, old Aubrey) that in the company of Lady
Isabella Thynne, brightest star of the Stuart Court, "fine Mistress
Anne" played a practical joke on Dr. Kettle, the woman-hating
President of Trinity, who resented the intrusion of petticoats into
his garden, "dubbed Daphne by the wits." The lady in question aired
herself there in a fantastic garment cut after the pattern of the
angels, with her page and singing boy wafting perfumes and soft music
before her, an apparition not likely to soothe the gigantic, choleric
doctor. Lady Isabella and her friend Anne Harrison figure in one of
the most graphic and remarkable chapters of "John Inglesant," in which
the author has also drawn largely from these memoirs for a foundation
to one of his imaginary episodes. The girl of eighteen, full of life
and enthusiasm, was doubtless flattered at being taken up by the
fashionable Court beauty, and may have allowed herself to be led into
rather dangerous frolics, till Richard Fanshawe, a connection of her
mother's family whom she had not met before, came to wait on the King
at Christ Church. The two were thrown much together, and we may be
sure Anne's time was now claimed by one she admired even more
fervently than the eccentric Lady Isabella. Sir Richard wooed and won
his fair young kinswoman amidst the alarums of war, and they were
married at Wolvercot Church in May 1644, when the fritillaries were in
bloom along the banks of Isis and Cavaliers still made merry in the
last stronghold of a waning cause.

It must have been a picturesque group which assembled at the altar of
the little quiet country church; the joyous bride with her fair young
sister and handsome father of whom she was so proud, and the genial
bridegroom who was of "more than the common height of men," and so
popular that every one, even the King, called him Dick. Those
troublous times had reduced the fortunes of both Harrisons and
Fanshawes to the lowest ebb, and the young couple started their
married life on 20 pounds and the forlorn hope of their Sovereign's
promise of eventual compensation. When her husband went to Bristol
with the Prince of Wales, we see the young wife left at Oxford, in
delicate health, with scarcely a penny and a dying first-born. She
relates how she was sitting in the garden of St. John's College
breathing the air for the first time after her illness, when a letter
came from Bristol, to her "unspeakable joy" containing fifty gold
pieces and a summons to join Mr. Fanshawe, and how there was a sound
of drums beating in the roadway under the garden wall, and she went up
to the Mount to see Sir Charles Lee's company of soldiers march past,
and as she stood leaning against a tree a volley of shot was fired to
salute her, and she narrowly escaped being hit by a brace of bullets
which struck the tree two inches above her head.

Thus began the long series of separations, reunions, hardships, and
extraordinary adventures which this brave, fair Royalist passed
through. Like Queen Henrietta Maria, she seems hardly ever to have
gone to sea without being nearly "cast away." From Red Abbey in
Ireland she and her babies and servants had to fly at the peril of
their lives through "an unruly tumult with swords in their hands." On
the Isles of Scilly she was put ashore more dead than alive, and
plundered of all her possessions by the sailors. At Portsmouth she and
her husband were fired upon by Dutch men-of-war, and another time they
were shipwrecked in the Bay of Biscay. Yet her buoyant temperament was
never crushed. She might have said with Shakespeare's Beatrice, "A
star danced when I was born," so infinite was her capacity for keeping
on the "windy side of care."

It was the old "hoyting girl" spirit still alive in her which prompted
her to borrow the cabin boy's blue thrum-cap and tarred coat for half
a crown to stand beside her husband on the deck when they were
threatened by a Turkish galley on their way to Spain. But it was the
true womanly spirit, tender, loving, devoted, which, after the Battle
of Worcester, where Sir Richard was made a prisoner, took her every
morning on foot when four boomed from the steeples, along the sleeping
Strand to stand beneath his prison window on the bowling-green at
Whitehall. This happened during the wettest autumn that ever was
known, and "the rain went in at her neck and out at her heels."

Sir Richard was released on parole by Cromwell, and for seven years
the Fanshawes lived in comparative retirement in London and at
Tankersley, the seat of the Lord Strafford in Yorkshire. Here they
planted fruit-trees, and Sir Richard completed most of his literary
work. Even when he was walking out of doors he was seen generally with
some book in his hand, "which oftentimes was poetry." He translated
the "Lusiad" of de Camoens, Guarini's famous pastoral the "Pastor
Fide," and various pieces from Horace and Virgil. In Yorkshire their
favourite little daughter Nan, the "dear companion of her mother's
travels and sorrows," died of small-pox, and they left it for
Hertfordshire, where the news of the Protector's death reached them in

They were allowed now to join the Court in France, and the exiled King
appointed his faithful servant Dick Fanshawe Master of the Requests
and Latin Secretary. He and his wife came home with the King at the
Restoration, and her account of that gala voyage is one of the
brightest and most vivid that has survived. It seems literally to
burst with the jubilation and new hopes born by this event in a long-
distracted country.

Charles II. gave Sir Richard his portrait framed in diamonds, and sent
him first on an embassy to Portugal to negotiate his marriage, and
then appointed him to the still more important post of Ambassador to
Spain. On June 26, 1666, he died at Madrid of fever at the age of

The England to which his wife brought his body had not fulfilled the
high hopes and dreams of the Restoration. The vice, and laxity of
morals into which it was sinking, would certainly have been repugnant
to the clean-living, high-souled statesman, and we can hardly think
him unhappy in the time of his death.

He was buried with much pomp in the Church of St. Mary at Ware, and
his monument stands in a side chapel near the chancel. There, thirteen
years later, his loyal lady and sprightly biographer was laid beside
him in the vault and beneath the monument which she says: "Cost me two
hundred pounds; and here if God pleases I intend to lie myself."

An unfinished sentence gives a pathetic close to these pages, so full
of touches of humour, keen observation and racy anecdote. It would
seem as if the hand which wielded so descriptive and ready a pen had
wearied of its task; as if, at last, the sunny nature was overcast and
the merry heart saddened. But surely not another word is needed to
make the narrative more perfect. Those who first become acquainted
with it in this reprint will meet with many things less familiar than
Lady Fanshawe's moving account of her leave-taking from Charles I. at
Hampton Court, which has been quoted hundreds of times. They will be
thrilled by at least three stories of the supernatural told with the
elan and consummate simplicity that exceeds art, and they will be
charmed with the ingenuousness of the writer when she writes about
herself, and her masterly little sketches by the way of such
characters of the time as Sir Kenelm Digby and Lord Goring, son of the
Earl of Norwich. Indeed, we venture to think they cannot fail to find
the whole book delightful, because, though relating to a long-vanished
past, it is as livingly human and fresh as if written yesterday.



As will be seen from the rough pedigree appended, the Baronetcy became
extinct in 1694 with Sir Richard, Lady Fanshawe's son; while the
Viscountcy, which was given to this Sir Richard's uncle, Thomas, came
to an end in 1716 with Simon, the fifth Viscount. The knightly and
lordly branches having failed, the tail male was represented by the
Fanshawes of Jenkins, of Parsloes, and of Great Singleton.

The first branch became extinct in 1705, Sir Thomas Fanshawe of
Jenkins leaving no male issue, and thus the heirlooms have descended
to the two latter branches. The representatives of both these families
possess the portraits, manuscripts, &c., many of which came originally
from Ware Park,[Footnote: By the will of Sir Henry Fanshawe, who dies
in 1616, it appears that some of the older pictures came from the
"gallery," and his house in Warwick Lane. He directed they should be
brought to Ware Park and remain as heirlooms.] the parental house of
Lady Fanshawe's Royalist husband, as well as from Jenkins and

But before speaking of the heirlooms it may not be out of place to say
something of these old seats of the Fanshawes and one or two other
places mentioned in the Memoirs.

Parsloes, which stands partly in the parish of Barking and partly in
Dagenham (Essex), is now in a very forlorn and dilapidated condition.
Alterations that have been made from time to time, particularly the
embellishments of 1814, which have somewhat given the old mansion a
Strawberry-Hill-Gothic appearance, have in a measure destroyed its
original character. Yet some panelled rooms remain, and some fine
carved stone fireplaces that were removed here many years ago from the
adjacent Elizabethan mansion, Eastbury House. [Footnote: Vide
"Picturesque Old Houses."]

Jenkins, the more important estate, which passed away from the family
in the early part of the eighteenth century, was a large square-moated
timber house with two towers. Remains of the old fishponds and
terraces may still be traced (about a mile from Parsloes), but nothing
remains of the house or of a later structure which followed it.
Indeed, the very name is now forgotten.

The mansion Ware Park has also long since been pulled down and
rebuilt. It was sold owing to Sir Henry Fanshawe's losses in the
Royalist cause.

Of the Derbyshire seat, Fanshawe Gate, at Holmesfield near Dronfield,
there are still some picturesque remains, and the Church of Dronfield
contains some good sixteenth-century brasses to the early members of
the family.

Lady Fanshawe's parental house, Balls Park, near Hertford, though much
modernised of recent years, dates back from the reign of Charles I. By
intermarriage the estate passed to the Townshends, and the late
Marquis sold it a few years ago.

Among the Townshend heirlooms which were dispersed in March 1904, were
many portraits of the Harrisons, including a fine full-length of Lady
Anne's Cavalier brother, William, who died fighting for the King in
1643.[Footnote: As the present owner of Balls Park, Sir G. Faudel-
Phillips, was a conspicuous purchaser at this sale, it may be presumed
some of the Harrison portraits have found their way back to their
original home.]

"Little Grove," East Barnet, another place mentioned in the Memoirs,
was rebuilt in 1719, and renamed "New Place."

It would be interesting if the position of Lady Fanshawe's lodgings in
Chancery Lane, "at my cousin Young's," could be located. The house
there that her husband rented from Sir George Carey in 1655-6, in all
probability was the same which is mentioned in the artist George
Vertue's MS. Collections as the old timber house that was once the
dwelling of Cardinal Wolsey. In a "great room above stairs," he said,
were carved arms and supporters of the Carews [Careys], who had
repaired the ceilings, &c. At the time he wrote the building was used
as a tavern. [Footnote: Vide Notes and Queries. Second Series, vol.
xii., pp. 1, 81; also Middlesex and Hertfordshire Notes and Querie.,
vol. iii., p. 30.] The house on the north side of Lincoln's Inn Fields
known as "The Pine Apples," where Lady Fanshawe was living at the time
of her husband's death, has disappeared with the other old residences
on that side of the square. Nothing is said in the Memoirs to locate
the building where she met her husband when he was brought to London a
prisoner after Worcester fight. The room in Whitehall facing the
Bowling-green of course perished in the fire which destroyed the
Palace at the end of the seventeenth century. [Footnote: A description
of Borstal Tower mentioned in the Memoirs will be found in
"Picturesque Old Houses."]

In regard to the monument of Sir Richard in Ware Church, which was
erected to his memory by Lady Fanshawe, it is strange that there is no
record of the interment in the Register. In the Register of All Saints
Church, Hertford,[Footnote: The old church, including a fine monument
to the Harrisons, was completely destroyed by fire a few years ago.]
however, it is stated that the body was first interred in Sir John
Harrison's vault: - "1671, May 18. Sir Richard Fanshawe, Ambassador,
was taken out of this vault and laid in his vault at Ware." The
monument was formerly in the Chapel at the south side of Ware Church,
and was afterwards removed to the east wall of the south transept. No
memorial marks the last resting-place of Lady Fanshawe. She was
interred in the new vault that had been prepared for her husband under
St. Mary's Chapel.

As before stated, the family portraits are now in the possession of
the descendants of the half-brothers William [Footnote: It was William
who married Mary Sarsfield, nee Walter, the Duke of Monmouth's sister.
Vide "King Monmouth."] and John Fanshawe, the sons of Lady Fanshawe's
cousin, John Fanshawe.

The portraits of the Parsloes branch remained in the old Essex house
until some thirty years ago, when they were removed to a town
residence. They included Lady Fanshawe's portrait (reproduced here),
the original of that engraved in her Memoirs in 1830 (by no means too
faithfully); portraits of her husband Sir Richard, by Dobson
[Footnote: An interesting portrait of Sir Richard in fancy dress by
Dobson is at West Horsley Place.] and Lely; Sir Simon (the rake), with
Naseby Field in the background: Sir Richard's grandfather, Thomas,
Remembrancer to Queen Elizabeth; Alice, the second wife of Sir
Richard's cousin, John of Parsloes (the daughter of his cousin Sir
Thomas Fanshawe of Jenkins, and the mother-in-law of the Duke of
Monmouth's half-sister, Mary Walter); Sir Richard's nephew, Thomas,
the second Viscount (in breastplate and flowing wig), and his second
wife, Lady Sarah, the daughter of Sir John Evelyn and widow of Sir
John Wray. [Footnote: The ancient Lincolnshire family of Wray is
mentioned in the Introduction of "King Monmouth" in connection with
the remarkable portrait of the Duke after decapitation, which formerly
was in the possession of Sir Cecil Wray. Since writing on this subject
it occurs to me that it is very possible that the picture may have
come originally to the Wrays through Lady Sarah Fanshawe, her husband
being a cousin of the Duke's sister's second husband. Mary Fanshawe,
nee Walter, it is very possible may have come into the possession of
the portrait (perhaps after Henrietta, Lady Wentworth's death, for
whom there is a tradition the picture was originally painted), and her
straitened circumstances may have induced her to part with the work to
the relatives of her kinswoman.]

The original MS. of the Memoirs (of which, thanks to the courtesy of
the owner, Mr. E. J. Fanshawe, I am able to give an illustration) is
bound in old red leather, and bears the Fanshawe arms. It was written
in 1676 for Lady Fanshawe's "most dear and only" surviving son. This
Sir Richard, the second Baronet, died in Clerkenwell in July 1694,
having some years previously had the misfortune through illness to
become deaf and dumb.

Comment at various times has been made upon the inaccuracy of the
printed Memoirs, but judging from a personal inspection of the
original, there appear to be but few serious errors. [Footnote:
"Turning" for "Trimming instruments" (in Lady Anne's will), and such
like slips. See p. 29.]

It must, however, be pointed out that the editor, Sir Harris Nicholas,
only used a COPY of the Memoirs which was made from the original in
1766 by Charlotte Colman, Lady Fanshawe's great grand-daughter. The
editor's transcript, though made ten years later, was not published
until half a century afterwards. [Footnote: Vide Preface of 1830
Edition.] I draw attention to this fact as the Rev. T. L. Fanshawe,
the grandfather of the present owner of the MS., was under the
impression that his original Memoirs when lent to a friend had been
copied and printed without permission, which in the face of the above
statement could not have been the case. [Footnote: I have been
indebted to Mr. Walter Crouch, Mr. R. T. Andrews, and to Mr. H. W.
King's Notes on the Fanshawe Family, 1868-72, for some of the above











Anne, Lady Fanshawe....Frontispiece
From a painting formerly at Parsloes

The Original Manuscript of the Fanshawe Memoirs

Ware Park, Hertfordshire
From an old print in the possession of R. T. Andrews, Esq.

Parsloes, Essex
Present day

Sir Richard Fanshawe, Bart
From a painting by Lely in the possession of Captain Stirling

Anne, Lady Fanshawe
From a painting by Lely in the possession of Captain Stirling

The arrival of Catherine of Braganza at Portsmouth, on May 14, 1662
From a contemporary print

The Queen's arrival at Whitehall, August 23, 1662
(vide Pepys' Diary of that date)
From a contemporary print

Anne, Lady Fanshawe
From an old print in the possession of E. J. Fanshawe, Esq.

Sir Richard Fanshawe, Bart
From an engraving by Farthorne in the possession of E. J. Fanshawe,

All Saints' Church, Hertford
From an old print in the possession of R. T. Andrews, Esq.

Monument in Ware Church Erected to the Memory of her husband by Lady


It may, possibly, be thought unnecessary to prefix to this work a
biographical sketch of the persons whose careers are faithfully
related in it; and it may be considered an act of imprudence to place
the cold and measured statements of an Editor in juxta-position with
the nervous and glowing narrative of the amiable historian of the
lives of her husband and herself. The latter objection, however true,
ought not to prevent such remarks being made as may cause her labours
to be better understood, and more highly appreciated; especially, as
information can be supplied, and in a few instances, comments
submitted, which may render that justice to the writer it was
impossible for her to do to herself.

These pages will, however, contain a statement of the chief events of

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Online LibraryAnne Harrison FanshaweMemoirs of Lady Fanshawe, Wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe, bart., ambassador from Charles the Second to the courts of Portugal and Madrid → online text (page 1 of 18)