FANE, Sir Henry (c.1650-1706), of Basildon, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c. 1650, o.s. of Hon. George Fane. m. lic. 28 Apr. 1668, aged 18, Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Southcote of Exeter, Devon, and h. to her nephew George Southcote of Calwoodley, Devon, 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 1da. KB 23 Apr. 1661; suc. fa. 1663.1
J.p. Devon 1674-87, Berks. 1675-87, by 1701-d.; commr. for assessment, Berks. 1677-80, Devon 1679-80, Berks. and Devon 1689-90.
Commr. for excise Apr.-Oct. 1689, forfeited estates [I] 1690; PC [I] 1690-d.2
Fane was the favourite nephew of the masterful Countess of Bath, who obtained a KB for him at the coronation of Charles II and settled on him her Irish estates. But he inherited a grievance against the crown, which had failed to give his father any compensation for the abolition of his office in the court of wards, and became a Whig. He first stood for Reading, eight miles downstream from his residence, at the general election of 1685, but the poll was refused on the grounds that he was not a freeman. The election was declared void, but he did not contest the by-election, and was removed from local office in 1687, probably at the instance of Lord Clarendon (Henry Hyde). His name was sent to William III on a list of the Opposition to James II. He was expected to contest Reading in the summer of 1688, and is said to have accompanied Lord Lovelace (John Lovelace) in his attempt to join the Prince of Orange in November. At the general election of 1689 he defeated Clarendon’s son Cornbury (Edward Hyde). His appointment as commissioner of excise lasted only six months, and was probably intended to secure the acceptance of a scheme of reform submitted by a syndicate headed by his cousin, Sir Vere Fane. His only committee in the Convention was for the relief of distressed Irish Protestants, but he supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He continued to sit for Reading as a Whig in the next two Parliaments, though his chief interests seem to have lain in Ireland. He was buried at Basildon on 12 Jan. 1706. His son, after sitting in the Lower House of the Irish Parliament, was made an Irish peer, and his grandson sat for Reading from 1754 to 1761.3