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Absentee Landlords

The death of Sir Thomas Fane in 1589 marked the end of Badsell Manor as an important house. His son Francis, the first Earl of Westmoreland lived in Mereworth Castle and the Manor was either run by a steward or rented to tenants from then until the estate was eventually broken up and sold in 1917 more than three hundred years later. 

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'Bradsell' as depicted on Robert Morden's map of 1695 

When Francis Fane died he left part of his estate, including Badsell Manor, to his younger brother Sir George Fane, who lived at Burston. George died in 1640 and left Badsell, together with the rest of his property to his son, another Thomas Fane. This Thomas was an army colonel and one can imagine that with his army duties and other estate responsibilities he may have had little time to care about Badsell. He was unmarried when he died in 1692 and left his estate to a two year old second cousin, Mildmay Fane, the seventh son of Vere Fane, Earl of Westmoreland. Apparently his intention was that by leaving his estate to the youngest of the earl’s sons (and the last in immediate line of inheritance) his manors and his title would not be combined with that of the Earls of Westmoreland. Whether this was simply to perpetuate the name of Fane or for other reasons, is unknown but his intentions were thwarted as Mildmay died at twenty-five, unmarried. As a result Badsell Manor passed to Thomas Fane the 6th Earl of Westmoreland in 1715, his oldest brother. 

The Earls of Westmoreland importance spiralled as the years passed and Thomas Fane, the 6th Earl, held many important posts include that of First Lord of Trade and the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire. His interests in Badsell are unlikely to have been great. The sixth earl died in 1736 , yet another member of the family to die without issue. As a result his estate, together with Badsell Manor, passed to his younger brother John, who was created 7th Earl on Thomas’s death. 

The seventh earl was a colonel in the Horse Guards and was a member of parliament for various constituencies. He is probably most famous for the re-building of Mereworth Castle. When he died in 1781, again without children, much of his estate (but not the earldom) passed to his sister Mary’s son Sir Francis Dashwood, a Chancellor of the Exchequer and famous member of the Hellfire Club. Sir Francis, although married, was yet another member of the family to have no children. 


Sir Francis Dashwood 

During his lifetime Sir Francis Dashwood confirmed his right to his mother’s family title of the Barony of le Despencer. This title passed along with his estates to his heir, a first cousin twice removed, Sir Thomas Stapleton. Unlike his relatives, Sir Thomas was blessed with a number of children but all five sons pre-deceased him and as a result the ownership of Badsell Manor passed to his nine year old grand-daughter Mary Stapleton, in 1831. In due course Mary was to marry Evelyn Boscawen the 6th Lord Falmouth. On her death in 1891 the ownership of Badsell Manor passed to her son, another Evelyn Boscawen, the 7th Lord Falmouth; he sold the manor in 1917, a year before his death. From then onward, after a gap of 328 years, the manor has once again been lived in by its owners.


xlvii. From Wikipedia which quotes sources as Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 3, page 4134. and George Naylor, The Register's of Thorrington (n.n.: n.n., 1888). 

xlviii. From Wikipedia which quotes references as Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958. 

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