Scope and Content

The Fane Papers currently held by Oxfordshire Archives were deposited on four occassions, in 1951, 1952, 1956 and 1961, and given the respective accession numbers 189, 209, 292 and 402. The 1951 and 1952 deposits were part of one large deposit made at Essex Record Office in 1951. This was divided up between papers referring to Oxfordshire properties and Essex ones, and the Oxfordshire papers sent here. The later deposits were made directly with Oxfordshire. Part of the papers were catalogued in the 1950s, under the reference Fa. A concordance of old and new reference numbers is provided.

The Oxfordshire Fanes are a cadet branch of the family of the Earls of Westmoreland. They first became linked with this county in 1752, when they inherited the Manor and estates of Wormsley, near Stokenchurch. Wormsley has belonged to the Scrope family, whose members included Adrian Scrope, one of the regicides of Charles I. The last male member of the family was Adrian's grandson John Scrope, A Secretary to the treasury, whose sister Anne (d.1720), had married Henry Fane (d.1726). The property therefore went to Henry's eldest son Francis, who died without heirs in 1757. Since the next brother, Thomas, had inherited the earldom of Westmoreland, the estate passed on to the youngest brother, another Henry (d.1777). All later Fanes of Wormsley were direct descendants from this Henry. The property was sold in the late 1980s.

Henry Fane married three times, his last wife being Charlotte Luther, daughter of Richard Luther of Myles, Kelvedon Hatch, Essex. The Luthers owned extensive property in South Essex, much of it inherited from the Dawtrey family of Doddinghurst. The Dawtreys had originally come from Sussex, and had inherited almost all of their estates in Essex through the marriage in 1574 between William Dawtrey (II) and Dorothy Stonley, daughter of Richard Stonley, one of the tellers of the receipts of the Exchequer. Richard Luther's father, Edward, married a Sarah Dawtrey in 1698, and Sarah's brother William Dawtrey (IV) died in 1758 without issue. All his property therefore then went to his nephew Richard Luther.

Richard Luther had only one son, John, who died in 1786 also without issue. Since Charlotte Fane had been his eldest sister, her children inherited the property. By his will in 1776, John Luther had created an entail on his land, bequeathing it first to Charlotte's younger son, Francis Fane. Francis died in 1813 without issue, and the Essex property went, in accordance with John Luther's entail (which was barred by the Fanes in 1822), to Francis' elder brother John (I), who had already inherited the Wormsley estate on the death of his father in 1777.

By 1813 therefore, the Fanes of Wormsley owned estates in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Suffolk inherited variously from the Scrope, Dawtrey and Luther families. The arrangement of the papers therefore reflects the different strands in this story. Most documents usually provide some indication of the group to which they belong. Some items, however, proved harder to fit in, although the majority of these could be sorted out because of cross-references in other documents, both in Oxford and Essex. The papers have been divided into eight parts, as follows:

E4/1 concerns the Dawtrey family, until the male line became extinct in 1758, with some papers of the Stonley family from the 1590s.

E4/2 concerns the Luther family until 1758, when it inherited the Dawtrey property.

E4/3 concerns the Luther family between 1758 and the extinction of its male line in 1786.

E4/4 concerns the Scrope family up to the extinction of its male line in 1752.

E4/5 concerns the Wormsley Fanes until they inherited the Essex estates in 1813.

E4/6 concerns Francis Fane's tenure of the Essex estates between 1786 and 1813.

E4/7 concerns the Wormsley Fanes from 1813, when all the above properties had finally come under its ownership.

E4/8 contains that material found with the Fane papers which it proved impossible to link with certainty to any branches of the family.

Both the Fanes and Dawtreys used certain Christian names frequently, and this may confuse the reader. In an attempt to clarify matters, everyone bearing the name John Fane or William Dawtrey bears a Roman numberal as suffix to indicate which one is which. Especially confusion may arise because John Fane (I) and John Fane (II) both married wives called Elizabeth. However, the two Elizabeths can more easily be distinguished because John (I)'s wife was a daughter of the Earl of Macclesfield, and was therefore always referred to under her courtesy title of Lady Elizabeth Fane.


Burke's Peerage and Burke's Landed Gentry - and recent edition (both include genealogies of the whole Fane family, including the Wormsley branch).

Mrs A. Butter (nee Fane) Notes of the Fanes of Oxon (1935, revised by Rosemary Butter in 1963). This only exists in TS, and a copy is available at Oxfordshire Record Office.

Recatalogued by Robin Darwall-Smith in 1993.

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