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The 1st Earl of Craven.

William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven, PC (June 1608 – 9 April 1697) was an English nobleman and soldier.

His father William Craven was born in a poor family in Appletreewick in North Yorkshire but moved to London, became wealthy, and was Lord Mayor of London in 1610.[1][2]

Craven fought for Frederick V on the Continent and fell in love with his wife, Elizabeth of Bohemia. Still being absent during the English Civil War, he supported this lady's brother, Charles I, financially rather than in person and, therefore, had all his lands – largely in Berkshire, but including his main country seat at Caversham Park in Oxfordshire – confiscated. After the Restoration, he set about planning to build a vast palace for Elizabeth at Hamstead Marshall in Berkshire with a hunting lodge at nearby Ashdown (now in Oxfordshire), but she died before construction began.

After the Restoration, he was rewarded with several Court offices and given an earldom. He was granted a share in the Colony of Carolina and served as one of its Lord Proprietors. As a Privy Councillor he seems to have been diligent enough: Pepys in his Diary regularly mentions his attendance at the Committee for Tangier and his chairing the Committee on Fisheries. In the latter role Pepys was rather shocked by his bawdy language which Pepys thought improper in a councillor (though perhaps natural in an old soldier). In 1678 we read of his presence at the historic Council meeting where Titus Oates first publicised, the Popish Plot.

Pepys' attitude to Craven varies in the Diary- on the one hand he calls him a coxcomb and criticises his chairing of the Fisheries Committee; at other times he is glad that Craven is his "very good friend". Whatever Pepys's opinion of him, Craven earned the lasting respect and gratitude of the people of London during the Great Plague when unlike the great majority of noblemen who fled to the country, he remained in London helping to maintain order and donating property for burial grounds.

Craven County, North Carolina is named after William.

An older Craven.


  1. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Sir William Craven". Retrieved 20 August 2008. 
  2. ^ "History of Burnsall School". Archived from the original on 7 February 2006. Retrieved 20 August 2008. 

Further reading

Military offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Albemarle
Colonel of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards
Succeeded by
Thomas Tollemache
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Lovelace
Custos Rotulorum of Berkshire
Succeeded by
The Duke of Norfok
Preceded by
Sir Edward Nicholas
Custos Rotulorum of Middlesex
Succeeded by
The Earl of Clare
Preceded by
The Duke of Albemarle
Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Craven
Baron Craven
Succeeded by
William Craven

6 Annotations

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
(1608-97). Soldier and courtier. He served abroad with the Dutch in the 1620s, and became the champion of James I's daughter, Elizabeth, 'Winter Queen' of Bohemia, fighting in her cause under Gustavus Adolphus. He established himself as her principal adviser and spent much of his large fortune on her cause.....

vicente  •  Link

from J.Evelyn p337: 8 june 54 : He had a house at Causam [Reading]"... saw my Lord Cravons house at Causam nowin ruins,his goodly woods felling by the Rebells:
mentioned in the future 3 times.

anonymous  •  Link

Upon the death of Sir George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, in 1670, Lord Craven was commissioned colonel of the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards.

Pedro  •  Link


In September 1662 a regiment of Foot was raised under the Earl of Craven, and were known as Craven’s Foot. It was disbanded in 1664.

Bill  •  Link

The earl of Craven was colonel of the Coldstream regiment of foot-guards, and one of the privy-council to Charles II. He is said to have been secretly married to the queen of Bohemia, the king's aunt. It is certain that he was much in her favour and confidence. The duke of Albemarle and this lord continued in London, and prevented much mischief during the pestilence. He died April 19, 1687, in the 88th year of his age.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Bill  •  Link

William, first Earl of Craven, eldest son of Sir William Craven, born 1606. Knighted by Charles I. in 1627, and a few days later created Baron Craven of Hampstead Marshall, Berks. He was rich, and aided the king with money; but in 1649 his estates were confiscated. He recovered them at the Restoration, and in 1664 he was created Earl of Craven. High Steward of the University of Cambridge, 1667, and Master of the Trinity House, 1670-71. He was a devoted adherent of the Queen of Bohemia, and was supposed to be married to her, but there is no direct evidence of such marriage. He died April 9th, 1697.
---Wheatley, 1899.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.