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Sir Stephen Fox
Sir Stephen Fox (1627–1716) by John James Baker.jpg
Portrait by John James Baker at the Royal Hospital Chelsea
Personal details
Born(1627-03-27)27 March 1627
Farley, Wiltshire
Died28 October 1716(1716-10-28) (aged 89)
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Whittle
Christiana Hope
Children14 children including
Stephen Fox-Strangways, 1st Earl of Ilchester
Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland
Canting arms of Fox: Ermine, on a chevron azure three fox's heads and necks erased or on a canton of the second a fleur-de-lys of the third

Sir Stephen Fox (27 March 1627 – 28 October 1716) was an English politician.


Stephen Fox was the son of William Fox, of Farley, in Wiltshire, a yeoman farmer.

Stephen was a Chorister of Salisbury Cathedral (c. 1634 – c. 1640) (Noted in John Evelyn’s Diary as ‘…a poore boy from the quire of Salisbury’ ).

At the age of fifteen he first obtained a post in the household of Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland; then he entered the service of Lord Percy, the earl's brother, and was present with the royalist army at the Battle of Worcester as Lord Percy's deputy at the ordnance board. Accompanying Charles II in his flight to the continent, he was appointed manager of the royal household, on the recommendation of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon. Clarendon described him as "a young man bred under the severe discipline of Lord Percy ... very well qualified with languages, and all other parts of clerkship, honesty and discretion".

The skill with which Fox managed the finances of the exiled court earned him further confidence and promotion. He was employed on several important missions, and acted eventually as intermediary between the king and General Monck. Honours and emolument were his reward after the Restoration; he was appointed to the lucrative offices of first Clerk of the Green Cloth and Paymaster of the Forces.

In November 1661, he became Member of Parliament for Salisbury. In 1665 he was knighted; was returned as MP for Westminster on 27 February 1679, and succeeded the Earl of Rochester as a commissioner of the treasury, filling that office for twenty-three years and during three reigns. He bought the Redlynch estate in Somerset in 1672 and built a new house there in 1708–09. [1]

In 1680 he resigned the paymastership and was made first commissioner of horse. In 1684, he became sole commissioner of horse. He was offered a peerage by James II, on condition of turning Roman Catholic, but refused, in spite of which he was allowed to retain his commissionerships. In 1685 he was again M.P. for Salisbury, and opposed the bill for a standing army supported by the king. During the Revolution, he maintained an attitude of decent reserve, but on James's flight, submitted to William III, who confirmed him in his offices. He was again elected for Westminster in 1691 and 1695, for Cricklade in 1698, and finally in 1713 once more for Salisbury.

It is his distinction to have founded Royal Hospital Chelsea, to which he contributed £13,000. As a statesman he was second-rater, but as a public servant he creditably discharged all the duties with which he was entrusted. Unlike some other statesmen of his day, he grew rich in the service of the nation without being suspected of corruption or forfeiting the esteem of his contemporaries.


Stephen Fox was married twice.

Firstly on 8 December 1651 to Elizabeth Whittle (died 11 August 1696), daughter of William Whittle and wife, with issue seven sons, all of whom predeceased him, and three daughters including:

Secondly on 11 July 1703 to Christiana Hope (died 17 February 1718), daughter of Rev. Francis Hope and wife Christian Palfreyman, with issue two sons and two daughters, including:


  1. ^ Historic England. "Redlynch Park (1000420)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 November cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  • Sir Egerton Brydges, Collins's peerage of England; genealogical, biographical, and historical (1812) pp. 529–538
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Edward Tooker
Francis Swanton
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
With: Edward Tooker 1661–1664
Edward Hyde 1664–1665
Richard Colman 1665–1673
William Swanton 1673–1679
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Mompesson
Alexander Thistlethwayte
Preceded by
Sir Philip Warwick
Sir Richard Everard
Member of Parliament for Westminster
With: Sir William Pulteney
Succeeded by
Sir William Pulteney
Francis Wythens
Preceded by
Alexander Thistlethwayte
John Wyndham
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
With: John Wyndham
Succeeded by
Thomas Hoby
Giles Eyre
Preceded by
Sir William Pulteney
Sir Walter Clarges
Member of Parliament for Westminster
With: Sir Walter Clarges 1691–1695
Charles Montagu 1695–1698
Succeeded by
Charles Montagu
James Vernon
Preceded by
Charles Fox
Edward Pleydell
Member of Parliament for Cricklade
With: Edward Pleydell 1699–1701
Edmund Dunch 1701–1702
Succeeded by
Thomas Richmond Webb
Samuel Barker
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Charles Fox
Richard Jones
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
With: Richard Jones
Succeeded by
Francis Swanton
Edmund Lambert
Political offices
Preceded by
Paymaster of the Forces
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Puckering Newton
Preceded by
Sir Henry Puckering Newton
Paymaster of the Forces
Succeeded by
Nicholas Johnson
William Fox

1893 text

Stephen Fox, born 1627, and said to have been a choir-boy in Salisbury Cathedral. He was the first person to announce the death of Cromwell to Charles II., and at the Restoration he was made Clerk of the Green Cloth, and afterwards Paymaster of the Forces. He was knighted in 1665. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Whittle of Lancashire. (See June 25th, 1660.) Fox died in 1716. His sons Stephen and Henry were created respectively Earl of Ilchester and Lord Holland.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

10 Annotations

vincent  •  Link

more on stephen fox
"...Sir Stephen Fox (1627

vincent  •  Link

confusion? Ilchester was from Sir Stephen Fox who died 17feb 1718/19 was married 11 jul 1703 Rather late for first effort{maybe a son of the horn player}
Sir Stephen Fox and Christian Hopes had the following children
Stephen fox 1st Earl of Ilchester
Charlotte Fox
same Sir Stephen Fox or son ???

anonymous  •  Link

Stephen Fox, gentlemen, was a yeoman who rose in status to become a governmental minister and minor nobleman. He was knighted in 1665 by King Charles II. King James II later offered Sir Stephen a peerage(probably a barony)upon the condition that he would convert to Roman Catholicism. Sir Stephen Fox refused to become a Papist and, thus, did not become a peer, which is fortunate, since he did not deserve a peerage, and there were already too many Lords Temporal.

anonymous  •  Link

Gentlemen, I apologise for any redundancy.

anonymous  •  Link

The Right Honourable Charles James Fox, the infamous Whig, was amongst his grandsons, I believe. Of course, gentlemen, I am certainly not attempting to insult a grandfather who has long been in his grave.

Pedro.  •  Link

"He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Whittle of Lancashire."

According to Tomalin, Sam admired Elizabeth Whittle when she lodged in the house of another Montagu connection in Salisbury Court.

anonymous  •  Link


I am uncertain, sir, but a mistake was probably made.

anonymous  •  Link

I stand corrected. For, he was twice married.

Bill  •  Link

FOX, SIR STEPHEN (1627-1716), statesman; aided Charles II to escape after Worcester, 1651, and managed the prince's household while in Holland; employed on secret missions to England, 1658-60; paymaster-general, 1661; M.P. for Salisbury, 1661; knighted, 1665; opposed his patron Clarendon's impeachment, 1667; M.P., Westminster, and a commissioner of the treasury, 1679; first commissioner of horse, 1680, and sole commissioner, 1684; suggested and himself contributed towards the foundation of Chelsea Hospital, and built churches, schools, and almshouses; refused a peerage from James II and opposed the bill for a standing army; remained at the treasury under William III; led the Commons in procession at the coronation of Queen Anne, 1702, and was for a time commissioner of horse; M.P., Salisbury, 1714.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

Sir Stephen Fox, from a poor soot-boy, and then singing-boy, has got in place by the court, 150000l. clerk of the green cloth.
---A Seasonable Argument ... for a New Parliament. Andrew Marvell, [1677] 1776.

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