This text was copied from Wikipedia on 21 July 2024 at 5:10AM.

Richard Fanshawe

Sir Richard Fanshawe, 1st Baronet PC (June 1608 – 16 June 1666) was an English poet and translator. He was a diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1661 to 1666. During the English Civil War he supported the Royalist cause and served Charles II of England in battle and in exile.

Early life

Fanshawe was the fourth and youngest son of Sir Henry Fanshawe, of Ware Park, Hertfordshire and his wife Elizabeth Smythe, daughter of Thomas Smythe, of Ostenhanger Kent and was baptised at Ware on 12 June 1608. His father, who was Remembrancer of the Exchequer, died in 1616.[1]

Fanshawe was admitted at Jesus College, Cambridge in November 1623 and was admitted to Inner Temple on 22 January 1626.[2] He travelled on the Continent, and in 1635 was Secretary to the Embassy at the Court of Spain. In 1638, he was Chargé d'Affaires there.[1] He was an accomplished linguist, whose knowledge of "modern languages" like Spanish and Italian is said to have been a great advantage to him in his diplomatic career.

Civil War

When the Civil War broke out, Fanshawe sided with the King. He was Secretary of War to the Prince of Wales in 1644 and in 1648 had credentials for Spain, where he was sent to obtain money for the cause. From 1648 to 1650, he was Treasurer of the Navy under Prince Rupert. He was created a baronet on 2 September 1650, and soon afterwards was Secretary of State in Scotland to the young King Charles II. He was captured at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651. He was knighted at Breda in April 1660, and made Latin Secretary and Master of Requests for King Charles when in Holland.[1]

Restored monarchy

After the Restoration Fanshawe held various appointments. He represented James, Duke of York at the Coronation on 23 April 1661. In 1661 he was elected Member of Parliament for Cambridge University for the Cavalier Parliament and sat until his death.[3] From 1662 to 1666, he was Ambassador to Portugal and from 1664 to 1666 was also ambassador to Spain.[1] In 1666 Fanshawe was making preparations to return to England when he died suddenly at Siete Chimeneas, his house in Madrid at the age of 58.


His body was returned to England from Spain. He was initially buried at Allhallows, Hertford, and a few years later removed to St Mary's Church, Ware, where there is a monument (a marble aedicule).[1][4]

A portrait of Richard Fanshawe is on display with other portraits of the family at Valence House Museum in east London.


Fanshawe translated Giovanni Battista Guarini's Il pastor fido, Selected Parts of Horace, and The Lusiad of Camoens, the first English translation of the latter work (circulated from 1655 or earlier).


Fanshawe married at Wolvercot, Oxfordshire on 18 May 1644, his second cousin Anne Harrison daughter of Sir John Harrison, of Ball's Park, Ware and Margaret Fanshawe, daughter of Robert Fanshawe of Fanshawe Gate in Holmesfield, Derbyshire.[1] His wife, described as "devoted and able", wrote memoirs of her own life. They had fourteen children, but only five reached adulthood. The baronetcy became extinct on the death of their son Richard.[1]

His brother Thomas was created Viscount Fanshawe.


11 Annotations

First Reading

chip  •  Link

This gentleman, according to Tomalin, preceded Montagu as ambassador to Spain. His wife, Anne, was a memoirist.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

"Sir Richard Fanshawe was a successful Metaphysical poet and Latinist, who performed well as a soldier in the English Civil War and was also a diplomat. He was Ambassador to Portugal and to Spain from 1660 and died at Madrid in 1666. His body and papers were brought back to England by his wife, Ann, Lady Fanshawe, whose Memoirs provide a most loving biography.
Amongst other duties Sir Richard Fanshawe had responsibility for finalizing the marriage of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza. He oversaw the supply and safety of Tangiers and brokered a peace treaty between Spain and Portugal, despite interference from the English Government. Sir Richard's duties included ensuring the well-being of the troops sent to fight for the Portuguese against the Spanish invaders and to protect British trade and traders.

Sir Richard was required to settle disputes within his own family and household, whilst at the same time maintaining contact with his fellow poets. All these responsibilities wore him down and he died of an ague in 1666, soon after presenting his successor [Mountagu] to the court of Spain."
from a Googled Web site,…

vicente  •  Link

Ambassador to
Spain. On June 26, 1666, he died at Madrid of fever at the age of

The England to which his wife brought his body had not fulfilled the
high hopes and dreams of the Restoration. The vice, and laxity of
morals into which it was sinking, would certainly have been repugnant
to the clean-living, high-souled statesman, and we can hardly think
him unhappy in the time of his death.

He was buried with much pomp in the Church of St. Mary at Ware, and
his monument stands in a side chapel near the chancel. There, thirteen
years later, his loyal lady and sprightly biographer was laid beside
him in the vault and beneath the monument which she says: "Cost me two
hundred pounds; and here if God pleases I intend to lie myself."
from her diary from the gutternberg press.

Pedro  •  Link

Sir Richard Fanshawe was one of the very few Englishmen that had a great command of the Portuguese language. He was the intermediary and translator of the correspondence between Catarina and Charles.

He also translated the epic Portuguese poem "Os Lusiadas" into English, and it was published in London in 1655.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

On Sir Richard Fanshaw, Knt. and Bart, in the Church of Ware in Hertfordshire.

Sacred to pious Memory. In a Vault near this Monument lies the Body of the very noble Sir Richard Fanshaw, Knt. and Bart, descended from the antient Family of the Fanshaws of Ware-Park in the County of Hertford, being the tenth Child of Sir Henry Fanshaw Knt.
He married Anne, the eldest Daughter of Sir John Harrison Knight, of Balles in the same County, and had by her six Sons and eight Daughters, of whom Richard, Catherine, Margaret, Anne, and Elizabeth, survived him.
A Man most excellent for the Gentleness of his Manners, the Brightness of his Learning, and his constant Loyalty. In Time past, a joyful Exile, he bravely embraced the Calamities of his most serene King Charles the second, and was made by him Secretary at War. Afterwards, (when the Monarchy was happily restored) he was constituted Master of the Requests, Latin Secretary, and a Privy-Councellor both for England and Ireland. He was Representative in Parliament for the University of Cambridge, and his Majesty's Ambassador to the Courts of Portugal and Spain; at which last, having very gallantly discharged his Commission, he changed a most splendid Life for a lamented Death.
This Monument, and the Vault, were built by his most sorrowful Wife, who also brought Home the Body of her Husband by Land from Madrid.
He died the 16th of June, in the Year of our Lord 1666, of his Age, 59.
---Memorials and characters. J. Wilford, 1741.

Bill  •  Link

Sir Richard Fanshawe, who was the tenth and youngest son of sir Henry Fanshawe, of Ware Park in Hertfordshire, united, in an extraordinary degree, the qualifications of the gentleman, the scholar, and the statesman. He was taken early into the service of Charles I. who, in 1635, appointed him resident to the court of Spain; and, in the last year of his reign, made him treasurer of the navy, under the command of prince Rupert. He was secretary of state to Charles II. during his residence in Scotland: and it was strongly expected that he would have been preferred to the same office after the Restoration: but he was, contrary to his own and the general expectation, appointed master of the requests. He was employed in several important embassies in this reign; particularly in negotiating the marriage betwixt the king and the infanta, and putting the last hand to a peace betwixt the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, which had been for twenty-five years engaged in a ruinous war. He was an exact critic in the Latin tongue, spoke the Spanish with ease and propriety, and perfectly understood the Italian. The politeness of his manners, and the integrity of his life, did not only procure him the love and esteem of his own countrymen, but gained him unusual favour and respect in Spain; among a people notorious for their disregard to strangers, and too apt to overlook all merit but their own. He died at Madrid, June 16, 1666.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Bill  •  Link

FANSHAWE, Sir RICHARD (1608-1666), diplomatist and author; son of Sir Henry Fanshawe; fellow-commoner, Jesus College, Cambridge, 1623; entered the Inner Temple, 1626; given 'credentials for Spain' by Charles I, 1647; ordered to Spain to procure money for the king's cause, 1650; created baronet, 1650; taken prisoner at battle of Worcester, 1651: master of requests and Latin secretary to Prince Charles at the Hague, 1600; M.P., Cambridge University, 1661; privy councillor of Ireland, 1662; ambassador to Portugal, 1662-3; privy councillor, 1663; ambassador to Spain, 1664-6; recalled (1666) for compromising the home government; died at Madrid; left unpublished poems. His published works include translations of Guarini's 'Pastor Fido,' 1647, and of Camoens's 'Lusiad,' 1655.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

Fanshaw, sir Richard, an English gentleman, 10th son of sir Henry Fanshaw of Ware park, Herts, where he was born 1607. After studying at Cambridge, he travelled on the continent, and in 1635 was engaged in the service of Charles I. who sent him as envoy to Spain. In 1644 he attended the king at Oxford, and was made by the university doctor of laws, and afterwards appointed secretary to Charles prince of Wales, whose wanderings he shared in the west of England, and in the islands of Scilly and Jersey. He was treasurer of the navy under Rupert, in 1648, and was created 1650, a baronet by Charles II. and sent as envoy to Spain. He was taken at the battle of Worcester, and imprisoned in London, from which however he was liberated in consequence of a severe illness, by giving bail. In 1659 he visited the king at Breda by whom he was knighted, and at the restoration he was made master of requests, and secretary of the Latin language. He afterwards was ambassador in Portugal, to negotiate the marriage of Charles and the infanta Catharina, and on his return 1663, he was sworn of the privy council. He was in 1664 sent as ambassador to Philip IV. of Spain, with whose successor he concluded a treaty of peace in 1665. He died at Madrid 16th June, 1666, of a fever, as he was preparing to return home. His body was embalmed, and brought over to England and deposited in All Saints' church, Hertford, and afterwards removed to a new vault in Ware church. He had by his wife Anne, daughter of sir John Harrison, six sons, and eight daughters, of whom only one son, and four daughters survived him. Though engaged in political affairs, he found time to write some respectable pieces, and among them a translation in rhyme of Guarini's Pastor Fido, 1646, a translation of Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, into Latin verse - Odes of Horace translated into English - Virgil's fourth AEneid - and Camoens' Lusiad, translated into English, besides some poems, and original letters, published during his embassies in Spain and Portugal, 1702.
---Universal biography. J. Lemprière, 1810.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.


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



  • Jan
  • Apr