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Sir Francis Crane


Sir Francis Crane

1579 - 1636

Calendar of State Papers, Domestic 1629-1631 p. 442 ? 1630

Lands at Grafton
Suggested agreement with Sir Francis Crane for the sale of lands at Grafton, Northants, assured to him as a security for £7,500 advanced to the king, with proposals for the establishment of the manufacture of tapestry within the manor house of Grafton and the bringing up within the same of a constant succession of two boys as apprentices to be instructed in that art.

The Earl of Stafforde's letters and dispatches, ed. W. Knowler (Dublin 1740) I p. 261 

The Mortgage of Grafton Manor
1634 Mr Garrard to the Lord Deputy. Your Lordship no doubt hath heard of a writing that Sir Robert Osborne, an old servant of King James's, who served him as a querry, gave the king about the manor of Grafton, mortgaged to Sir Francis Crane for £7,500 where Osborne dwells and is one of the king's tenants. It made a great noise: the Lord Treasurer caused Osborne to be called before the Lord, where he averr'd what he had formerly delivered in writing to his Majesty. The Lord Treasurer replied that since it was in everybody's mouth in the town, that Grafton was sold without his Majesty's knowledge, he hoped his Majesty would have him excused, if he had sought to make the truth appeat of the whole carriage of that business and in what state now it was. The king had taken well what Osborne had said unto him, but hearing how he had divulged it, he said for that he thought him worthy of being committed. The Lord Privy Seal interceded for him, whom the Lord Treasurer seconded, so he was spared for that time. The man is strait and a very honest gentleman and the business lying betwixt him and Sir Francis Crane, spake very home what he conceived. For, knowing that he did all the acts of an owner, he conceived it to be his, for he said, he received all the rents, kept the courts in his own name, pulled down houses and set up new, had his own stewards, his own auditors, had given four church livings, made leases for years and took fines. How he made this appear I know not, or what Sir Francis Crane's reply was; but that week he was committed to the Fleet, but staid there not above two or three days, and is gone home. All it hath wrought is, that the king hath commanded that this manor be presently disengaged of this sum it stood mortgaged for. It was mortgaged in the Lord Treasurer Marleburghe's time.

p 336 1634 Your Lordship hath heard of Sir Miles Fleetwood's Commission to go let leases for thirty-one years in the manor of Grafton; his Majesty's Commission he received from the Lord Treasurer; and, as I hear since my coming to Town, hath raised up it, without sale of woods, but only making up the tenants estates thirty-one years, eighteen thousand pounds. Much of it is paid in already, whereof some hath been tended to Sir Francis Crane, but he refuseth his acquittance upon those terms it is offered. Shortly this business is to be heard before the Lords at the Council -table, I believe publickly; for that Sir Francis Crane desires many of his friends to be there at the hearing of it. On the other side Sir Miles Fleetwood petitions the king to be rid of the money, desires that the mortgaged may be discharged, so that the tenants may have their assurances perfected and may pay in the rest of their money.

p 524 1635 At the latter end of the term, Sir Miles Fleetwood and Sir Francis Crane had a great tug in the Exchequer-Chamber about Grafton business, wherein Sir Miles made good his evidence to the full, but judgment was not then given. The king took it into his hands and since hath heard it privately, but remitted back the cause to the Exchequer-Chamber where next term it will be judged, where Crane will have the worse end of the staff, if he lives to see it, for, he is gone to Paris to be cut for the stone in the bladder.

Calendar of State Papers, Domestic 1635-1636 p. 25 ? 1635
Money loaned to King Charles
Sir Robert Osborne to the king. The honor of Grafton has been mortgaged by his Majesty to Sir Francis Crane for £7,600. "It is the bravest and best seat in the kingdom, a seat for a prince and not a subject." For the good of his Majesty's children he hopes he will redeem the mortgage. The forfeiture is taken and all his Majesty's tenants pay their rents to Sir Francis Crane. Hopes his Majesty will provide for his children as others do, whom he has advanced. There is a general inclosing and converting arable land into pasture, which is the cause of great dearth in the kingdom, by reformation whereof they may be great benefit raised to the king and great good to his poor subjects.

Ibid. p. 226
12th February 1635/6 Valuations of materials of Grafton house, pulled down and woods cut down by Sir Francis Crane, which the Attorney-General insisted upon in his replication and left to censure of this court.

SP16/313 f. 183 1635.
Inquiry about value of the materials of the buildings of Grafton house pulled down and of woods destroyed by Sir Francis Crane which Mr Atorney insisted thereupon in his replication and left to the censure of the court.

Timber is valued at £850-10s., Walls at £2,100, lead, 60 tuns at £14 the tun £840, 2 bricke walls £280, timber and underwood in the Frith and other places £231-11s-8d. Total £4332-12s.-8d.

The king's Council treble the damages.

Raised by fines in copyholds and leases, by heriots etc. already proved by this suit £300
Received from His Majesty for repairs of Grafton house for which two last sums Sir Francis Crane is acceptable.
Other materials proved of great quantity but not valued: - A faire tower being 70 feet high and the walls 6 feet thicke
The rails and ballasters of three tarazes (terraces) being freestone and a yard high conteyning 25 bayes.
The chimneys and becketts of freestone and the quoynes of freestone and divers other brick walles in and about the house.
Not any material of the store houses (besides timber) valued.
There was lyme burned for 2 or 3 years constantly.
Iron, glass, casements, tiles etc.
The woods of the said manor are prised at £4000. Stoke park keeping of 300, the same Park without the house is worth £7500 per annum.

Sir Robert Osborne's Inquiries.

SP 16/342/3-5 1636.
Inquiry about materials carried from Grafton House to build Stoke Lodge being Sir Francis Crane's inheritance.
Woods and timber taken by him out of wood called The Frith near town called Perry.
Pannages of Greens Norton and Alderton worth £300 given to Sir Francis Crane.
Sir Francis Crane replied that bound by lease to repair house at Grafton, house is better by £1000 if not £2000 than when it came into his hands.

Sir Francis Crane English Tapestries.

The great name in the history of tapestry-making in England is Mortlake in Surrey County in the 17th century. Mortlake, on the River Thames was an old rambling place, standing west of the church between it and the river. The house was adapted by Sir Francis Crane for the Royal tapestry works, where, encouraged by a handsome grant of money and orders from the parsimonious James, suits of hangings of beautiful workmanship were executed under the eye of Francis Cleyne, a "limner," who was brought over from Flanders to undertake the designs.
From 1620 to 1636 these tapestries, made under Sir Francis Crane by expert weavers from Flanders, rival those of the later Gobelins and surpass those of Brussels of the period. Sir Francis Crane died in 1636 and the establishment became known as "The King's Works." The factory lost royal support in the troubled times of the reign of Charles I and, after struggling through the times of the Commonwealth and the Restoration, finally passed out of existence in the reign of Queen Anne.

MORTLAKE tapestry.

This is one of a set of six of a famous tapestry series designed by Francis Cleyn in 1625, woven at Mortlake works on the Thames. In 1918, Lever acquired the Mortlake tapestry series, sold from Stella Hall, depicting the story of Hero and Leander, from the family of the industrialist Sir Joseph Cowen (1800 - 1873.) The set may have been woven for the Tempest family, a 17 th century Catholic courtier family - Stuart loyalists when the Mortlake tapestry works was at its height. In the fable, Leander swam the Hellespont, the straits between Europe and Asia at the Bosphorus, to see his love, the priestess Hero only to be drowned on stormy night.


Richmond Farthings of Charles I

Copper farthings had been struck and issued privately under licence during the preceding reign of James I. The king would grant a licence or patent to an individual in return of a fee. The individual could then make a considerable profits from producing and exchanging or selling the coins.


The original patent had been made by James I to the Duke of Richmond who died shortly before the accession of Charles I in 1625. The patent continued in the hands of his wife Frances, Duchess of Richmond and Sir Francis Crane. This partnership began issuing farthings during the reign of Charles I (1625-1649); in all they emitted eight varieties known as the Richmond or Royal farthings. On June 20, 1634 the Duchess passed the patent to Henry Howard, Lord Maltravers, who began producing farthings in partnership with the same Sir Francis Crane. This partnership produced six varieties, in the same style as the previous issues, known as the Maltravers farthings.

Burial Place of Sir Francis Crane

Sir Francis died in Paris on June 26th 1636 and was buried at Woodrising on July 10th.

WOODRISING is a small village and parish, 2½ miles W. by N. of Hingham In the church of St. Nicholas on a flat stone is inscribed the name of Sir Francis Crane, who was ambassador to France in the time of Charles I. He revived the art of tapestry in this country, and established a large manufactory at Mortlake, near London.

Will 1636

In the name of the holy blessed and glorious trinity tree persons and one God Amen I Sir Francis Crane Knight Chancellor of the most noble order of the Garter do make my last Will and Testament in manner following First I commend my soul into the hands of almighty God beseeching him through his tender mercy in Christ Jesus my blessed Saviour to grant me pardon and remission of my sins and after this life, life everlasting Next I bequeath my body to earth to be buried Christian burial in the church of any such parish in which I shall happen to die Item I give and bequeath unto my dear and virtuous wife Marie Crane besides the estate which I have already settled upon her for life in Stoke Parke Hartwell Parke and St. Andrewes at Northampton the lease of Grafton house the lease of Blisworth which I bought of Mr. Davers the lease of Morend farm and the lease of Wardes house at Grafton Item I do further give unto my said wife for her better support and maintenance an annuity to be paid her quarterly by my executors at the four usual feast of the year of eight hundred pounds by the year the first payment to begin at the next of the said usual feast that shall happen after my decease Item I do likewise give and bequeath unto my said wife all my jewels plate and household stuff which are either at Grafton Mortlake and London And particularly the suite of Vulcan prepared for Stoke lodge and two suite of Crotesco which are at London of five pairs each since one being with a white the other with a Tawney ground Item I do hereby ordain and charge my executor in performance of the trust reposed in me by my brother in law Sir Peter le Maine to see his Tomb (which is already begun) finished and set up according to his will Item I do further ordain and charge my executor to see those buildings set in hand and finished within the Castle of Windsor which I intend to erect there for the dwelling of five poor knights of which I do intent two shall be of the foundation of my said brother in law Sir Peter le Maine and the other three I intend shall be of my own foundation Item I do give and bequeath forever two hundred pounds by the year to be settled in lands by my said executor according to the advise and discretion of my noble Lords Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey and Henry Lord Maltravers to serve for the perpetual maintenance of the said five poor knights after the rate of forty pounds a year to every one of them Item I do give five hundred pounds towards the repair of the Church of St. Paul's in London to be paid by my executor by one hundred pounds a year during five years to begin from the first of the four usual feasts which shall happen after my decease All the rest of my estate either in lands stock of Tapestries or other goods (my debts and legacies being first paid I do give unto my loving brother Richard Crane And do hereby make him my sole executor Out of this my Confidence that having left him my estate he will endeavor to dispose of it that he may be useful to the happy state of this Realm in which he lives and further the means of living of such of his kindred and mine as shall be fit for it and deserve it And that this may stand for my last Will and Testament I do hereby revoke all other Will or Wills formerly made by me; And in witness hereof have hereunto set my seal and have subscribed every lease with my own hand at Llewenny in Denbigsheire the twenty seventh of August one thousand six hundred and thirty five Fr. Crane Signed and sealed in the presence of Marthana Wilson William Gibson

At Paris the 23rd. of June English Stile 1636

Things that I desire to have done immediately after my death First I desire that my wife as soon as my brother shall have buried my body at Woodrising will take a resolution to leave Grafton and to go to Woodriseinge there to make her dwelling she will have my commodities there The Parke will keep her a dairy of forty kine besides houses and other things It will afford her plenty of deer and wood and many other provisions that will cost her never a penny so that she will be able to live a more plentiful fashion and yet not to be at half the charge she is at Grafton There will be for the present a hundred and fifty pounds a year that will come in rent besides my Lady Caricks which is paid her And within this three years the rest of the lands will improve to a thousand pounds a year more All which my wife shall receive together with all her lands at Grafton until my Lady Caricke die When my Lady Caricke is dead my brother shall then convey unto her all my lands in Norfolk which will make her a certain revenue of at least two thousand pounds a year by which means she may live honorable and with much love amongst her tenants which she cannot do at Grafton And therefore when my brother shall have [illeg setted?] the estate of two thousand pounds a year upon her I would have her resign all the lands at Grafton into my brother's hands instead of Woodriseinge because I have appointed my brother to sell some part of them to performing that other things that I have emoynd him This if my wife will do she will advantage her own estate diverse hundred pounds a year, and she will show a singular love to me to let the world see that she has chosen that place for her dwelling where her husband's body is buried which if she do then I give her all the household stuff there. Secondly I would have my wife set out all her land at Grafton and so receive the revenue from them at Woodriseing Thirdly because Millfield the lease whereof I lately bought of Mr. Lawson is not so conveyed to my wife as I intended. I do therefore I hereby make this as A Codicil and part of my Will that she shall have the said lease as her own during the term of years yet to come These things once again I desires my wife to accept of as for her good and to accept of the service of my brother who I know will spend his whole life to honor and serve her your dying husband Fr Crane

Probate 3 October 1636

Vulcan was one of the oldest Latin gods, Vulcanus who was the god of the thunderbolt and of the sun, then the god of fires, whose ravages he could arrest, and finally the god of life-giving warmth.

OED says crotesco = crotesque, see grotesque.

Grotesque; (Italian C16th) a kind of decorative painting or sculpture, consisting of representations of portions of human and animal forms, fantastically combined and interwoven with foliage and flowers.

Another reference from Hic Mulier 1620 'tis of you I entreat and of your monstrous deformity. You that have made your bodies like antic Boscadge or Crotesco work, not half man/half woman, half fish/half flesh, half beast/half Monster, but all Odios, all Devil; that have cast off the ornaments of your sexes to put on the garments of Shame;

Windsor Castle

Bequest from Sir Francis Crane's Will

"I do further ordain and charge my executor to see those buildings set in hand and finished within the Castle of Windsor which I intend to erect there for the dwelling of five poor knights of which I do intent two shall be of the foundation of my said brother in law Sir Peter le Maine and the other three I intend shall be of my own foundation." These buildings stand between the Garter Tower and Chancellor's Tower.

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