The Fanshawe family has been associated with Barking and Dagenham for over 400 years.
Henry Fanshawe (1506-68) was the first to acquire land in this district with the manors of Jenkins and Fulks. Other members of the extended family were also associated with the principal manors of Barking, of Parsloes and Valence. Henry served in the Exchequer for 40 years, suceeding to the post of Queen's Remembrancer in 1566, the first of nine of his family to hold this office.
Henry had no sons so it was his nephew Thomas Fanshawe (1533-1601) who inherited these estates and also acquired the manor of Westbury in 1571 although in less than 80 years Viscount Fanshawe sold the manor out of the family. Parsloes manor was retained by the family until 1913 when Evelyn John Fanshawe sold part of the estate to Essex County Council.
The castellated Parsloes Manor House was demolished in 1925 and eventually the whole estate was acquired by London County Council. 107 acres were set aside as Parsloes Park while the remainder was covered by part of the vast Becontree housing estate.
The family's original association with the manor of Valence was fairly brief. When Henry Fanshawe died in 1568 the lease passed to his daughter Susanna who married Timothy Lucy of Charlecote in Warwickshire. Although they were now living at ValenceHouse in the early 1590s, the lease had been sold on by the turn of the century.
Valence House is now used to display the magnificent collection family portraits, donated to the Borough in 1963 by Captain Aubrey Fanshawe. This is one of the best collections of gentry portraits in the country and is of international importance.
Thankfully the House provides a most appropriate setting for these pictures and a catalogue is available to provide background information on the family members portrayed. The catalogue was compiled by the late James Howson, former Curator/Archivist of Valence House Museum.
Along with the portraits, Captain Fanshawe also gave the Borough the family papers and these have provided another fascinating insight into the lives of the members of the Fanshawe family.
Roger Walker and Bill Liddell have spent the last few years working on the extensive archive, with particular reference to Sir Richard Fanshawe (1608-80), scholar and diplomat, created a Baronet in 1651. Having fought for the King in the Civil War, he was captured after the Battle of Worcester and imprisoned for ten months by the Parliamentary Government. He escaped to France, where he was appointed Master of Requests and Secretary of the Latin Tongue.
At the Restoration he sailed in the King's ship to England and was elected MP for Cambridge University (1661), amde a Privy Councillor of Ireland (1662) and of England (1663).
He was entrusted with the mission to Portugal to obtain the hand of Catherine of Braganza for King Charles II, and later became HM Ambassador to Spain and Portugal.
He died in Madrid in June 1666 and his wife, Ann (1625-80), set off and brought his body and his papers back to England. Hers is also a remarkable story of love and determination, well worth investigating.
Local Studies Librarian
Local Studies Centre
Valence House Museum
Tel: 020 8270 6896
Fax: 020 8270 6897
© MMIV London Borough
of Barking and Dagenham
Dagenham, RM10 7BN
Telephone: 020 8592 4500
Fax: 020 8227 2806