Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Francis Windebank

Male Bef 1582 - 1646  (> 64 years)


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  • Name Francis Windebank 
    Born Bef 21 Aug 1582  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Baptised 21 Aug 1582  St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Died 1 Sep 1646  Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Siblings 2 siblings 
    Person ID I36827  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others
    Last Modified 8 Nov 2021 

    Father Thomas Windebank,   b. Abt 1550, of St. Martin in the Fields, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Oct 1607  (Age ~ 57 years) 
    Mother Frances Dymoke,   d. Between 11 Feb 1612 and 24 Apr 1613 
    Married 19 Aug 1566  Scrivelsby, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Family ID F21618  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Edith Jackson 
    Married Jul 1608  [1
    Last Modified 8 Nov 2021 
    Family ID F21644  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Secretary of State under Charles I.

      "Francis Windebank matriculated on 18 May 1599 from St John's College, Oxford, where William Laud, who by 1608 had become his 'dear friend', may have been his tutor. He graduated BA on 26 January 1602 and entered the Middle Temple on 4 February 1603. In February 1605 he was granted a clerkship of the signet in reversion after Levinus Monck and Francis Gall before leaving on an extended tour through France, Germany, and Italy. On his return to England in February 1608 he took up work in the signet office, now able to write letters in both French and Italian, adding by 1616 a reading knowledge of Spanish. In July 1608 he married Edith Jackson, of obscure origins and, as he later hinted, limited means." [Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, citation details below]

      Multiple accounts of his escape to France in 1640 (see below) mention that he was accompanied by his secretary and nephew Robert Reade. This was the Robert Reade who was a brother of Col. George Reade of Virginia, both of them sons of Francis Windebank's sister Mildred by her husband Robert Reade. (See John Meredith Read, "The English Ancestry of Washington," The Atheneum number 3465, 24 Mar 1894.)

      From Wikipedia (accessed 8 Nov 2021):

      After a few years of continental travel (1605–1608), he settled at Haines Hill at Hurst in Berkshire and was employed for many years in minor public offices, eventually becoming clerk of the council.

      In June 1632, he was appointed by King Charles I as Secretary of State in succession to Lord Dorchester, his senior colleague being Sir John Coke, and he was knighted. His appointment was mainly due to his Spanish and Roman Catholic sympathies. The first Earl of Portland, Francis, Lord Cottington, and Windebank formed an inner group in the council, and with their aid the king carried on various secret negotiations, especially with Spain.

      In December 1634 Windebank was appointed to discuss with the papal agent Gregorio Panzani the possibility of a union between the Anglican and Roman Churches, and expressed the opinion that the Puritan opposition might be crippled by sending their leaders to the war in the Netherlands.

      Windebank's efforts as treasury commissioner in 1635 to shield some of those guilty of corruption led to a breach with Archbishop Laud. In the same year Windebank was one of the promoters of the Courteen association, and the next year he was for a time disgraced for issuing an order for the conveyance of Spanish money to pay the Spanish troops in the Netherlands.

      In July 1638 he urged the king to make war with the Scots, and in 1640, when trouble was breaking out in England, he sent an appeal from Queen Henrietta Maria to the pope for money and men. He was elected in March 1640 to the Short Parliament, as member for Oxford University, and he entered the Long Parliament in October as member for Corfe Castle. In December the House learnt that he had signed letters of grace to recusant priests and Jesuits, and summoned him to answer the charge, but the king allowed him to escape to France. From Calais, he wrote to Christopher Hatton, defending his integrity, and affirming his belief that the Church of England was the purest and nearest the primitive Church. He remained in Paris until his death, shortly after he had been received into the Roman communion.

      Windebank married and had a large family. William Laud referred in 1630 to his "many sons". He had five at least, and four survived him:

      Thomas (born c. 1612), was M.P. for Wootton Bassett and supported the Royalist cause in the English Civil War. He was made a baronet in 1645. He was Clerk of the Signet from 1641 until 1645 and again (after the Interregnum) from 1660 to 1674.

      Francis (died 1645) supported the Royalist cause during the English Civil War. He was court-martialled and shot for failing to defend Bletchingdon House, near Oxford.

      Christopher (born 1615) was an Englishman who lived in Madrid and worked as guide and interpreter for English ambassadors.

      John (1618–1704), a physician who was admitted an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1680 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

      Of Windebank's daughters:

      Margaret married Thomas Turner (1591–1672), and was mother of Thomas Turner (1645–1714), president of Corpus Christi, Oxford, and of Francis Turner, bishop of Ely, one of the seven Bishops who, refusing to accept James II's Declaration of Indulgence, were imprisoned in the Tower of London.

      Frances married Sir Edward Hales on 12 July 1669.

      One other died unmarried at Paris about 1650.

      Two others became nuns of the Calvary at the Église Sainte-Marie-des-Anges, Paris.

  • Sources 
    1. [S76] The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004-ongoing.

    2. [S6103] Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900.

    3. [S76] The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004-ongoing., month, year, and place only.

    4. [S142] Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families by Douglas Richardson. Salt Lake City, 2013.