Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
NameSir Henry CROFTS
Birth1590
Death1667
Marriage1642
SpouseElizabeth WORTLEY
Children
Death1638
Notes for Sir Henry CROFTS
Knighted at Whitehall in 1611, at the tender age of 21. He had married Elizabeth a year earlier. She died in 1642 and it is her revealing bust that you can see today in the Lucas chapel in Little Saxham Church. Sir Henry lived through troubled times, through the Civil War and the Commonwealth. He had sat in Parliament before the troubles began (MP for Eye in 1624) and again, 36 years later, when the monarchy was restored in 1660 (as MP for Bury St Edmunds).

Henry had been closely connected with the courts of the first two Stuart kings, and he must have suffered during the troubles, though up here in deepest Suffolk he may have been able to keep his head down low. He did not have to forfeit his property, although the records show that he did have to pay a sum of money to Parliament too fund the war against King Charles. He seems to have been a 'moderate' loyalist, else he would have lost his house, his land and all his money - if not his head.

He died in March 1667 at the fair age of 77 and was buried at Little Saxham. In the seven years between the Restoration and his death, the company at Little Saxham was 'young and giddy'. His son William was described once as 'that mad fellow Crofts' and Henry may have moved away from the main residence in 1662 to allow William to have his fun. These years saw their share of problems, with the Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. It is perhaps typical of the aristocracy to go over the top at such times!

From historyofparliamentonline

b. c.1590, 1st s. of Sir John Crofts† of Little Saxham and West Stow by Mary, da. of Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston, Suss. m. (1) settlement 1 Nov. 1610, Elizabeth (d. 1 Oct. 1643), da. of Sir Richard Wortley of Wortley, Yorks., 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 5da.; (2) Margaret (d. 26 May 1674), 1s. d.v.p. 3da. Kntd. 3 Feb. 1611; suc. fa. 1628.1

Offices Held
Commr. of array, Suff. 1642, j.p. July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d.2

Biography

Crofts’s ancestors are said to have held manorial property in the reign of Edward I, but they were of little account until the 16th century, when they acquired Little Saxham, which became their principal residence. The first of the family to enter Parliament was his father, who sat for Thetford in 1597. Although Crofts, a strong Anglican, was named to the Suffolk commission of array, he remained inactive during the Civil War. On the introduction of the Covenant in 1643 he wrote:

I hope God will in his mercy direct me to some place of retreat, whereby I may avoid the having that tendered to me which I am resolved and am bound in conscience never to subscribe unto.
In 1646 he had to surrender to the sequestrators the portion due to his daughter, who had married the Cavalier Sir Frederick Cornwallis without his consent; but this was returned to him when the sequestration was lifted in 1648. His sister was the mother of Sir Henry Bennet, and three of his sons were also in exile with Charles II. The eldest, William, who took charge for a time of the upbringing of the future Duke of Monmouth, then called ‘James Crofts’, was raised to the peerage in 1658.3

Crofts, who owned property in Bury St. Edmunds, five miles from his home, stood for the borough at the general election of 1660 with Sir John Duncombe, another royalist sympathizer. After a double return they were seated on the merits of the election. Doubtless a court supporter, he was not an active Member of the Convention. He was appointed to nine committees, including those for settling the revenue in July and the Dunkirk establishment in September. On 28 Dec. he acted as teller for the bill empowering the corporation of London to raise money by assessment for the militia. He did not stand again, and made over the estate to his son, Lord Crofts, in 1664, reserving an annuity of £600 p.a. for himself and £5,000 for his widow. He was buried at Little Saxham on 31 Mar. 1667. On his son’s death in 1677 the estate passed to William Crofts.4
Last Modified 29 Jul 2012Created 28 Jan 2018 using Reunion for Macintosh