Private:Whitney, Francis (b1545-1590)
Francis Whitney, Gent. / Esq., parentage unknown, but perhaps related to the Herefordshire Whitneys, born sometime before 1545 (and perhaps much earlier), died before 3 Oct 1590, probably London, and was buried 3 Oct 1590, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London.
He was by 1566 serving as a servant to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper. On 21 Mar 1566 he was mentioned in a document between "George Webster, Esq, Master Cook to the Queen" and "Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper by Francis Whytneye his servant" involving "£18 For two fother of leade".
He was perhaps the Francis Whytney involved in a Chancery Suit against John Lytlegrome, May 1568.
Records show that in 1570 he obtained a receivership for several priories located in Cheshire and Lancaster. It was probably in this role that he was listed as "H. M. farmer" (Her Majesty's farmer) in some records. An obsolete meaning for a farm was "The system of leasing out the rights of collecting and retaining taxes in a certain district" or "To pay a fixed sum in order to have the right to collect and retain profits from". Thus, he was a "farmer", collecting and retaining taxes and the profits from his the lands in his receivership.
Sometime between 1558 and 1579 (and probably after he was appointed receiver in 1570), Francis Whitney brought suit against George Ferrers and his wife Margaret of Hertfordshire over the recovery of a mace given to them by Richard Raynshewe, serjeant-at-arms.
On 20 May 1574, "Francis Whitney, Gent." and Margaret Bryce received a license to marry from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
About 1576-1577, Francis Whitney was listed as being in office (receiver for life of Cartmel, Conishead, Burscough and Holland Priories).
He was probably the Francis Whitney mentioned 20 Nov 1577 in a letter from Mildmay to Fanshawe regarding a particular of concealed lands in Cheshire at the suit of Francis Whitney.
He was probably the Francis Whitney, esq., plaintiff in a chancery suit against Edward Siegge involving "personal matters", dated 1577. Calendars of the proceedings in chancery, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Volume 3, p. 251, Item “W.w.9. 25”.
Probably about the end of 1577, he was mentioned as being Sir Nicholas Bacon's "serjeant-of-mace", and originating in Herefordshire:
- "The indiscretions of the Vice-Admiral (Richard Vaughan)'s tongue were rather startling. To a servant of his own chief, Sir William Morgan, he said that Sir John (Perrot) "deserved hanging upon some one or two or three or four points". At the "Blue Boar", in Holborn, he showed Walter Vaughan the petition he was going to present to the Queen against sir John. He told William Parry that "Sir John better deserved hanging than any thief". From Parry he went to the lord Keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, and presented him a "book against the said Sir John". There he met his old neighbour, Mr. Whitney, Sir Nicholas's serjeant-of-mace (they seem both to have been Herefordshire men), and urged him to come with him to search Sir John's house at Carew for stolen goods."
About 1577, he described himself as "Francis Whitney of London one of yo[u]r ma[jes]t[ies] Sergeant[es] at Arms Attendinge uppon the Lorde Keper of The greate Seale of Englande". The Lord Keeper at this time was Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510-1579).
He was involved in several Star Chamber suits, probably arising due to his role as receiver of the priories:
- 1577 - Francis Whitney, vs. Johnson, Shawe, Pellett, Crooke, Austen, Clerke. Bill of Complaint.
- 1579 - Francis Whitney, Esq. vs. Houghton, Judson. Deposition of Houghton and Judson.
- 1581 - Francis Whitney, Esq., sergeant at arms vs. Rylands, Gill and others. Bill of Complaint.
- 1558-1603, Francis Whittney vs. William Rylandes, John Gyll, Hugh Wade, Richard Deane, and Randal Kenerley. Destruction of a cottage in Minshull, Chester.
- Fraunces Whitney, esquire, sergeant at arms (sc. in the Queen's service) who was granted by the Queen in the 18th year of her reign a 21 year lease of messuages, lands and tenements with meadow and pasture in the county palatine of Chester, but that the vicar of one of these places, Aghton (Acton) in the said county palatine, one John Loe, neglecting his duty, attempted the complainant's death and destruction... 
He was probably the Francis Whitney, Esq., who was licensed to convey land and tenements in "Ulkington", co. Chester, 21 Feb 1578.
"3684.) 21 Feb. 1578. Hampton Court. Lease for 21 years to Francis Whytney, a serjeant at arms, of enclosures and buildings thereon (tenants named) in (1) Utkington (named), (2) ...".
He was probably the "Francis, sergeant at arms in household of Sir Nicholas Bacon", dated sometime probably between 1578-1585.
"At the time of Sir Nicholas [Bacon's] death in 1579 his household at Gorhambury contained more than seventy persons including the steward, the seal bearer, the sergeant-at-arms, the auditor, treasurer receiver, and the secretary who where all senior officers. Also included where many yeoman officers in charge of pantry, cellar, kitchen, wardrobe, chamber, hall and lodge. Under these where the lesser servants, cleaners, grooms and others."
In his 1587 will, Sir James Whitney of Whitney, Herefordshire left a long list of Whitneys who were to inherit the Whitney estate. Far down the list was "Francis Whitney of London gent and to the heires males of his bodye Lawfully begotten". It is possible that this was referring to this Francis Whitney. If so, it suggests that this Francis was related to the Whitneys of Herefordshire. Assuming that the list was ordered from most closely related to most distantly related, this relationship was probably about second or third cousin.
His burial is recorded thus: "Burialls in mighelmas quarter .1590., October., Item ye third was buried mr ffrauncis whitney Sergiant At Armes, for the cloth ijs".
On 23 Nov 1596, "Mr. H. Maynard and Mr. Hicks's general release to Mrs. Margaret, widow of Mr. Serjeant Whitney, deceased", indicating that he was deceased by this date and that his widow Margaret survived him.
- Francis Whitney worked for Sir Nicholas Bacon as early as 1566, and perhaps much earlier. Bacon became treasurer of Gray's Inn in Holborn in 1562, and was likely associated with the Inn and thus in Holborn for quite some time before he was put into this position. Thus, it seems likely that Francis, being with Bacon, would have been in Holborn in this time period. If this is true, the baptism of "Thomas Whetney", 14 Jul 1560, St. Andrew, Holborn could be connected. Note that no parents names for this child were listed in the original record. Could this Thomas have been Thomas Whitney of Westminster, known to have been born probably sometime between 1549 and 1562? Jacobus, in his TAG article on John Whitney of Watertown, Mass., asked the question whether Thomas of Westminster, John's father, could have been a son of the Francis Whitney mentioned in the will of Sir James Whitney of Whitney and noted that Thomas named a son Francis.
- Was he perhaps related to (father of?) Griffin Whitney, also buried at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London?
- "The firste yeare. 1580. Receiptes, Burialls in Midsom' quarter., July, It'm the xxijth day of July was buried Griffin whitney the worst cloth, ijd" - 'Accounts: December 1579 - December 1581', St Martin-in-the-Fields: The accounts of the churchwardens, 1525-1603 (1901), pp. 313-333.
- Was he perhaps related to the Ann Whitney of Holborn who left a will, dated 1610?
- See also this family outline of Nicholas Bacon.
- Francis Bacon, son of Nicholas Bacon, was baptized at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
1. ^ In his will dated 1587, Sir James Whitney of Whitney, Herefordshire, head of the Whitneys of Whitney, included a list of nine Whitney individuals that his lands were to go to after he died, hoping to ensure that the Whitney holdings would stay within the Whitney family. The individuals on this list appear to start with most closely related and then extend out to more distantly related relatives. The first was his brother, the next two were uncles, the next was probably a first cousin, the next two were probably second cousins, the relationship of the next two (including Francis Whitney) is not yet known, and the last was apparently a third cousin. The eighth person on that list was "Frauncis Whitney of London Gent." (PCC 38 Spencer, PROB 11/70). It is believed (but not yet proven) that the Francis Whitney, Gent., listed in this will was this Francis Whitney. Also one source mentioned that this Francis Whitney was seemingly from Herefordshire, supporting this identification. (Archaeologia Cambrensis, p. 310.)
2. ^ Supposition. He was a servant to Sir Nicholas Bacon in 1566, and would have probably have been at least 21 years of age, and perhaps much older, though it is also possible that he was slightly younger.
4. ^ Sir Nicholas Bacon Manuscript Collection, Manuscript #3478. A "fother" was a unit of measurement for lead, which varied by location and over time. It was approximately 2,000 pounds.
5. ^ Brief entry in the case of Francis Whitney, plaintiff vs. John Lytlegrome, defendant, C 33/37, Entry Books of Decrees and Orders, Chancery Court, Easter Term, 5 May 10 Elizabeth I (1568) (entry mutilated). Note that a "J. Lytlegrome" was listed as a dignitary of the Prebendary of Morton, Diocese of Gloucester in the period 1558-1564 - see Henry Gee, The Elizabethan Clergy and the Settlement of Religion, 1558-1564 (The Clarendon Press, 1898), Appendix II - List of Institutions After Deprivation, 1558=1564, p. 278.
8. ^ Duchy of Lancaster Warrants for Patents, The National Archives, ref. DL 12/15/35.
9. ^ Duchy of Lancaster North Auditors' Enrollment Books of Letters Patent, Leases and Orders, The National Archives, ref. DL 42/43 f. 304.
10. ^ "Whitney v. Ferrers: Hertford", Court of Chancery: Six Clerks Office: Pleadings, Series II, Elizabeth I to Interregnum, The National Archives, ref. C 3/200/35.
11. ^ Sir George J. Armytage and Joseph Lemuel Chester, Allegations for Marriage Licences Issued from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury at London, 1543 to 1869 (London: Harleian Society, 1886).
12. ^ Receiver general's accounts of the Duchy of Lancaster, 18-19 Eliz I, The National Archives, ref. DL 28/9/17 (TNA index only, original not examined).
13. ^ "Mildmay to Fanshawe: for a particular of concealed lands in co. Chester at the suit of Francis Whitney; 20 Nov.1577", Exchequer, State Papers Domestic: Supplementary, 1231-1829, The National Archives, ref. SP 46/31/fo 103.
15. ^ "Whitney v Johnson, Shawe, Pellett, Crooke, Austen, Clerke", W Plaintiffs, Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, Elizabeth I, The National Archives, ref. STAC 5/W1/22, folio 3.
17. ^ "Whitney v Johnson, Shawe, Pellett, Crooke, Austen, Clerke", W Plaintiffs, Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, Elizabeth I, The National Archives, ref. STAC 5/W1/22, folio 3.
18. ^ "Whitney v Houghton, Judson", W Plaintiffs, Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, Elizabeth I, The National Archives, ref. STAC 5/W8/27.
19. ^ "Whytney v. Rylands, Gill and others", W Plaintiffs, Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, Elizabeth I, The National Archives, ref. STAC 5/W72/8.
10. ^ "Plaintiff: Whittney, Francis. Defendant: William Rylandes, John Gyll, Hugh Wade, Richard Deane, and Randal Kenerley. Place or Subject: Minshull etc: Destruction of a cottage. County: Chester", Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, Elizabeth I, Addenda, The National Archives, ref. STAC 7/16/13.
21. ^ "Whitney v. Loe", W Plaintiffs, Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings, Elizabeth I, The National Archives, ref. STAC 5/W73/5.
23. ^ Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office, Volume 71, p. 541.
24. ^ The papers of Nathaniel Bacon of Stiffkey: 1578-1585, snippet view when searching Google on the terms '"Sir Nicholas Bacon" serjeant at arms'.
26. ^ PCC 38 Spencer, PROB 11/70.
28. ^ British Museum, A Catalogue of the Lansdowne Manuscripts in the British Museum, With Indexes of Persons, Places, and Matters, (Hildesheim: G. Olms, 1974) (now apparently located in the British Library), citing Lansdowne Manuscript 80/84.