History's Women: Amazing Moms: Lady Fanshawe: Notable for Conjugal AffectionLady Fanshawe
Notable for Conjugal Affection
1625 – 1680 A.D.

Anne Harrison Fanshawe, the eldest daughter of Sir John Harrison, of Balls, England, was born in London, March 25, 1625. Her mother was Margaret Fanshawe, of an ancient and highly respectable family; and, what was of more importance to her daughter, she was an eminently pious as well as an accomplished woman. When about nineteen, Anne Harrison married Sir Richard Fanshawe, a relative of her mother. He was a lawyer, went abroad with his wife, and was finally appointed secretary to the English ambassador at the Spanish court.

As a supporter of Charles II., he was taken and imprisoned after the battle of Worcester, during which imprisonment his wife exhibited the highest form of devotion. He as finally released, on heavy bail, and was joined by her at Tankerslys Park, Yorkshire, where husband and wife devoted themselves to literary pursuits. After the restoration, Sir Richard was sent to the court of Portugal, and subsequently to Spain. While occupying the latter post, he suddenly died.

The queen of Spain was so moved by the desolation of the heart-broken widow, that she offered her a pension of thirty thousand ducats per annum [sic] if she would embrace the Catholic religion. Lady Fanshawe was deeply grateful for this kindly interest, but refused to accept any favors with such conditions attached.

Through the financial assistance of Anne of Austria, the remains of Sir Richard were sent to England for internment and subsequently Lady Fanshawe erected a handsome monument to the memory of her husband. Their union of twenty-two years had been a pattern of conjugal fidelity and happiness; the widow continue to as constant to the memory of the dear departed she had been in her affection to him while he lived. Her whole aim and plan was to educate her children; and she wrote her own Memoir “for her dearly and only son.” She survived her husband fourteen years, dying January, 1680.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.