Francis Popham (1573–1644)

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File:SirFrancisPopham 1607 WellingtonChurch Somerset.PNG
Sir Francis Popham shown as a young man aged 34, kneeling effigy in Wellington Church, Somerset, at east end of 1607 monument to his father Sir John Popham (1531-1607), Lord Chief Justice of England
Arms of Popham: Argent, on a chief gules two stag's heads cabossed or
File:SirFrancisPopham AndWife 1607 WellingtonChurch Somerset.PNG
Sir Francis Popham and his wife Anne Dudley, effigies at east end of 1607 monument to his father Sir John Popham

Sir Francis Popham (1573–1644) of Wellington, Somerset and Littlecote, Berkshire (now Wiltshire), was an English soldier and landowner who was elected a Member of Parliament nine times, namely for Somerset (1597), Wiltshire (1604), Marlborough (1614), Great Bedwin (1621), Chippenham 1624, 1625, 1626, 1628-9), and for Minehead (1640-4).


Popham was the only son of Sir John Popham (1531–1607), of Wellington, Somerset and Littlecote, Berkshire (now Wiltshire), Speaker of the House of Commons, Attorney General and Lord Chief Justice of England, by his wife Amy Adams, daughter of Hugh Adams of Castleton, St Athan, Glamorgan.


Littlecote House, Berkshire (now in Wiltshire), seat of Sir Francis Popham, who also resided at Wellington House, demolished in 1645 during the Civil War

He matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 17 May 1588 at the age of 15, and entered the Middle Temple in 1589.[1] As a soldier he served under Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1566–1601) in Spain and was knighted by him at Cadiz in June 1596.[2]

In 1597 Popham was elected Member of Parliament for Somerset. He was a J.P. for Wiltshire from 1597 and for Somerset by 1602. He was also Deputy Lieutenant for both counties. In 1603 he was made Knight of the Bath. He was elected MP for Wiltshire in 1604. In 1607 he succeeded to the estates of Littlecote on the death of his father. He became constable of Taunton Castle in 1613. In 1614 he was elected MP for Marlborough and in 1621, MP for Great Bedwin. He was elected MP for Chippenham at a by-election in 1624 and was re-elected for the same seat in 1625, 1626 and 1628. He sat until 1629 when King Charles dispensed with parliament for eleven years.[1]

In November 1640, due to the influence of his son-in-law Thomas Luttrell (1583–1644) of Dunster Castle, Somerset, Popham was elected MP for the Luttrell pocket borough of Minehead in the Long Parliament and sat until his death.[1]

Popham was considered to have inherited his father's grasping disposition. He was constantly involved in lawsuits, which he was charged with conducting in a vexatious manner. Like his father, he took an active interest in the settlement of the North American colonies of Virginia and New England, and was a member of council of both colonies.[3]

Marriage & progeny

File:AnnePopham 1607 WellingtonChurch Somerset.PNG
Anne Dudley, wife of Sir Francis Popham, detail of her kneeling effigy in Wellington Church, at east end of 1607 monument to her father-in-law Sir John Popham

Popham married Anne Dudley, daughter and heiress of John Dudley (alias Sutton) (1569-1645), MP,[4] of Stoke Newington, Middlesex, and of Compton Hallows, Staffordshire, 2nd son of Edward Sutton, 4th Baron Dudley (1525-1586) of Dudley Castle, Staffordshire, by his 2nd wife Jane Stanley, daughter of Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby. By his wife he had progeny four sons and seven daughters, including:

Death & burial

Popham died in 1644 and was buried at Stoke Newington on 15 August 1644, but in March 1647 was moved to Bristol.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "History of Parliament". History of ParliamentTrust. Retrieved 23 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Knights of England
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2  [ "Popham, Francis" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Yerby, George & Hunneyball, Paul, biography of Luttrell, Thomas (1583–1644), of Dunster Castle, Som., published in History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604–1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Parliament of England
Preceded by
(Sir) Francis Hastings
Edward Dyer
Member of Parliament for Somerset
With: Sir Hugh Portman
Succeeded by
(Sir) Edward Phelips
Sir Maurice Berkeley
Preceded by
Edmund Carey
Sir Edward Hungerford
Member of Parliament for Wiltshire
With: John Thynne 1604
? 1604–1611
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Howard
Sir Henry Poole
Preceded by
Lawrence Hyde
Richard Digges
Member of Parliament for Marlborough
With: Richard Digges
Succeeded by
William Seymour, Lord Beauchamp
Richard Digges
Preceded by
Robert Hyde
Sir Giles Mompesson
Member of Parliament for Great Bedwyn
With: Sir Giles Mompesson
Succeeded by
Hugh Crompton
William Cholmley
Preceded by
Sir John Maynard
Charles Maynard
Member of Parliament for Chippenham
With: Sir John Maynard 1624–25
Sir Edward Bayntun 1626
Sir John Eyres 1628–29
Succeeded by
Parliament suspended until 1640
Preceded by
Francis Wyndham
Dr Arthur Duck
Member of Parliament for Minehead
With: Alexander Luttrell
Thomas Hanham
Succeeded by
Walter Strickland
Edward Popham