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LENNARD, FRANCIS, fourteenth Lord Dacre (1619–1662), eldest son of Richard, lord Dacre of the South, by his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Sir Arthur Throckmorton Paulerspury, Northamptonshire, was born in 1619. He succeded his father on his death on 20 Aug. 1630, 'being then aged 11 years 3 months and 8 days' (Complete Peerage by G. E. C.) In the struggle between Charles I and the parliament he sided with the latter, and it is evident, from the important office with which he was entrusted, that he was regarded by his party as a man of weight and influence. In January 1641-2, the committee appointed by the House of Commons to place the kingdom in a position of defence having recommended that the lords-lieutenant nominated by the king should be superseded by others chosen by this parliament, he was named for Herefordshire. Two years later, January 1643-4, Charles summoned the members of both houses to hold their sittings at Oxford, he was one of the twenty-two peers who disregarded the summons, and met at Westminster (Clarendon, iv. 403). In 1646 he was appointed one of the commissioners for the maintenance of peace between England and Scotland (Thurloe State Papers, i. 79). When he found that the supreme power was being usurped by the army, and that parliament had lost real authority, he discontinued his attendance in the House of Lords. A letter of his to Lord Grey of Werke, deputy speaker of the house, 22 Jan. 1843-4, apologizing for neglecting his summons on the score of health and the roads being blocked with snow, shows that he had previously been in regular attendance (Journals, 1643). When the ordinance for the trial of the king was about to be introduced, and and all the absent peers were summoned for 28 Dec. 1648, he was kept away by sickness, but he was in his place on 8 Jan. 1648-9, when the bill was brought up from the lower house, and was one of the twelve peers by whom it was unanimously rejected. His impeachment and that of his companions were clamoured for by Sir James Harrington and others as 'favourers of the grand delinquent, and enemies to public justice and the liberty of the people' (Clarendon, vi. 215; Rapin, x. 528; Rushworth, vii. 1382; Parl. Hist. iii. 1254; Lords, 1648, p. 639).

In 1655 he went abroad 'on some discontent between him and his lady,' at which time William Goffe [q.v.] the regicide wrote to Secretary Thurloe from Chester that 'it was much feared by many there that he would have the Custos Rotulorum' (Thurloe State Papers, iv. 190) He died in 1662, and was buried at Chevening, Kent.

On the failure of the male line of the Dacres of the North in 1634 he put an unsuccessful claim to the barony of Gillesland, receiving by way of compromise and other valuable lordships in Cumberland and Westmoreland. His wife Elizabeth, daughter and coheir of Paul, viscount Bayning, by whom he had three sons and three daughters, survived him, and remarried David Walter, esq., of Godstow, Oxfordshire, groom of the bedchamber to Charles II, who died 22 April 1679. On 6 Sept. 1680 she was created Countess of Sheppy for life. She died in 1686. Dacre was succeeded in this title by his eldest son, Thomas, fifteenth lord Dacre and earl of Sussex (d. 1715),who married Lady Anne Fitzroy, the natural daughter of Charles II by Lady Castlemain. With her he obtained a dowry of 20,000l. He was from August 1680 to February 1685 gentleman of the bedchamber to the king, by whom in 1674 he was created Earl of Sussex. His intimate connection with the court proved disastrous to him, and losses at play and other extravagance compelled him to sell his castle and estate at Hurstmonceaux and other property. He died in 1715 at Chevening, and was buried in the parish church there. He left no male heirs, and the earldom expired with him. On the death of is elder daughter, wife of Lieutenant-general Charles Skelton of the French army, without issue in 1741, his younger daughter Anne became Baroness Dacre. Her son Thomas, by her first husband, Richard Barrett Lennard of Bell House, Essex, succeeded as sixteenth Lord Dacre, and this title is still extant, though merged in that of Hampden.

[In addition to the authorities already cited, Collins's Peerage, vol. vi.; Archæological Soc. vol. iv.]

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