Friday, 8 June 2007

William, Earl of Craven - The Last Cavalier

It was William Craven, Baron of Hamstead Marshall, Viscount Uffington and Earl of Craven, who had the present day hunting lodge built at Ashdown in 1661 - 1662.

Craven was a fascinating character largely overlooked by history. Born in 1608, William Craven was the son of a self-made man from Yorkshire who had been apprenticed in the cloth trade, made a fortune and became a money lender to the crown, married well and was Lord Mayor of London. When William Craven inherited his father's fortune and estates he was one of the nine richest men in Stuart England. He was also one of the most ardent royalists devoted to the Stuart cause.

Still in his teens, William Craven left England to serve in the army of Maurice of Orange and over many years he gained great distinction as a soldier. He fought alongside Frederick of Bohemia and his sons in their attempts to regain the ancestral palatine lands they had lost in the Thirty Years War and he supported Elizabeth, the Winter Queen, in her exile in the United Provinces.

All William Craven's estates, with the exception of Combe Abbey, were sequestrated during the Commonwealth and he was able to return to England only on the restoration of King Charles II. He started building on both his estates at Hamstead Marshall and Ashdown on his return.
Lord Craven lived until the age of 87. He was a friend and comrade in arms of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, and was the executor of Rupert's will and guardian of his daughter Ruperta. He remained a loyal servant of the Stuarts throughout his life.


Cozy aka Susan Flanders said...

Nicola, your love of Ashdown House and for the Winter Queen is clearly evident! I also just saw the info on the Beautiful Britian magazine. I couldn't get into the Ashdown house story, but I got into others. The pictures are breathtaking.

Susan Flanders

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Unknown said...

Thank you for this information. I've been looking for more about Lord Craven, as he's my 45th grandfather.

We have an enormous family book that has all of the marriages and family relations and so on, but it doesn't have a great deal about William Craven himself so this blog is a wonderful find.

Thank you, again,

Victoria Craven

Nicola Cornick said...

Hi Victoria

Thank you for your comment. I am very glad that you have found the blog and if we can offer any more information on the founding of the Craven dynasty then do get in touch. It's exciting to know that you are a Craven descendant and to hear about the enormous book you have with so much family history in it!