Danvers, Henry

, a brave warrior in the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century, and created earl of Dariby by king Charles I. was the second son of sir John Danvers, knight, by Elizabeth his wife, | daughter and coheir to John Nevil the last lord Latimer. He was born at Dantesey in Wiltshire, on the 28th of June, 1573. After an education suitable to his birth, he went and served in the Low Country wars, under Maurice count of Nassau, afterwards prince of Orange; and was engaged in many military actions of those times, both by sea and land. He was made a captain in the wars of France, occasioned in that kingdom by the League; and there knighted for his good service under Henry IV. king of France. He was next employed in Ireland, as lieutenantgeneral of the horse, and serjeant-major of the whole army, under Robert earl of Essex, and Charles Baron of Montjoy, in the reign of queen Elizabeth. Upon the accession of king James I. he was, on account of his family’s deserts and sufferings, advanced, July 21, 1603, to the dignity of a peer of this realm, by the title of Baron of Dantesey: and in J 605, by a special act of parliament, restored in blood as heir to his father, notwithstanding the attainder of his elder brother, sir Charles Danvers, knight. He was also appointed lord president of Munster in Ireland; and in 1620 made governor of the Isle of Guernsey for life. By king Charles I. he was created earl of Danby, February 5, 1625-6; and made of his privy council; and knight of the order of the garter. Being himself a man of learning, as well as a great encourager of it, and observing that opportunities were wanting in the university of Oxford for the useful study of botany, he purchased for the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds, five acres of ground, opposite Magdalen college, which had formerly served for a burying-place to the Jews (residing in great numbers at Oxford, till they were expelled England by king Edward I. in 1290), and conveyed his right and title to that piece of land to the university, on the 27th of March, 1622. The ground being first considerably raised, to prevent its being overflowed by the river Cherwell, the heads of the university laid the first stones of the walls, on the 25th of July following. They were finished in 1633, being fourteen feet high: and cost the noble benefactor about five thousand pounds. The entrance into the garden is on the north side under a stately gate, the charge of building which amounted to between rive and fix hundred pounds. Upon the front of that gateway, is this Latin inscription: Gloriie Dji Opt. Max. Honori Caroli Regis, in usum Acad. et Keipub. Henricus Comes Danby, D.D. MDCXXXII. | For the maintenance of it, and of a gardener, the noble founder left, by will, the impropriate rectory of Kirkdale in Yorkshire: which was afterwards settled for the same purpose, by his brother and heir sir John Danvers, knt. The earl of Danby’s will bore date the 14th of December, 1640.

He founded also an alms-house, and a free-school, at Malmesbury in Wiltshire. In his latter days he chose a retired life and (upon what account is not well known) fell under the displeasure of the court.*


He was fined five thousand pounds in the star-chamber, for having felled timber in Wichwood-forest, without licence; a severe punishment, which would not have been inflicted upon him, had he been in the good graces of the court.

At length, he died at his house in Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, Jan. 20, 1643-4, in the seventy-first year of his age: and was buried in the chancel of the parish-church of Dantesey, under a noble monument of white marble, with an epitaph which contains a high character of him. He was never married.

His younger brother and heir was sir John Danvers, knt. one of the gentlemen of the privy-chamber to Charles I. who was so ungrateful and inhuman, as to sit in judgment upon his gracious master, that unfortunate prince, and to be one of those who signed the warrant for his execution. He died before the restoration of king Charles II. but, however, all his estates both real and personal were confiscated in 1661. 1


Biog. Brit.—Fuller’s Worthies, and Lloyd’s Stale Worthies.