Francis VERNEY

Born: 1531, Pendley Manor, Tring, Hertfordshire, England

Died: 1559/60

Buried: 6 Feb 1559/60, St. Andrew's, Holborn

Father: Ralph VERNEY (Sir)

Mother: Elizabeth BRAY

Married 1: Margaret VAUX 2 Apr 1548

Married 2: Mary DUNCOMBE ABT 1560, Morton in Dinton, Buckinghamshire, England

The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Francis Verney of Salden in Mursley, Bucks, received under his father's will of 1543 lands worth 10 pounds a year for life, and his education and welfare by good marriage or other promotion were entrusted to his father's uncle Robert Verney and to his mother's kinsmen Urian Brereton and Sir Reginald Bray.

In 1547 Verney attended the funeral of Henry VIII. Four years later he joined his eldest brother Edmund and their uncle John, 2nd Lord Bray, in the entourage accompanying the Marquess of Northampton. The brothers could have owed their return to the Parliament of Mar 1553, in which Edmund sat as knight of the shire for Buckinghamshire, to a more distant kinsman, the Duke of Northumberland (it is just possible that the Member for Buckinghamshire was not the young courtier but his uncle and namesake, an esquire of the body). The younger Francis Verney is not known to have followed the lead of his elder brother and their uncle Bray in supporting Northumberland during the summer of 1553. Less than 12 months later, however, Verney had joined the household of Princess Elizabeth.

Sir Henry Bedingfield informed the Council of a meeting at Woodstock, Oxfordshire, between Verney and a servant of the late Duke of Suffolk and cited Sir Leonard Chamberlain's judgement that "if there be any practice of ill within all England, this Verney is privy to it". Later in 1554 Verney was employed to carry the Princess's letters to the Council and (although this was not disclosed until 1556) was supposedly privy to a plot to kill Mary and Felipe.

Henry Peckham agreed to raise Buckinghamshire and it was he who persuaded Edmund and Francis Verney, John Bray, second Baron Bray, and several other kinsmen to join the Dudley conspiracy.

Verney was indicted of treason after the plot, and, unlike his brother Edmund, he was brought to trial, convicted and sentenced to death. He was reprieved and eventually pardoned on 10 Apr 1557. He survived to attend the coronation of Elizabeth and was probably the gentleman buried at St. Andrew's, Holborn on 6 Feb 1559, for from the following Jul new leases were made of lands at Salden "late of Francis Verney, deceased and attained for treason".

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