Fane Becher & Susan D'abridgecourt

Fane Becher and Susan D'abridgecourt


Fane Becher was the third son of Henry Becher and Alice Heron. His name has been spelt in a variety of ways; Fane, Fanus, Phane, Phayne and even Vaine! He was born in London in approx 1546. It is not known where he received his early schooling, but he studied law at the Middle Temple, being admitted to the Bench on the 20th June 1566. His father died in 1570/1571 and his large Estate was divided between his 9 surviving children, his second wife Jane and various other benefactors.

Fane/Phane Becher and Susan Dabridgecourt married on the 12th of May 1572 at the Parish Church of Strathfieldsaye and had at least ten children. Most of them are listed in Burkes Irish Family Records & The Landed Gentry of Ireland. Susan's family had a property in Hampshire called Strathfieldsaye, and Fane and Susan seemed to have settled in the area. Most of their children were baptised at the Parish Church at Hartley Wespall, Hampshire. In 1577 Fane purchased some land with his brothers Henry and Edward and Brother-in-law Chidiock Wardour.

                                                              Arms of Fane Becher and Susan D'abridgecourt


On 14th May 1586  Fane’s son Henry Becher marries Mary Lyon, daughter of William Lyon, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. Henry can only be 14 years old at the most, but this is in fact the age of consent for boys in Elizabethan times, for girls it was 12. The date is recorded in Burkes Irish Family Records. It presumably took place in Ireland, as 1586 is the year that William Lyon became the Bishop of Cork. However a Mortgage deed for the 3rd May 1586 gives Fane's  residence as Widley, Hampshire.



After the Rebellion by the Catholic Earl of Desmond, Queen Elizabeth decided to ensure the loyalty of Ireland to the Crown by settling the land with Protestant English. She offered land to the younger sons of Gentry. Fane was given 12,000 acres from land forfeited by the Earl of Desmond; the seigniory of Kinalmeaky.  His land was on the south side of the river Bandon.. He was to pay nominal rent, and settle the land with 86 protestant families. There were to have no Irish families permitted to hold any of the. land. According to Bennett's A History of Bandon, Fane Becher appears to be the only “patentee” to comply with the terms. He founded the town of Bandon Bridge, later sold in 1618 by Henry Becher to the Earl of Cork.


Here is a contemporary quote to attest to his hard work. "This Master Beecher," said he, "by means of his honest and plaine dealing, rather seeking to replenish his countrie with people, according to her Majesty's grant, than esteeming any great gain to himself, hath gotten more sufficient tennauntes into his saide countrie than any other two that doe attempte the like within the province of Munster.  Soe wel doe oure countriemen esteem of his worde, that, of my own knowledge, a dossen gentlemen of good accompt have dealth with him for five hundreth acres apeace onley upon his report; none of which ever saweth same.  But there is no hope of any more land to be had of him, for hath already, to pleasure his countrie, straighted his demeasnes, which, I suppose, he would have done if he had had half the Desmond's land; so many are desirous to inhabbitte with him."* [Robert Payne in 1589, quoted in a History of Bandon by Bennett]


His colonists arrived at Kinsale harbour and made their way overland. The new settlement included a preacher and a free school. Presumably his own younger children attended. Captain Newce established his settlement on the opposite side of the river, leading to the establishment of Bandon Bridge. The Irish called it Drohid-Mahon [O’Mahon’s Bridge]

It is difficult to tell how much time Fane Becher actually spent in Ireland. As he did not receive his lands in Ireland until 1586 or 87,it seems most if not all his children were born in England . In fact he appears to have only spent three or four years in Ireland at the most, possibly only two. In 1588 Fane claims to have lost £200 worth of household goods when his residence was burnt out by the O’Mahoney’s In fact this residence was Castle Mahon/Castle O'Mahowne itself. His attorney Richard Harrison writes in 1589 a "doleful" account, and states that Fane will return to Ireland in 1590 .In 1589 correspondence written by him from Ireland survives.   Document  E 133/6/822 is a record of the Exchequer, listing an injunction directed to John and Richard Cary, that they are to permit Phane Becher, Gent and Queen's Farmer to collect and take the tithe of corn from the Parsonage of Milton Abbattes, Wilts & Hants. Assuming that  this is the same Phane, it appears that he was also employed in the work of the Queen in England. Records show that he was in England for at least part of 1590, as he applied for a pension from the Middle Temple.. Michael Macarthy-Morrogh [In the Munster Plantation; pub1986]places him in Ireland in 1591 when he arrived and found his agent Payne had prepared “faulty accounts and other misconduct". On 18th Feb 1591/2 his name appears on a bond to a Homfrey Mosely. Fane was  in London in 1592 where he had Robert Payne imprisoned. His will is dated 26th September 1592, in which he describes himself as of the Silver St, in the Parish of St Olave and is buried there just 3 days later, survived by his wife Susan and children. His will is surprisingly simple [in part at least becausre he must have literally been on his death bed], with his son Phane [who was only 10 years old] the only one mentioned by name. This is possibly because his other children have already received their inheritance. His son Henry Becher succeeds to the family Estates in Ireland.


Vaine Beecher September 29 1592 from the register of St Olave, Silver St, London. [eccentric and variable spelling adding to the challenge...]


Rather oddly Mr Henry Smith in his report on the State of Munster written on 30th October 1598 specifically mentions that "Castle Mahon of Mr Phane Becher is abandoned, and that Mr Hugh Worth his partner has returned to England some time before, having contracted a dangerous disease..." As Phane Becher had been dead 5 years it is not surprising that he was not in residence, however it sounds as if Henry was also not living there at that date.



I have not been able to find out what happened to Fane's wife Susan [nee D'abridgecourt]. She was still alive when Fane wrote his will in 1592 and until recently that was the last trace of her I could find. However, I know know that Susan was still living in 1611/12 as her sister-in-law Elizabeth Harrison [nee Becher formerly Kelke] forgives Susan and her sonne of the debt they owe. Unfortunately the son is not named and the debt is not detailed nor is a place of residence given, but it is a big step to know that she is still living and not remarried 20 years after I last found her.


Fane Becher and Susan D'abridgecourt's children

1. Henry Becher

b. approx 1572/3

d. 1610 in Co Cork according to several secondary sources, but it seems likely he was living until at least 1619 and possibly much later.

Married in 1586 Mary Lyon daughter of William Lyon Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.

2. Edward Becher

b. 1576, baptised on 20 July 1576 at Hartley Wespall, Hampshire

d. 1617 at CrookhavenCo Cork, Ireland

He married Alice Walche of Dublin and had issue; Edward Becher and Fane Becher

3. Margaret Becher

b. 1577, baptised 12 Nov 1577 at Hartley Wespall, Hampshire

d. unknown, probably the Margarett Becher buried 27 May 1609 at Stathfield Saye, Hampshire

4. Judith Becher

b. 1579, baptised 6 Jan 1579 at Hartley Wespall, Hampshire.

d. unknown

5. Elizabeth Becher

b. 1581/82, baptised March 1581/1582 at Hartley Wespall, Hampshire

d. unknown

Married Randall Warner of London

6. Phane Becher

b. 1582, baptised at 25 November 1582 at Hartley Wespall,

d. unknown, but after 1592 as he is mentioned in his father's will

7. Stephen Becher

b. 1584/1585, baptised on 23rd January 1585/1585 at Harley Wespall

d. January 1584/85, buried on 28th January 1584/85 at Hartley Wespall.

8. William Becher

b. 1585, baptised on 25 July 1585 at Hartley Wespall

d. Aft 1617

9. Katherine Becher

b. unknown

d. unknown

Married Richard Richmond Shepherd (or Shipward)

10. Jane Becher

b. unknown

d. unknown

Married Hugh Prescott of Staffordshire.


Becher family of Cork [Home].