Thursday 4th July
Raby Castle
6pm - 7pm

Sir Henry Vane the Younger,  1613-1662; Discovering an extraordinary life and legacy 

In 1662 Sir Henry Vane, owner of Raby Castle was executed at Tower Hill, London, described by the newly crowned King Charles II as “too dangerous to let live”. Almost forgotten in Britain, Sir Henry is a tantalising and complex character; idealist, family man, religious radical, parliamentarian and statesman all in one.

As a young man, Vane followed his Puritan convictions to Massachusetts Bay, briefly serving as Governor in 1636 , a turbulent time for the colony and a role for which he was ill-equipped. His friendships with some of the giants of early 17th century American history include,  Anne Hutchinson, the radical puritan teacher banished from Boston in the midst of religious controversy,  and  Roger Williams, who credited Vane as fundamental to securing the Charter for the foundation of Rhode Island. Even Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts, opponent of Henry in the 1630s would later go on to describe him as a “true friend of New England”.

On returning home, Henry rose to prominence alongside Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians. A prolific writer, his spiritual and political texts challenged convention, supporting constitutional governance by an elected Senate,  rather than power being held in the hands of an individual; a cause for which he would eventually lose his life.

Today, Vane is remembered at his family home, Raby Castle. Curator Julie Biddlecombe-Brown has been trying to piece together his story from his writings, family papers and various biographies, all of which capture an aspect of the man, but struggle to present the full picture.   In this talk to coincide with America’s 4th July celebrations of independence, Julie aims to piece together aspects of Henry’s life and explores a complex legacy that sees him commemorated on the Boston sculpture as “an Ardent Defender of Civil Liberty and Free Thought in Religion

Raby Castle Exterior by Darlophoto

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