Francis Hare-Naylor (1753–1815) was an English historical author.
He was the eldest son of Robert Hare-Naylor of Hurstmonceaux in Sussex, canon of Winchester (son of Francis Hare), by his first wife, Sarah, daughter of Lister Selman of Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire. His mother died when he was a child, and his father then married Henrietta Henckell. She persuaded her husband into demolitions of Hurstmonceaux Castle, for the construction of a house to be settled on her own children.
Francis Hare-Naylor had a legacy from his mother, and lived almost entirely in London. There he formed a friendship with Charles James Fox, and became one of the circle around Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire at Chiswick. She introduced him to her cousin Georgiana Shipley, fourth daughter of Jonathan Shipley, who had learned painting in Joshua Reynolds's studio. Her eldest sister Anna Maria was the wife of Sir William Jones.
Bishop Shipley invited Hare-Naylor to Twyford, but the following day he was arrested for debt while driving in the episcopal coach with Georgiana and her parents. He was then forbidden the house. The Duchess of Devonshire gave the pair an annuity of £200 a year, and on this they married. They went to Karlsruhe, and then to the north of Italy. Georgiana Hare-Naylor devoted herself to painting, the family eventually settling at Bologna; Georgiana formed a friendship with Clotilda Tambroni, professor of Greek there.
In 1797 Hare's father died, and it was found that his second wife had built her new house of Hurstmonceaux Place on entailed land. The Hare-Naylors set off for England, leaving three of their children in the care of Clotilda Tambroni and Father Emmanuele Aponte, a Spanish priest, and appointing Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti tutor of their precocious eldest son.
The Hare-Naylors settled at Hurstmonceaux. Hare-Naylor's democratic principles made enemies, and he rejected a baronetcy. From 1799, when the Hare-Naylors fetched home their children, life became a financial struggle, requiring support from the now-widowed Lady Jones.
In 1803 Georgian Hare-Naylor began a large series of pictures representing Hurstmonceaux Castle as it appeared before the demolitions. She finished her work, but then completely lost her sight. In the following year the Hare-Naylors went to reside at Weimar, where the reigning duchess was on good terms with the family.
On Easter Sunday, 1806, Georgiana Hare-Naylor died at Lausanne, leaving her children to the care of Lady Jones (her eldest sister). After his wife's death Hare-Naylor never returned to Hurstmonceaux, and in 1807 he sold the estate. In April 1815 he died, after a lingering illness, at Tours, and was buried beneath the altar of Hurstmonceaux Church.
Hare-Naylor wrote unperformed plays, The Mirror and The Age of Chivalry, which were rejected at Drury Lane. In 1801 he published his History of the Helvetic Republics (two volumes, second enlarged edition 4 vols. 1809). While at Weimar, Hare-Naylor published a novel, Theodore, or the Enthusiast, for which John Flaxman, whose sister Maria Flaxman had been his children's governess, made a series of illustrations. In 1816 was published Hare-Naylor's best-known work, a Civil and Military History of Germany, from the landing of Gustavus to the Treaty of Westphalia,' in two volumes.
The four sons of Francis with Georgiana Hare-Naylor, Francis, Augustus, Julius, and Marcus, were born in Italy.
In 1807 he married again a relation of his first wife, by whom he became the father of two sons and a daughter, who was the second wife of Frederick Denison Maurice.