FARRANT, Colonel FRANCIS (b. 1803 [?]; d. 1868), British soldier and diplomat. Farrant was gazetted a lieutenant in the Bombay Light Cavalry in 1823. He went to Persia with Colonel Passmore’s military mission in 1833, remaining there until 1852. After the death of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah (q.v.) in 1834, Farrant, along with some other British officers, accompanied Moḥammad Mīrzā, the heir apparent, on his march to Tehran and was rewarded with the Order of the Lion and Sun. From 1834-37 Farrant was responsible for training the Persian cavalry at Zanjān, before becoming private secretary to John McNeil, the British minister, whom he accompanied to the siege of Herat in 1838 (see ANGLO-AFGHAN WARS i.; ANGLO-IRANIAN RELARTIONS ii.). From 1839-43 Farrant was military secretary to the British Legation and in 1842 attended the Turco-Persian Commission in Erzurum (see BOUNDARIES i.), whence he was sent to Baghdad and Karbalāʾ to report on the massacre of Persians by the Ottoman army. In 1844 he was appointed diplomatic secretary to the Legation in Tehran and acted as chargé d’affaires from 1847 to 1849. He resigned in 1852 following a long-standing feud with his chief, Justin Sheil. A contemporary in Persia described him as “a merry fellow, full of fun and anecdote and never looks at a book” (Schwartz p. 74). Farrant was promoted colonel in 1855.

Bibliography (for cited references not given in detail, see “Short References”):

Bodleian Library, Oxford, 4th Earl of Clarendon papers, C3, C79. Public Record Office, Kew, U.K., especially F.0. 60/65 and 127, F.0. 248/73.

Published Sources. The Foreign Office List and Diplomatic and Consular Year Book, London, 1868, 1869.

East India Company, The East-India Register and Army Lists, London, 1807-13.

Lorimer, Gazetteer. B Schwartz, ed., Letters from Persia Written by Charles and Edward Burgess 1828-55, New York, 1942.

C. Stuart, Journal of a Residence in Northern Persia, London, 1854, pp. 151, 203-4.

(Denis Wright)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999

Cite this entry:

Denis Wright, “FARRANT, FRANCIS,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/farrant (accessed on 20 September 2016).