© 2017 John Lucas

I guess when delving back into our ancestors we secretly hope that we will discover a link  with someone famous or even royalty. Statisticians will tell you if you  go far enough back most people have a connection with someone famous or took part in a historical event. In most cases this is  impossible to trace let alone prove.

It is quite likely that an ancestor fought in one on the great battles of the past; Hastings, Agincourt, Waterloo, Trafalar,  Marston Moor  just to name a few. In each of these thousands took part and many perished. Only a few leaders were ever named.

Apart from the official lineage throughout history the monarchy have been generous in sharing their genes within the aristocracy  and the common population alike, particularly the prettier peasants  !

It was not unusual in return for senior posts within the royal courts for the precipitant to offer ‘the services’ of his wife or daughters. We cannot be sure how many Cuckoos lurk among all levels levels of society.

In the case of the LUCAS family, we are fortunate in having a great deal of written prove of our ancestors from 1180 onward in England.

Evidence would suggest the Lucas family originated in Italy and probably migrated from France where they were well established as Lords of the Manor (châteauneuf en- boutieres) to England some time after the conquest. Recently evidence of the French family prior to migrating to England has become more convincing so I include details in the Pre-Westley page

The English Lucas family head first appears in Westley on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds,where he  rented land from the Abbey. It appears that he may also been a tithe collector for the Abbey, this could explain the family’s rise in importance in Bury St Edmunds holding several civic posts.

Accepting the family origins, their Italian roots and time spent in France they could well speak French and Latin; the Norman nobility still used their native tongue, The Church insisting on the continuing use of Latin.

For a few generation we only have reference to one member of the family, presumably the eldest son taking the family name and civic position as Alderman, Bailiff etc and was therefore referred to by the family name; younger sons being taking up alternative names reflecting their trade, i.e. Miller, (black)Smith, Carpenter etc.

The area grow rich from wool production, the family  would have benefited as well. Over a period of time the family spread out to several areas of the country, one important branch established itself at Colchester in Essex. At the time Colchester was a flourishing weaving centre, it was also an important distribution centre for the wool and woollen products produced locally.  With good links to Europe. Much of the wool from West Suffolk must have found itself  in Colchester. Did the family seek to control the supply network within the area.

The Essex branch were strong royalist supporters during the English Civil Wars, and as a result of the outcome lost most of their wealth. Unlike the aristocracy  the Lucas family did not recover their fortunes despite their loyal support during his Charles II’s exile.

Much has been made of the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are related when traced back to Thomas Leighton born 1530. There is a slight link in that Elizabeth Leighton (a direct descendent)  married Thomas Lucas of Colchester - I don’t expect any royal invites, the connection is very tentative.  

Lets look at some characters that stand out:

LUCAS hall of Fame