© 2017 John Lucas

with this Tho[ma]s. Lucas, the connections with West Stow comes to an end altogether, for he appears to have sold his lands there to Sir John Crofts. In early life this Tho[ma]s Lucas was secretary to Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke and Duke of Bedford. In grateful memory of his patron, this Tho[ma]s Lucas called his eldest son, Jasper. Jasper Tudor was the younger brother of Edmund Tudor, so uncle to Henry VII. Lucas probably owed some of his success in after life to his connections with Jasper Tudor. In his will Lucas left money for a Priest to pray especially for the soul of Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford.

From his position in the household of Jasper Tudor, uncle of Henry VII, Lucas gradually rose to be privy Councillor and Solicitor General to Henry VII. This was in 1504 and various manors were bestowed upon Lucas and also acquired by him. The Duke of Bedford granted Lucas, for life, the manor of Pembroke and Dunham Hall in Westley, Suffolk.

Having acquired wealth about 1505 Lucas purchased the lands of Little Saxham where he set to work to build a mansion and hall. Nothing of this house remained in 1900, only the foundations. It is said the mansion was there in 1713 and the moat which surrounded the mansion was there in 1900. The total cost of this mansion was seven hundred and nineteen pounds, three shillings and one half pence ("Little Saxham Reg"). While building the mansion for himself, Lucas did not forget to also build for the Almighty, according to the light of his day. He added a chantry chapel to the North-side of Saxham Church, dedicating it to "Our Lady and St. John the Evangelist." Under the archway between this chapel and the chancel he build a tomb for himself, though he was never buried there. The chapel was still standing there in 1900.

During the reign of Richard, Abbott of St. Martin's de Bello, he (Richard) bestowed upon Lucas for his advice given to the church the advowson (meaning the patronage of a church living) of the church of Thurlow in Suffolk, an annual pension of two and a half marks issuing our of the vicarage. Thereafter Lucas acquired "Large's Manor" from Roger Darcy, who was a descendant of Thos Hethe (see History of Suffolk). Up until this time there had been three small manors in Little Saxham; that is, Geddying's (also called "Topesfield"), "Large's", and "Grace", Lucas purchased all three before he built his mansion, which he occupied until about the time of his death in 1531.

In letters and papers of the reign of Henry VIII, Dr. Brewer has calendared two letters from Lucas to Cardinal Wolsey; one is dated May 1528 and the other is dated Aug. 1528. These letters were perhaps written from Little Saxham and addressed "My Lord Cardinal's Grace." Lucas says he would not have troubled Wolsey with writing, "but after waiting to speak to him since the end of the term till last Wednesday, he was always told that Wolsey had no leisure and in the meantime Lucas' wife had died, and he had to go home."

It is evident from that letter that Lucas and Wolsey were not on the best of terms and it appears many years before on 25 June 1516 that Lucas had been sent to the Tower "for speaking scandalous" word of the Lord Cardinal."

It will be noted that the Lucas family have been followed thru' twelve generations, from the time of the man at Westley who held the lands there of the Abbey in 1180, and whose name was plain Lucas, to the time of Thomas Lucas, grandson of the Solicitor General, who was still residing in Little Saxham; then four more generations remained at Horsecroft in Horringer, Suffolk. From the "Visitations" edited by Dr. Howard in 1900, it would appear that the family of Lucas was by no means extinct in England.

Thos Lucas, the Solicitor General, married Elizabeth, a dau of John Keymess (or Kemeys, Kemys, Kaymess) of the House of Mabley in Raglan, South Wales. It is easy to see how he met with a Welsh wife, being the Secretary to Jasper Tudor, a Welshman, who had various posts in South Wales. Lucas' wife had died before Aug 1528, according to his letter to Wolsey.

The Kemeys family owned large estates in Raglan, Mommouthshire, Wales. The first of the family was Payne de Kemeys, one of the companions of Hamelyn, the Conqueror off Gwent.

This Thomas Lucas died 7 July 1531 and is buried in London.

By Elizabeth, his wife, he had three sons and two daughters; Jasper, eldest son and heir, Henry, John, Anne, wife of Sir Thomas Barnardston of Kelton, Suffolk, and Lettice, wife of John Greenfield of Exeter, Devon. In Dr. Howrd's "Visitations of Suffolk" he states that Lucas had another dau Elizabeth, wife of Ayloff of Essex. However no mention is made of this dau in his last will or in the Herlad's Visitations. He does mention in his last will Elizabeth Wirburton, his wife's dau by her previous marriage.

Thomas Lucas made his last will 1 July 1531. this will is lenghty and most interesting, part of which is given:

"I, Thomas Lucas of Little Saxham, in the countie of Suffolk, equier, being sike in boyde and of good mind and parfitt remembrance, do renounce and deny all previous testaments and make this my last will and testament." He bequeaths to the churhces of West Stow, Hamgrave, and Thirlow (Thurlow), Little Saxham, Sudeley, Thornbury, Ludlow and St. Mary Axe of London, "for tythes and oblacions forgotten and not duly payde, ten shillings each; also this same amount to be paid to the Friars of London to pray for the soul of his friend, Duke of Bedford; he also leaves money to the Friars of Clare, Thetford and Nonnes to pray for his (Lucas') soul. After his death he asks his executors to provide two honest Priests to sing in the little chapel of "Our Lady and St. John the Evangelist" church in Little Saxham, one Priest to pray especially for the Duke of Bedford and the other to pray for Lucas' soul for two years; also for the soul of his wife and his father and his mother and esp. for the soul of his daughter-in-law, Margery Lucas. Every Priest to rec. six pounds yearly for his services. He remembers his servants, Morgan Richard, John Lewis, Agnes Fairfax and Roger Dunwiche and Margaret Gaven.

He leaves 200 sheep to his son-in-law, John Greenfield; also money to the "poor scollers in the University of Cambridge." He bequeaths a legacy to Elizabeth, wife of King's Head Tavern, which tavern was located near the temple gate in London. to his daughter Anne Barnardston he leaves a silver cup "from which his wife use to drink ale,", to his daughter Lettice and to his granddaughter, little Anne Barnardston, a legacy. He mentions his wife's dau Elizabeth Wirburton, to rec. such as his wife's clothing as his Executors think necessary; to his servants John Holmes, John Golche and Wm. Clerk (Clark) "wages."

To Thos Lucas, son of his deceased son, Jasper, Lucas, he leaves his house in Little Saxham with all of the lands compassing the said place; if he should die without issue, "then this land to go to my son, John Lucas." He leaves to his third son, John Lucas, the manors of "Geddying's Hall' otherwise called "Topisfield," "Little Saxham,", Large's and Grace and the manor of Westley which was originally called Leo's Hall, later Lucas Hall in Little Saxham, together with all of the lands lying in Chedbare, Barrow, Little Horingsheath, Westley, Bury St. Edmunds, Great Saxham, Hemgrave, Forenham, All Saints and Culfords within said County of Suffolk. He mentions manors of Roegerston and Sutton in the towns of Newport and Wenthlocke in Wales, which manors and estates he granted to his son, John Lucas, and his heirs. He further states that the various manors in Wales had been granted to him and his heirs by his brother-in-law, Roger Kemys. He appointed his son and his sons-in-law, John Greenfield and Sir Thos Barnardston as Executors, Wit.: besides the three above, he names as John Elneston, gentleman, Sir Thos Clerk (Clark) par Priest of St. Margaret's in Westminster; Margaret Gedding, a widow; Margaret Grovenor, widow of John Holmes and many others.

On Apr 1532 Thos Barnardston renounced his appointment as Executor and the Adm. was granted to John Lucas and John Greenfield.

Thos Hethe purchased the manor of "Leo's Hall" later called "Lucas Hall" or Lucehall" between 1446-1485, on Hethe's death this estate was sold to the Duke of Buckinham who conveyed it to Thos Lucas, the Solicitor General. It passed under Lucas's will in 1531 to his son, John, who later sold this land to Wm. Brooke, gentleman.

Gage, in his "Hist. of Thingoe Hundred,"  states that Thos Lucas, the Solicitor General, purchased during the reign of Henry VII, the manor of "Charman's" which consisted of 300 acres in West Stow from Wm. Child. Lucas's estate of "Great Horingsberth" was later called "Horsecroft" and was located in the par of "Thingoe Hundred." This hamlet was est. as early as 1154-1189 during the reign of Henry II and it was continued divided among various proprietors until the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603) when it beloged to Thos Lucas, Esq., grandson of the Solicitor General, who bouught up most of the land in 1567 from Jasper Waren, gentleman, together with a mansion which had been lately erected by John Holte of Bury St. Edmunds.

Thomas was given Pembroke or Dunham Hall in Westley by Jasper (Duke of Bedford) uncle of Henry VII, in 1489.

He was made bailiff of the lordship Acton Burnell in Salop and keeper of the park in 1496

In 1500 he was bestowed the advowson of Thurlow Church  in Suffolk.

He died 7th July 1531 Gave 40 shillings to the poor at his funeral.

He gave 10 shillings each to the churches of Westow, Hengrave, Thurlow, Little Saxham. Sudeley, Thornbury, Ludlow and St Mary Axe in London.

10 shillings each to the Friars of Babwell and Clare, Friars and nuns at Thetford.

To the Prior and brethren of the cross in London 30 pounds towards the building of their house and to pray for Jasper Duke of Bedford.

To Little Saxham church for ‘chancel to be renewed about’ and for two honest priests to pray for the Duke of Bedford, himself, his wife and daughter Margery for two years. Priests salary six pounds per year. At the same time twenty-six shillings and eight pence distributed among the poor.

Convent of Babwell to sing four trentals for the souls of his late servants Morgan ep Richard, John Bowes, Agnes Fairfax and Richard Dunwich.

200 sheep to son in law John Greenfed.

Forty Nine pounds to support poor scholars at Cambridge. For marriage of poor maids and repair the highway especially the Chevington Way.

To Roger executors to to Elizabeth late wife of the keeper of The Kings Head tavern, before Temple Gate, London - forty marks or less !

House at Little Saxham to Grandson Thomas son of Jasper (deceased)

To his son John Geddyng of Topesfeld’s , Larges and Graces manors in Little Saxham and Leo’s Hall in Westley. Also Rogerston and Sutton, and lands in Newport  and Wenlock which he inherited from his wife’s brother Roger Kemys.

“The Hall. I have already said that it was first built by Sir Thomas Lucas, Solicitor General to Henry 7th, who died in 1531. It was at this time, 1638 , inhabited by… (Saxham Parish Records)”

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“Thomas Lucas is not valued or taxed here, [Little Saxham] though his name is put down. He had been Solicitor General to Henry  VII, and perhaps was taxed in London.]”

Building of Little Saxham hall started in 1505 and took 8 years to build. He also owned Dunham hall and Lucas Hall in Westley, as well as others around the area.

Thomas gained position by supporting Lancastrians in war of the Roses

Notes on Thomas

  THOMAS LUCAS made his last will 1 JUL 1531, or the day he died.It is lengthy, and only a part of it is here. (He first gave a lot to every church he was ever associated with, and has prayers said for several people).

 he leaves 200 sheep to his son-in-las, JOHN GREENFIELD, and money to the poor scholars in the U.  of cambridge.  He bequeaths a legacy to Elizabeth, wife of the King's Head Tavern, near the Temple Gate, London.  To his daughter, ANNE BERNARDSON, a silver cup from which his wife used to drink, and to his daughter, LETTICE and granddaughter, anne, a legacy.  He leaves to his wife's daughter, ELIZABETH WILLBURTON as much of his wife's clothing as his executor thinks necessary, and "wages" to three servants.

        To THOMAS LUCAS, son of his deceased son, JASPER, he leaves his house in Little Saxham, with all the lands encompassing the said place; if he dies without issue, the land will go to his son, JOHN LUCAS.  to his third son, JOHN, he leaves Toppesfield manor. Little Saxham Large's, and Grace the manor at Westley and lots of land.

        He mentions manors of Rogerston and sutton in New Port and Wenthlocke in Wales , which he granted to his son JOHN LUCAS and heirs.