LACON, Roland (c.1537-1608), of Willey and Kinlet, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. c.1537, 1st s. of Richard Lacon of Willey by Agnes, da. of (Sir) John Blount† of Kinlet, and sis. of Sir George Blount; bro. of William. m. Eleanor, da. of William Rigges of Stragglethorpe, Lincs., 2s. 3 or 4da. suc. fa. 1543.1
Bailiff, Much Wenlock 1560-1, 1564-5; j.p. Salop from c.1573-c.84, from 1591, sheriff 1570-1, commr. recusancy 1585.2
Willey was within the borough of Much Wenlock, for which Lacon was returned soon after attaining his majority. The only reference to him in the journals of the House is leave of absence granted 10 Mar. 1559 ‘for his business at the assizes’. In 1581 his uncle Sir George Blount conveyed extensive estates to him at Kinlet and elsewhere, making him one of the largest landed magnates in the county. At one time he also owned property in Buckinghamshire, but there is no evidence that he ever lived outside Shropshire.3
Though listed by the bishop of Hereford in 1564 as ‘a favourer of religion’, Lacon’s religious views are obscure. A Catholic servant was prosecuted for conspiracy in 1572, his widow was an open recusant, and his heir Sir Francis (who married a daughter of Viscount Montagu) was a recusant in James’s reign. It may have been because of his religious views that Lacon’s name was left off the 1584/7 commission of the peace, but his name re-appears in 1591, so this may not be significant, nor does his appointment as a recusancy commissioner mean anything either way. Evidently his loyalty was not in doubt. He contributed £50 to the Armada defence fund. In the will he made 2 Nov. 1608, the day before his death, he left his wife only the jewel he was accustomed to wear about his neck. Perhaps he had already made an arrangement to safeguard her against the possible loss of any property because of her recusancy. The will mentioned a number of relatives, including five grandchildren. The largest bequest, outside Lacon’s immediate family, was to Mary, wife of Hector Danby, who received £200 and a gold ring. The heir, Sir Francis, was the sole executor; a younger son, Thomas, and (Sir) Francis Newport II, the husband of Lacon’s daughter Beatrice, were appointed overseers.4