LOVELL, Sir Thomas I (by 1450-1524), of East Harling, Norf. and Elsing by Enfield, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1450, 5th s. of Sir Ralph Lovell of Barton Bendish, Norf. by Joan. educ. L. Inn, adm. 1464. m. (1) Eleanor, da. of Geoffrey Ratcliff; (2) Isabel, da. and coh. of Thomas, 9th Lord Ros, wid. Kntd. 16 June 1487, banneret 17 June 1497, KG nom. bef. May 1503.1

Offices Held

Treasurer, L. Inn 1472-5, autumn reader 1475, gov. 1475-6, 1479-80, 1481-2.

J.p. Norf. 1478-81, 1485-d., Mdx. 1491- d., Oxon. 1493-1515, Notts. 1493-1514, midland counties 1493, Staffs. 1493, 1508-d., Berks. 1495-d., Surr. 1505-d., esquire of the body 1485, knight 1487; Councillor 1485; treasurer of the chamber 1485-Aug. 1492, of the Household Aug. 1492-24 Apr. 1522; chancellor of the Exchequer 12 Oct. 1485-28 May 1516; constable, Wallingford castle (with Sir William Stonor) Nottingham castle 1489, the Tower 1513; warden and c.j. in eyre, Sherwood forest 1489, this side of the Trent, 1510; jt. (with James Hobart) steward, duchy of Lancaster, Cambs., Norf., and Suff., 1489-1518; commr. array Norf. 1490, Notts. 1511, midland counties 1513, subsidy Bucks. 1512, Mdx. 1512, 1514, 1515, 1523, Norf. 1515, 1523, Household 1514, 1515, enclosures Mdx. 1517; apprentice-at-law retained by duchy of Lancaster by 1498; high steward, universities of Oxford and Cambridge 1509; marshal of the Household 1512-13; master of wards 14 June 1513-18, jt. (with Richard Weston) Jan. 1518-Dec. 1520; lt. of Calais temp. Hen. VIII.2

Speaker of House of Commons 1485.


At the accession of Henry VIII, Sir Thomas Lovell was able to look back on a distinguished career in the service of the first Tudor monarch, one of whose firmest supporters he had been. The young King, who to please his subjects dismissed several of his father’s advisers, confirmed Lovell in all his offices despite his unpopularity with some and rewarded him with two important posts, the constableship of the Tower and the mastership of wards: thus assured he continued to be one of the most respected and influential men in the realm. During the absence abroad of the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury he was entrusted with the marshalcy of the royal household, and in 1513 he remained in England to guide Catherine of Aragon in her regency while the King and most of his Council went to France. A year later he did briefly visit Calais (unless it was his nephew, knighted at Tournai, who did so), for which as lieutenant he was responsible. He disagreed with the policies favoured by the King’s ascendant minister Wolsey, and in 1516 the Venetian ambassador reported his temporary withdrawal from court when he lost his chancellorship, and the resignation of several of his most intimate colleagues. Lovell was never to recover his former position on the Council, perhaps because he was growing old and infirm and now preferred retirement: certainly he played a role of decreasing importance, executing the posts which he retained only through joint appointments or deputies, and making it clear that he had no intention of sitting on the many commissions to which he was named.3

Presumably Lovell was elected to the first four Parliaments of Henry VIII, although in the absence of the returns his Membership is known only for that of 1510 when he and several associates (who were not named) received the ‘Subsidy Act’ at the bar of the Upper House. He had probably been elected on this occasion (as he had been at least once before) for Middlesex, where his marriage to the sister and eventual coheir of the 10th Lord Ros, and his occupation of the Ros mansion at Enfield, made him one of the more important figures. A letter dated 14 May 1523, about events in the Parliament then sitting at the Blackfriars, ends with a report that he, Henry Marney, 1st Baron Marny, and Sir Nicholas Vaux, 1st Lord Vaux, were ‘right sick’; notwithstanding his age and Wolsey’s coolness towards him, he evidently still counted in public estimation.4

Lovell survived both Marney and Vaux to die in the following year on 25 May at Elsing. He had made his will on 10 Dec. 1522, directing that he should be buried in the chapel which he had built in Holywell priory, Shoreditch. He left money for numerous religious establishments, the two universities and charities; his King, colleagues, kinsmen, friends and the ‘young gentlemen’ of his household (who included Richard Manners, Francis Goodere and Richard Whalley) were also generously remembered (he had been a notable benefactor to his inn during his life). His heir was his nephew (called ‘cousin’ in the will) Francis Lovell, father of Sir Thomas Lovell II. His bust in profile was cast by the Italian sculptor, Torrigiano.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from education. Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 190-1; Blomefield, Norf. i. 272; CP, ii. 546.
  • 2. CPR, 1476-85, p. 566; 1485-94, pp. 18, 23, 205, 265-7; 1494-1509, pp. 482-508, 630-61; W. C. Richardson, Tudor Chamber Admin. 484-7; Statutes, iii. 82, 86, 116-17, 170-3; Somerville, Duchy, i. 453, 595; Al. Cant. ii. 108; Al. Ox. 941; LP Hen. VIII, i-iii.
  • 3. J. S. Roskell, The Commons and their Speakers 1376-1523, pp. 358-9; A. F. Pollard, Hen. VII, i. 149, 189, 196; Richardson, 67, 99, 110-15; Chron. Calais (Cam. Soc. xxxv), 15; Hall, Chron. 424, 555; CSP Span. 1509-26, p. 247; CSP Ven. 1509-19, nos. 750, 791.
  • 4. LJ, i. 8; LP Hen. VIII, iii; Orig. Letters ed. Ellis (ser. 1), 223.
  • 5. C142/41/62; PCC 27 Jankyn; HMC Rutland, iv. 260; Survey London, viii. 154; R. C. Strong, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, 202; Procs. Soc. Antiqs. London (ser. 2), xviii. 280-4; J. Pope-Hennessy, Ital. Renaissance Sculpture, 320-1.