LAKE, Thomas I (d.1606), of Fairlight and Hastings, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

?m. 1558 or 9, Elizabeth, wid. of Richard Bishop of Hastings.

Offices Held

Of counsel to the Cinque Ports by 1569; constable of the guestling 1569; jurat, Hastings prob. by 1570, bailiff 1577, 1584, capt. of trained bands.


Lake was an active member of the Hastings corporation for many years. Either he, or the corporation on his behalf, raised objections when he was appointed constable of the guestling, or Cinque Ports assembly, Lake first claiming exemption on the ground of his work for Hastings, then, when the Privy Council rejected this, that as a baron of the Cinque Ports he could not be called upon for service at the guestling. By February 1575 the Council had had enough of Lake’s case, and instructed the sheriff and Sussex j.p.s to see that he exercised the office of constable ‘for this year by himself or his sufficient deputy’. At the same time they warned the mayor of Hastings ‘to take no advantage of him for his personal absence by attendance in that office’.

There are a few later references to Lake: in 1588, when he paid an official visit to Great Yarmouth as a ‘bailiff of the barons of the Cinque Ports’; and in January 1598, when he rode to the guestling at Rye on business connected with Hastings. From a journal he wrote for the Hastings corporation, he appears a forthright, outspoken man, a strong supporter of the rights of the Ports. At Great Yarmouth he carried on disputes with the local corporation for nearly a fortnight, the matters at issue ranging from where he and his fellow bailiff should sit at the church services, to the amount of judicial authority held by the Ports’ bailiffs over offenders presented in Yarmouth during the fair. To a complaint about his ‘wrangling’, he replied

In that you call me a wrangler for challenging our own right, I am sorry my masters of the Ports had no better judgment than to send a wrangler unto you.

This spirit was shown on a wider stage in 1596, when Lake must have been an elderly man. The Hastings corporation manuscripts, recording his death on 11 Oct. 1606, have the note:

This man was captain of one of the ships of the Ports under the Earl of Essex at the sacking of Cales [Cadiz], where he fought manfully with many great Spanish ships and galleys to his great renown. And that monument hanging in the south chancel of St. Clement’s church he brought thence out of one of the Spanish ships.

Lake may at one time have been engaged in trade with Germany. Nothing is known of his domestic life. He does not appear by name in the surviving records of his three Parliaments, but the burgesses for Hastings were appointed to a committee concerning the import of fish on 6 Mar. 1587.

PCC 39 Chaynay; Suss. Arch. Colls. xiv. 100-1; Moss, Hastings, 135; Hastings mss A/A9; Arch. Cant. xxiii. 162-83; APC, viii. 137, 235, 238, 338, 345; D’Ewes, 412; HMC 13th Rep. IV, 357, 360.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge