LANE, Thomas (1583-1652), of Hughenden, Bucks. and the Inner Temple, London; later of Perivale, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

bap. 2 June 1583,2 s. of Robert Lane of Hughenden and Alice, da. of Robert Saunders of Hambledon, Bucks.3 educ. Clifford’s Inn; I. Temple 1602, called 1610.4 m. (1) bef. 1607, Frances, 1s. d.v.p.;5 (2) aft. 1621, Jane, da. of John Duncombe of East Claydon, Bucks., s.p.6 d. 31 Dec. 1652.7 sig. Tho. Lane.

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Bucks. and Berks. 1609;8 j.p. Bucks. 1620-at least 1640 and Staffs. 1641;9 collector, Palatine Benevolence, Bucks. 1622,10 feodary 1629;11 commr. gaol delivery, Bucks. 1640,12 assessment, Bucks. and Mdx. 1643-52,13 suppression of rebels and support of Parliament’s army, Bucks.1644-7 and Mdx. 1647-52,14 support of the Scottish army, Mdx. and Westminster 1645,15 Irish contributions, Bucks., Mdx. and Westminster 1644 and 1648,16 militia, Bucks. and Mdx. 1648.17

Asst. reader, Clifford’s Inn 1617; recorder, Chipping Wycombe, Bucks. by 1620-50; 18 reader, New Inn 1621-2; bencher, I. Temple 1627, steward, reader’s dinner 1628, reader 1629, treas. 1645-6.19


Thomas Lane, who should not be confused with the man of his name who shared in the lease of the tobacco duties early in James’s reign, or with the namesake who served as marshal of the Marshalsea prison in the early 1630s, was descended from a Northamptonshire family. His grandfather bought a small estate at Hughenden in about 1575 and his family prospered enough to send him to Cliffords Inn to study law. Admitted to the Inner Temple in 1601, Lane was called to the bar in 1610. Thereafter his main aim was to advance his legal career. He was already recorder of Chipping Wycombe by September 1620 and a county magistrate three months later.20 He had a minor role in supervising Prince Charles’s estate at Princes Risborough in 1621, by which time his father had probably died.21 As a j.p., he and the mayor of Chipping Wycombe, with the co-operation of Sir William Borlase*, attempted to reduce the number of alehouses in the borough from over 20 to just nine in March 1623.22 Both men were implicitly critical of Sir Francis Goodwin*. Shortly thereafter, Lane and Borlase reported to the Privy Council on grain supplies and provision for the poor in Wycombe and the surrounding area. Lane was close enough to Borlase to be a trustee for his estate.23

Lane was elected for Wycombe in 1625, possibly because Arthur Goodwin did not stand, but apart from being nominated on 29 June to the committee for the bill against bribery he made no impact on the surviving parliamentary records.24 He was more active in 1628, being appointed on 28 Mar. to help investigate the precedents cited in the Five Knights’ Case which touched upon the subject’s liberties and the king’s claim to be entitled to imprison without cause shown.25 Exactly what he found in the Exchequer is not apparent from the subsequent debates, but on 31 Mar. he cited two cases to show that no man could be committed before a specific charge had been laid: those of the duke of Suffolk in Henry VI’s reign and of Glanville in 1616. More interestingly, he cited Bodin’s De Republica, and also Pliny, to the effect that in a monarchy the rule of law was necessary to maintain harmony between the king and his subjects.26 The implication of this observation, of course, was that Charles’s regime had broken this concord. On 1 Apr. he confirmed his view that free men who had been imprisoned were entitled to bring actions for habeas corpus in the Westminster courts and to be bailed.27 His last recorded contribution in this Parliament was on 9 Apr., when the warrants issued by the mayor and recorder of Wells in Somerset for billeting soldiers on the townspeople were discussed. Lane’s view was that the recorder, John Baber*, should not have signed the document but should have left the responsibility for doing so to the mayor.28

Lane’s career in the subsequent decade is more obscure. He may have resisted Ship Money in Buckinghamshire alongside John Hampden*,29 even though he was charged in the Long Parliament with having encouraged its collection.30 No less confusingly, he attracted the attention of the church authorities in 1634 for possessing an elevated pew in Wycombe church, as well as complaints for encouraging sports on the Sabbath and for depriving the vicar of funds to which he was entitled.31 What is certain is that his activities in Chipping Wycombe stimulated a serious but ultimately fruitless effort to prevent his election to the Long Parliament,32 in which he served until he was secluded at Pride’s Purge.

Lane’s income during the 1640s may have amounted to between £500 and £1,000 p.a. 33 During the final stages of his life Lane was close to his second wife’s family.34 His will, drawn up on 17 Mar. 1652, testified to the importance of his wife, Jane, who was to enjoy the manors of Perivale and Ealing in Middlesex for 70 years. The rest of his property was divided between his three brothers, his sister and their offspring. There were no direct heirs. Lane was presumably buried, as he wished, without pomp.35

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Christopher Thompson


  • 1. Secluded 6 Dec. 1648.
  • 2. Cent. Bucks. Stud. PR 110/1/25.
  • 3. Harl. 1533, f. 134.
  • 4. CITR, ii. 54.
  • 5. M.R.S. Downs, Hist. Hughenden, 227, notes the death on 17 Oct. 1621 of Thomas Lane, aged 14, only son of Thomas and Frances Lane.
  • 6. PROB 11/229, ff. 15-16.
  • 7. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 246.
  • 8. C181/2, f. 90.
  • 9. C231/4, pp. 228, 243-4; 231/5, p. 434.
  • 10. E403/2741, f. 63.
  • 11. C142/457/107.
  • 12. C181/5, pp. 338, 352.
  • 13. A. and O. i. 455-6, 614, 630, 958; ii. 24, 38, 285, 303, 456, 471, 653, 668.
  • 14. Ibid. i. 455-6.
  • 15. Ibid. 637.
  • 16. Ibid. 531, 542, 1072, 1078, 1087.
  • 17. Ibid. 1233, 1244.
  • 18. The First Ledger Bk. of High Wycombe ed. R.W. Greaves (Bucks. Rec. Soc. xi), 113; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 323-4.
  • 19. CUL, Kk.6.42, ff. 67v-9v, 256-67v, 278-80v, 284-9v, 291-2; CITR, ii. 166.
  • 20. C231/4, p. 228. He was briefly left off the commn. of the peace bet. 27/28 Mar. 1621 and 9 Apr. 1621: ibid. 243-4. On his work as a j.p., see Cent. Bucks. Stud. D/X 1007/55/1.
  • 21. SP46/164, ff. 94-5v.
  • 22. SP14/139/89.
  • 23. WARD 10/43/1.
  • 24. Procs. 1625, p. 269.
  • 25. Procs. 1628, vi. 105.
  • 26. CD 1628, ii. 216-17. Cf. ibid. i. 114-15 for Glanville’s case.
  • 27. Ibid. ii. 237.
  • 28. Ibid. 378.
  • 29. Stowe 142, f. 44.
  • 30. Keeler, 245.
  • 31. SP16/366/79.
  • 32. A.M. Johnson, ‘Bucks. 1640-60. A Study in County Pols.’ (Univ. of Wales MA thesis, 1963), pp. 58-9.
  • 33. Underdown, 377.
  • 34. PROB 11/229, ff. 15-16; Cent. Bucks. Stud. D/DU Bdle. 2/5, 6, 316.
  • 35. PROB 11/229, ff. 15-16.