LEWKNOR, Thomas (by 1529-71), of Alvechurch, Worcs.

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 1529, 1st s. of Richard Lewknor of ‘Marshelop’, Suss. by Joan, da. of Richard Mascall of Mascalls House, Suss. m. (1) by 1550, Bennett, da. of Thomas Chaloner of Lindfield, Suss., wid. of William Copley of ‘Bedings’ (?Bedingfield), Suff., at least 1s. 1da.; (2) 22 Nov. 1554, Jane, da. of John Wheeler of Droitwich, Worcs., wid. of Baldwin Sheldon of Broadway, Worcs. and John Combe of Stratford-on-Avon, Warws.1

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1555.2


Thomas Lewknor came of the Sussex family of that name, his grandfather having been a younger brother of Sir Roger Lewknor of West Dean. That it was he and not his cousin and namesake of Selsey who sat in the Parliament of 1558 is apparent from his career, even though that Thomas Lewknor held land at South Mimms, Middlesex, as did John Holmes II and Thomas More II, two other Marian Members for Ripon.3

The pattern of Lewknor’s life was set by his service to Nicholas Heath, archbishop of York and chancellor. His first wife was the daughter of a Sussex neighbour but his second, a native of Droitwich, was the widow of Baldwin Sheldon, supposedly a kinsman of the archbishop, and mother of the Anthony Sheldon who was to marry Lewknor’s daughter. Lewknor had evidently accompanied or joined Heath, who was bishop of Worcester from 1544 until 1551 and again from 1554 to 1555, and he settled at Alvechurch, where the bishop had leased the episcopal manor and residence to his brother William Heath. It was with William Heath that Lewknor was to be returned for Ripon in 1558. Ripon had been restored as an archiepiscopal manor soon after Nicholas Heath’s translation to York, and the archbishop clearly used his position there, backed by his authority as chancellor, to nominate both Members.4

For Lewknor, as for his master, the accession of Elizabeth meant banishment from public affairs, and he presumably spent his closing years in retirement at Alvechurch: in 1564 Bishop Sandys listed him and William Heath among the ‘adversaries of true religion’ in the diocese. Lewknor made his will on 4 Aug. 1571 and it was proved on 6 Sept. He left an annuity of £10 for ten years to Archbishop Heath. His property in Nottinghamshire (at Southwell, which Heath had also reclaimed for the see of York), Sussex and Worcestershire went to his wife and his son Nicholas, who were named executors. The overseers included Thomas Copley of Bredon, Worcestershire, Lewknor’s stepson, and any disputes arising out of the will were to be settled by Archbishop Heath, Christopher Wray, John Talbot, Thomas Throckmorton of Moor Hall, Worcestershire, Ralph Sheldon, Edmund Plowden and Thomas Lewknor of Selsey.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 45, 87, 127-9; E. A. B. Barnard, The Sheldons, 98-99.
  • 2. CPR, 1554-5, p. 111.
  • 3. Suss. Arch. Colls. iii. 97; CPR, 1547-8, p. 309.
  • 4. DNB (Heath, Nicholas); VCH Worcs. ii. 252.
  • 5. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 6; PCC 39 Holney; Worcs. Recusant, xvii. 19-23.