I’ve been revisiting the family of my 12 x great grandmother Alice Lucke, who married my 12 x great grandfather Magnus Fowle some time in the 1550s. I’ve confirmed that Alice was the daughter of Richard Lucke, a yeoman farmer from Mayfield, Sussex, and that she had at least one sister, Elizabeth, and a brother Christopher, who inherited his father’s property after the latter’s death in about 1559.
As I noted in the previous post, Richard Lucke’s brother Thomas was a priest at Litlington, about 20 miles to the south of Mayfield, and was almost certainly a canon at the nearby Augustinian priory of Michelham until its suppression in 1537. It was Thomas’ disputed will of 1551 that prompted the case in Chancery from which I’ve gleaned some of my key information about the Lucke family.
I recently came across a history of Michelham Priory by Helen Poole, which lists ‘Thomas Luck’ among the canons at Michelham at the time of the visitation of 1521. Thomas held the post of precentor, responsible for facilitating worship, and in some monasteries fulfulling the additional roles of librarian and registrar. He was one of eight canons, in addition to the prior, Thomas Holberne.
From the same history we learn that Michelham was dissolved on 1st October 1537 and became the first religious house to be given to Thomas Cromwell by Henry VIII. Following the priory’s enforced closure, the canons each received a pension of £13.13.4. The prior lived on near Eastbourne, receiving a pension of £20, until his death in 1545. Apparently most of the other canons went to Sussex parishes (so it seems Thomas’ experience was fairly typical) and were allowed to keep the beds on which they had slept.
If Thomas already held a relatively senior position at Michelham by the early 1520s, does this mean that he was probably born some time in the 1490s, and that perhaps he was in his late fifties when he died in 1552? As for his brother Richard, who died a few years later, was he possibly born around the turn of the century?
On the other hand, Richard’s name doesn’t appear in the lay subsidy rolls of 1524-5 for Mayfield, or indeed for anywhere else in Sussex, suggesting that he may not have been of age by that date. If his daughter Alice married Magnus Fowle in the 1550s, then it’s possible she was born in the 1530s, shortly after Richard’s marriage to his wife Agnes – which may date Richard’s birth to some time in the 1510s.
The lay subsidy rolls of 1524-5 certainly mention some members of the Lucke family, but they are in Wadhurst rather than Mayfield. The listing takes care to make distinctions between John Lucke of Durgates and John Lucke of Faircrouch on the one hand, and John Lucke the elder and John Lucke the younger on the other, in addition to a certain William Lucke, a turner.
I’ve drawn up a probably chronology for the Lucke and Fowle families in the first half of the sixteenth century:
1500 Probable birth of Gabriel Fowle (son of Nicholas)
1509 Accession of King Henry VIII
Bartholomew Fowle joins Southwark Priory
1513 Bartholomew Fowle elected Prior of Southwark
1521 Thomas Lucke precentor at Michelham Priory
1523 Will of Nicholas Fowle of Lamberhurst
1525 Will of Thomas Fowle (son of Nicholas)
1535 Probable birth of Magnus Fowle (son of Gabriel)
1537 Suppression of Michelham Priory
1539 Suppression of Southwark Priory
1547 Accession of King Edward VI
1549 Will of John Lucke of Mayfield
1551 Will of Thomas Lucke, curate at Litlington
1553 Accession of Queen Mary
1554 Will of Gabriel Fowle of Lewes (son of Nicholas)
1556 Probable marriage of Magnus Fowle and Alice Lucke
1559 Probable death of Richard Lucke of Mayfield
1560 Probable death of Elizabeth Lucke (daughter of Richard)
1567 Death of Christopher Lucke of Mayfield
1575 Agnes Fowle marries Edward Byne