Lucy, Sir Thomas
LUCY, SIR THOMAS (1532-1600), the English Warwickshire squire who is traditionally associated with the youth of William Shakespeare, was born on the 24th of April 1532, the son of William Lucy, and was descended, according to Dugdale, from Thurstane de Cherlecote, whose son Walter received the village of Charlecote from Henry de Montfort about 1190. Walter is said to have married into the Anglo-Norman family of Lucy, and his son adopted the mother's surname. Three of Sir Thomas Lucy's ancestors had been sheriffs of Warwickshire and Leicestershire, and on his father's death in 1552 he inherited Sherborne and Hampton Lucy in addition to Charlecote, which was rebuilt for him by John of Padua, known as John Thorpe, about 1558. By his marriage with Joyce Acton he inherited Sutton Park in Worcestershire, and became in 1586 high sheriff of the county. He was knighted in 1565. He is said to have been under the tutorship of John Foxe, who is supposed to have imbued his pupil with the Puritan principles which he displayed as knight of the shire for Warwick in the parliament of 1571 and as sheriff of the county, but as Mrs Carmichael Slopes points out Foxe only left Oxford in 1545, and in 1547 went up to London, so that the connexion must have been short. He often appeared atStratford-on-Avon as justice of the peace and as commissioner of musters for the county. As justice of the peace he showed great zeal against the Catholics, and took his share in the arrest of Edward Arden in 1583. In 1585 he introduced into parliament a bill for the better preservation of game and grain, and his reputation as a preserver of game gives some colour to the Shakespearian tradition connected with his name. Nicholas Rowe, writing in 1710, told a story that Lucy prosecuted Shakespeare for deer-stealing from Charlecote Park in 1585, and that Shakespeare aggravated the offence by writing a ballad on his prosecutor. The trouble arising from this incident is said to have driven Shakespeare from Stratford to London. The tale was corroborated by Archdeacon Davies of Sapperton, Gloucestershire, who died in 1708. The story is not necessarily falsified by the fact that there was no deer park at Charlecote at the time, since there was a warren, and the term warren legally covers a preserve for other animals than hares or rabbits, roe-deer among others. Shakespeare is generally supposed to have caricatured the local magnate of Stratford in his portrait of Justice Shallow, who made his first appearance in the second part of Henry IV., and a second in the Merry Wives of Windsor. Robert Shallow is a justice of the peace in the county of Gloucester and his ancestors have the dozen white luces in their coats, the arms of the Lucys being three luces, while in Dugdale's Warwickshire (ed. 1656) there is drawn a coat-of-arms in which these are repeated in each of the four quarters, making twelve in all. There are many considerations which make it unlikely that Shallow represents Lucy, the chief being the noteworthy difference in their circumstances. Lucy died at Charlecote on the 7th of July 1600. His grandson, Sir Thomas Lucy (1585-1640), was a friend of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and was eulogized by John Davies of Hereford in 1610. The Charlecote estates eventually passed to the Rev. John Hammond through his marriage with Alice Lucy, and in 1789 he adopted the name of Lucy.
For a detailed account of Sir Thomas Lucy, with his son and grandson of the same name, see Mrs C. Carmichael Slopes, Shakespeare's Warwickshire Contemporaries (2nd ed., 1907). Cf. also an article by Mrs Stones in the Fortnightly Review (Feb. 1903), entitled " Sir Thomas Lucy not the Original of Justice Shallow, and J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, Observations on the Charlecote Traditions (Brighton, 1887).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)