Serjeant William Lovelace III

Born about 1527 in Lovelace Place, Bethersden, Kent, England.
Died 23 Mar 1577 at about age 50 in London, England.

Relatives

  • Son of William Lovelace II and Alice Stevens
  • Husband of Mary (White) Lovelace
  • Husband of Anne (Lewis) Lewes
  • Father of William Lovelace IV

Biography

Serjeant William Lovelace III was born around 1527 at Lovelace Place in Bethersden, Kent, England, and passed away on March 23, 1577, in London, England, at about the age of 50. He was the eldest son of William Lovelace II and Alice Stevens. Serjeant Lovelace III had a distinguished legal career, being educated at Gray’s Inn in 1548, called to the bar in 1551, and ultimately becoming a serjeant-at-law by 1567. Throughout his career, he held several notable positions, including Counsel to Cinque Ports in 1557, to Canterbury in 1559, and to Faversham by 1564; he was also a justice of the peace for Kent from 1561 and a justice of assize by December 1571.

His family life was equally significant, being the son of William Lovelace II and Alice Stevens, and marrying twice—first to Anne, daughter of Robert Lewis, an alderman of Canterbury, with whom he had two sons and a daughter, and second to Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas White of South Warnborough, Hampshire, widower of Thomas Caryll, with whom he had one daughter. His contributions to his county included using the proceeds from his legal career to buy more land in Kent, owning the manor of Lydden Court near Sandwich, as well as property in Bethersden, Chartham, Smarden, and Newnham. In Canterbury, he owned the house and site of the Grey Friars and a large house in the parish of St. Alphage. He also purchased the hospital of St. Lawrence outside the city, part of which was claimed by the Crown as concealed land.

Despite the early loss of his parents and a provision in his father’s will that prevented him from inheriting the family property until he was 26, by which time he was probably already a practicing lawyer, Lovelace’s legal and political contributions were significant. His involvement in the ecclesiastical commission which visited the south-western dioceses in 1559, his efforts in ensuring the repair of Rochester bridge in 1561, and his popular advisory role in Canterbury and Faversham highlight his deep engagement with his community and his profession.

Moreover, his active participation in the Parliament, notably in the debates and committees on various bills, underscored his commitment to legislative reform and justice. Lovelace’s interventions in subsidy debates, his proposals for reforming the Exchequer and tackling usury, and his contribution to discussions on religious dispensations and licences for non-residence, reflect a legislator deeply involved in the issues of his time.

Source

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

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