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Le Strange, Thomas (DNB00)


LE STRANGE, Sir THOMAS (1494–1545), of Hunstanton, Norfolk, born in 1494, son of Robert le Strange (d. 1511), sixth in descent from Hamo le Strange, brother of John le Strange, sixth baron of Knockyn [see under Le Strange, John, d. 1260], was esquire of the body to Henry VIII, and attended the king when he went to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520; he was knighted by Henry at Whitehall in 1529, and served as high sheriff of Norfolk in 1532. Extracts from the ‘Household Accounts’ kept at Hunstanton in the time of Sir Thomas and his successor, from 1519 to 1578, were published in the ‘Archæologia’ for 1833. Sir Thomas was in attendance on Anne Boleyn at her coronation in 1533, her father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, being a Norfolk neighbour, who is mentioned repeatedly in the above accounts as a visitor at Hunstanton. In 1536 Sir T. le Strange was appointed to attend on the king's person during the Pilgrimage of Grace, and to bring fifty men with him; in July of that year he was placed on the commission to inquire into the revenues of the wealthy abbey of Walsingham, near his own Norfolk estate. It is to his credit that, though a personal friend of the king, and employed on business connected with the dissolution of the monasteries, Sir Thomas does not appear to have used his influence at court to secure for himself any church lands whatever. His picture, by Holbein, hangs at Hunstanton Hall, and a pencil sketch of him is among the Holbein drawings at Windsor; both these were exhibited at the Tudor Exhibition in 1890. He married Anne, daughter of Nicholas, lord Vaux; died 16 Jan. 1545, and was buried at Hunstanton.

The son, Sir Nicholas le Strange (1515-1580), became steward for life of the manors of Mary, duchess of Richmond (25 Jan. 1547); was knighted by Protector Somerset while serving with him in Scotland in 1547 (Metcalfe, Knights, p. 96); was elected M.P. for Norfolk (November 1547), for King's Lynn (1555), for Castle Rising (1571); and was sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1548. On 15 Sept. 1549 he wrote to William Cecil, the king's attorney, denying any sympathy with Kett's rebellion (State Papers, Dom. Edw. VI, viii. No. 60). In 1559 he was a member of the household of Thomas Howard, duke of Norfolk, went with the duke to Scotland, and in February 1560 carried messages from him to the privy council. On 4 Oct. 1571 Le Strange denied, when examined by the council, all knowledge of the duke's treasonable negotiations with Mary Queen of Scots (Hatfield MSS. i. 533). He married, first, Ellen, daughter of Sir William Fitzwilliam of Milton, Northamptonshire; and secondly, Katharine, daughter of Sir John Hide of Aidborough. By his first wife he had three sons and two daughters (Inq. post mort. in Public Record Office; Chanc. Inq. 24 Eliz. pt.i.p.20).

[Le Strange Household Accounts, Archæologia, xxv. 411-569; Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of Henry VIII; State Papers of Henry VIII, xi, 73.]

H. le S.