John Thorpe [q. v.] The red brick building with its detached gatehouse on the eastern bank of the Avon is still standing, and in spite of modern additions remains a very finished specimen of Tudor domestic architecture.
Lucy was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1565, and is said to have been ‘dubbed in his own house’ (Metcalfe, Knights, p. 38). He sat in two parliaments in 1571 and 1584 as knight of the shire for Warwick. He showed his markedly puritan predilections by presenting (14 Dec. 1584) a petition to the house in favour of the puritan ministers, and by taking an active part in securing the conviction of Dr. Parry 23 Feb. 1584–5 (Strype, Whitgift, i. 247; cf. D'Ewes, Journal of Parliament, temp. Eliz. 157, 180, 189, 339, 355–6). In 1586 he became, by virtue of his wife's property in Worcestershire, high sheriff for that county, but his life was mainly spent in Warwickshire. He frequently visited Stratford-on-Avon, the chief town in the neighbourhood, where he regularly performed his duties, both as justice of the peace, and as commissioner of musters for the county. In the borough-chamberlain's accounts there are frequent entries of payments for wine provided by the corporation for Lucy and other magistrates when they visited the town. Lucy lived on good terms with Sir Fulke Greville and other neighbouring gentry. On 8 April 1560 he wrote to Lord Robert Dudley recommending a servant as a competent archer, and fitted to take part in archery matches at Kenilworth, although his strength was reduced by sickness (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. xi. 349). But the story that Lucy entertained Queen Elizabeth at Charlecote when on her way to Kenilworth in 1575, may safely be rejected.
The chief interest attaching to Lucy is due to his alleged association with Shakespeare. About 1585, according to a story current at Stratford-on-Avon in the seventeenth century, Shakespeare stole deer from Lucy's park at Charlecote; was prosecuted by Lucy, and fled from Stratford-on-Avon to London in order to escape the ignominy that his detection provoked. Nicholas Rowe, who tells the story at length in his edition of Shakespeare's ‘Works’ (1710), is fully corroborated by the independent statement of Archdeacon Davies of Saperton, Gloucestershire, who died in 1708. De Quincey rejected the story with much warmth, but it is doubtless based on fact, though it has been embroidered with many fictitious details by later writers. The chief argument against its acceptance is the absence of any deer park at Charlecote at the time of the alleged theft, but a statutable warren was there then, and, according to Coke, a warren might be inhabited by hares and roes as well as by rabbits. Deer, moreover, lived in Lucy's neighbouring woods at Hampton, and Sir Thomas is known to have been an extensive game preserver. In March 1585 he introduced into parliament a bill ‘for the better preservation of game and grain’ (D'Ewes, Journal, p. 363). The story told to Sir Walter Scott in 1828 by the owner of Charlecote, that the scene of the adventure was Lucy's deer park at Fulbroke, rests on the suspicious authority of Samuel Ireland's ‘Views of Warwickshire,’ and is discredited by the circumstance that Fulbroke park was not Lucy's property in Elizabeth's reign, although it was acquired by his successor. W. S. Landor embodied the tradition in its most plausible form in his imaginary ‘Examination of William Shakespeare … touching Deer-stealing’ (1834). A picture of ‘Shakespeare before Sir Thomas Lucy’ was painted by Sir George Harvey [q. v.] in 1836–7, and is popular in the engraving of Robert Graves [q. v.]
Rowe stated that ‘in order to revenge [Lucy's] illusage, [Shakespeare] made a ballad upon him, and this, probably [the] first essay of Shakespeare's poetry, [is] lost.’ Nothing is positively known of any such production, but, according to Oldys, some doggerel verses on Lucy were current in Stratford in the seventeenth century, and were absurdly ascribed to Shakespeare. Oldys's copy began:—
A parliament member, a justice of peace,
At home a poor scarecrow, at London an asse;
If lousie is Lucy, as some volke miscalle it,
Then Lucy is lousie whatever befall it.
Capell collected independent oral testimony to the like effect, and supplied the additional information that Shakespeare placarded Lucy's park-gates with the first stanza of the offending ballad.
Better proof is extant that Shakespeare took a more effective mode of revenge. Charlecote's owner is undoubtedly immortalised in Justice Shallow. According to Davies of Saperton, ‘Shakespeare's revenge was so great that [Lucy] is his [i.e. Shakespeare's] Justice Clodpate, and [the dramatist] calls him a great man, and that, in allusion to his name, [for he] bore three louses rampant for his arms.’ Justice Shallow came to birth in the second part of Shakespeare's ‘Henry IV’ (written about 1597), but the part he plays in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor,’ probably written in 1598, most closely connects him with Lucy. In the opening scene he comes from Gloucestershire to Windsor to ‘make