The “Descent of Edmond Lewkenor of Fyning from West-LaWarre” saga:
This is first mentioned in the Visitations of Sussex, 1562,p.26, line B: Sr Roger Lewknor knight marrying Mary d of Reignold West Lord Delaware. We know that the real date of the visitation will be after the recorded date of the visitation, but I see on page 27 that the descent down to Elizabeth and Frances Lewknor, the daughters of Sir Christopher is noted; elsewhere, their baptisms in 1630 and 1634, are shown, 70 years after the stated date of the visitation. If later generations were added, then what else?
No clear evidence of any West-Lewkenor marriage has ever been found. Among “proof” offered is :
First “proof”: The inclusion of a La Warre impalement on the Lewknor Armorial Carpet, in the bottom frieze , as shield No.1, according to Fane Lambarde’s plan (on-line). However, if one enlarges the Metropolitan Museum’s excellent photograph, to see this shield more clearly(bottom frieze, immediately to the right of the simple Lewknor arms in the centre) it does not show the visual pun of the black barre dancetty of West; what it appears to show is the gules crusilly a lion rampant argent of La Warre quartering azure with three gold shapes, which we can guess are the leopards’ heads or (gold) of Cantilupe. No black.
Second “proof”: The will of Thomas West, in which he refers to Sir Roger Lewknor as his kinsman
The www.tudorplace.com.ar/WEST website has the numbering of the barons differing from other sources, so I am using the consensus of opinion from the other sources and quoting known dates of death, etc.:
Thomas West, Lord De La Warre, d 1525: The Thomas West, Lord La Warre, who I am proposing as being the source of the LaWarre/Cantilupe arms on the Lewkenor Armorial carpet was Thomas West, born 1457, d 1525, Knight of the Garter, (8th Baron La Warre according to www.familyrecord.net for Edmund Lewknor, a source which tells us that Edmund was a legatee in the 1525 will of his cousin, Thomas West, K.G., K.B., 8th Lord la Warre).
One source on the internet refers to “the very long will of Sir Thomas West (8th Lord La Warr) of 1526, in which he named “Edmund Lewkenor, my kinsman and servant” (PCC 2 Porche). I have been unable to find “PCC 2 Porche – and would be grateful for any help in finding this. I have been unable to find any will for Sir Thomas West, Lord La Warr, 8th or 9th, on the A2A website.
This is the Thomas West who married Elizabeth, sister and heir of Sir John Mortimer of Hampshire, and whose arms can be seen quartered on the La Warre chantry at Boxgrave Priory church and painted on the church’s ceiling.
But I was not able to understand why the carpet should show LaWarre quartering Cantilupe, until I looked again at some photographs that I took two years ago at the Priory Church of Boxgrave and the LaWarre chantry there. One of the arms shows La Warre quartering Cantilupe, surrounded by the Order of the Garter and supported by two angels. No black. I propose these to be the arms of La Warre.
Other shields can be seen around the LaWarre chantry, including one of qtr 1: West (black bar); 2: LaWarre quartering Cantilupe, 3: Mortimer with escutcheon & 4: one that I didn’t recognise. I propose these to be the personal arms of the 8th Baron La Warre, quartering the arms of his wife, Elizabeth Mortimer.
The chap who was awarded the Order of the Garter, was Thomas West, Baron de la Warre,who was made a Knight of the Garter in 1510 by Henry VIII. Lord La Warre died in 1525 (which I think is relevant).
The next Lord La Warre was another Thomas: Thomas West, 9th Baron de la Warre, who died 1554. This might be the testator of the “very long will” that mentions Edmund – but, again, I have been unable to find this. The will of Edmund Lewknor of Tangmere is dated 1544-5, March 1st; he died shortly afterwards. It would, surely, be unusual for a baron, with a vast number of estates in various counties to refer in his will to a “kinsman and servant” who had been dead for ten years. I would dearly love to read this Thomas West’s will.
Third “proof”: The 1509 will of Roger Lewknor of Tangmere in which he makes bequests of a book and a roll of prayers to Sir Thomas West knight and Lady West. Roger of Tangmere’s brother had been a priest; had he been a priest at Boxgrave? Or a chaplain in the West household? Can we claim this as anything more than a pointer towards an association between the two families?
This is what Fane Lambarde wrote about the central shield:“This records the marriage of Sir Roger Lewknor to his third wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Messant. Nowhere are the Arms of Messant recorded; so that the proof that they are as above is negative; they cannot apparently belong to anyone else.” If Mephant (or Messant), then – surely – somewhere there would be the Mephant arms authorised and once in use.
I do not believe that they are the arms of this unknown Mephant; the right hand shield shouts “Countess of Salisbury” at me. I believe that these were the arms of Sir Arthur Pole and that the carpet commemorates the marriage of Jane Lewknor (Pickering/Pole/Barrentyne) to Sir Arthur, one of the younger sons of the Countess of Salisbury. I see in quarters 1 and 4 the red fusils (elongated lozenges) of the Countess, albeit separated and positioned as 2 and 3, rather than conjoined, and in quarters 2 and 3 the fleurs de lis of France, taken from the Plantagenet arms. Above this shield, woven in the exquisite background of the central panel is honeysuckle, the only place where honeysuckle is seen within the carpet – and carried by the Countess in the portrait in the National Gallery believed to be of her. Sir Arthur Pole died about 1536 or 7. I do not know how he died, but there is the curious business of his burial – one month after his death. He is said to have been attainted - in which case all honours, including the right of his widow and children to bear his arms, would have been abolished. And with the Pole family bloodbath to come, it would not have been politic to taunt King Henry VIII with his cousins’ Plantagenet descendancy. A wise time to sweep the carpet under the dust.
Below the Lewknor half of the central arms are the arms of Audley quartering Touchet, Jane’s mother’s arms and Lewknor, her father’s – on either side of Jane’s Lewknor arms immediately above.
The date of her marriage to Sir Arthur Pole is unknown, but would have been around 1522. The arms of Thomas West, Baron de la Warre (d 1525), are immediately to the right of the bottom Lewknor arms, in the position of a guest of honour. Did he broker the marriage? He was of DeLaPole descent. Is this why Sir Roger Lewknor was called “kinsman”?
No marriage between Lewknor and West has ever been found.
All thoughts, as always, gratefully received.
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