Online Talks

Sir Thomas Lodge: Merchant, Spy, Alderman, Sheriff, Lord Mayor, Bankrupt


Sir Thomas Lodge was a complex character keeping his wits about him in the dangerous Tudor and Elizabethan world.  Born as Henry VIII came to the throne his career as a merchant prospered until he became Lord Mayor of London in 1562 – the plague year.  Scandal and Bankruptcy followed until he was bailed out by the Queen.

The father of Thomas Lodge the poet, the husband of Anne Luddington, son-in law of Dame Joan Laxton this is a study of a remarkable man.

Francis Stenton: Master of Ceremonies Leamington Upper Assembly Rooms 1821-30

Francis Stenton

Another complex man who came from middle class beginnings to mingle with the great and the good in the fashionable spa town of Leamington at the beginning of the nineteenth century as Master of Ceremonies there.  His standing in the town,  his numerous chidren, his Irish well-connected wife, all went for naught when he met Anne Penn the lady with whom he would elope to America to found another dynasty.

Abiathar Hawkes: Master of Ceremonies Leamington Spa 1833-9

Abiathar Hawkes

The fourth Master of Ceremonies for Leamington Spa, Abiathar Hawkes was one of the forces behind the revival of Leamington’s fortunes when he petitioned the new Queen to grant them the title of Royal Leamington Spa.  Like most of the Masters of Ceremonies he was an ex-military man – he  had fought in South Africa during the Napoleonic Wars – but coming from a Dudley glass manufacturing family his grasp of commercial matters was quite sound – much to Leamington’s benefit!