Lettice’s father, Thomas Crawley was a wealthy speculator in chantry lands in Essex and in 1553 he had been the escheator (which meant he dealt with property returning to the Crown on the death of someone ) for Essex and Hertfordshire. It is not clear whether this was in the reign of Edward VI (who died in July 1553) or in the reign of Mary I who followed him. He was married at least twice. During his lifetime he owned properties all over Essex including Chrishall, Elmdon, Wenden Lofts, Berden and Manuden. It is not known where or when he was born, but he died in September 1559, just less than a year after Elizabeth I came to the throne.
Until early 1559 his heir, also called Thomas Crawley, was his grandson – his father was Robert Crawley. The grandson seems to have been a staunch protestant and during the reign of Mary I (Mary Tudor, sometimes known as Bloody Mary) he lived in Frankfurt. He returned to England in late 1558 when Elizabeth came to the throne and very quickly became the MP for Aylesbury. Sadly, in February 1559 he died. It is possible he died from the influenza epidemic that was sweeping the country at the time.
There was a third person called Thomas Crawley. Lettice had a very much younger brother, who was 9 when their father died. This Thomas Crawley appears to have had Catholic leanings. He was fined several times for failing to go to church and was eventually imprisoned.
(Research by Alison Meadows)