LACON, Rowland (c.1591-1657), of The Birches, Kinlet, Salop
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Family and Education
b. c.1591,1 1st. s. of Sir Francis Lacon* of Willey and Kinlet and his 1st w. Jane, da. of Anthony Browne, 1st Visct. Montagu.2 educ. New Inn; L. Inn 1609; travelled abroad 1609.3 m. (1) Mary (d.1632), da. of Sir Robert Purslowe of Sudbury, Salop, 1da.;4 (2) 12 Dec. 1633 (with £1,500), Jane, wid. of Norton, da. of Calthorpe ?s.p..5 suc. fa. by 1647.6 bur. 9 Sept. 1657.7
Freeman, Much Wenlock liberty 1625.8
Although exceptional circumstances allowed his father to enjoy an administrative career, Lacon’s Catholicism meant that his election to Parliament in 1614 was his sole taste of public office; he left no trace on its records. The borough seats at Wenlock were generally apportioned among the families who owned property within the extensive ex-monastic liberty, which included the Lacons’ estate at Willey. Their mortgage and sale of this estate in 1616-18 explains why the family’s electoral interest at Wenlock expired thereafter, and makes Lacon’s admission to the freedom of the liberty in 1625 something of an anomaly: it is possible that the borough’s recorder, Sir Edward Bromley*, a trustee of the Lacon estates, had some intention of running him against the unpopular outsider Henry Mytton* at the general election of that year.9
Although Lacon gave his assent to the sale of Willey and other lands, he was not granted a fresh entail of the remaining estates, probably because he refused his father’s suggestions for ‘several wealthy and rich marriages’, which would have done much to pay off outstanding debts. Instead, Lacon contracted a marriage on his own initiative, giving his fiancée a bond of £1,600 in earnest of his intentions. When his father learned of this engagement he had the bond declared invalid in the ecclesiastical courts, packed his son off to Kinlet, and married him to a Shropshire bride. Relations between the two men were further soured when Sir Francis’s fourth marriage (to his erstwhile chambermaid) produced seven children, a major threat to the integrity of Lacon’s already dwindling inheritance. In 1633 Lacon finally married his former sweetheart, now a widow, who brought him a portion of £1,600, which he used to persuade his father to give him present possession of the manor of Earnwood and a reversion of the family’s other estates.10 Lacon managed to wrest control of the family’s remaining estates from his father in 1640, when he married his only daughter to William Child, a master in Chancery. In a reversal of customary matrimonial arrangements, Child’s father gave Lacon a dowry of £3,000 to obtain a reversion of the bride’s estates for his son, and, after negotiations with the largest of Sir Francis Lacon’s creditors, the mortgage on Earnwood was cleared and the entail settled.11
A royalist in the Civil War, Lacon must have assigned his estates to his daughter and son-in-law to escape the sequestration which would inevitably have followed because of his recusancy, as his composition fine was set at a mere £66 in 1648. The transaction was probably a legal fiction, as he sued the former manager of his coalmine at Earnwood only months before compounding, but it doubtless explains the absence of any will or administration at his death. He was buried at Kinlet on 9 Sept. 1657. His daughter’s descendant William Lacon Child was returned for Shropshire as a Tory in 1727.12
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Assuming an age of 18 at entry to L. Inn.
- 2. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 308.
- 3. LI Admiss.; SO3/4, unfol.
- 4. Vis. Salop, 416.
- 5. Vis. Salop, 308; C2/Chas.I/L16/66.
- 6. CCC, 1718.
- 7. Kinlet (Salop par. reg. soc. ix), 5.
- 8. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), vi. 276.
- 9. MUCH WENLOCK; VCH Salop, x. 450; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), vi. 276; C2/Chas.I/L8/51.
- 10. C2/Chas.I/L16/66; 2/Chas.I/L45/8; 2/Chas.I/L52/51.
- 11. C2/Chas.I/C46/72; 2/Chas.I/C51/72; 2/Chas.I/L30/24.
- 12. CCC, 1718; C2/Chas.I/L23/53; Kinlet, 3.