About Thomas Lawrence
John Hassill married Helen Lawrence, 1595, Balsham, Cambridgeshire. Helen, the daughter of Thomas Lawrence, died 1640. Thomas was a senior member of the 'Family of Love' sect
Taken from http://www.roots-boots.net/ft/hassell.html
Despite this, Thomas was buried in the graveyard at Holy Trinity Church, Bottisham, close to the chancel end of the church, indicating that he was very wealthy and a prominent person in the village at the time.
In 1930 the grave was excavated revealing that it had been 'recycled' for Thomas' use and had been previously used several centuries earlier.
A village "drama" occurred in 1609 with the reading Thomas Lawrence's will (John Hasell was the executor) the result was the violation of Lawrence's grave by the parish clerk and church warden and the Family of Love was put under investigation with some members held in the castle at Cambridge.
Locally the group was established in the 1550's and they were mainly drawn from the wealthy farmers and landowners and became a subculture within villages with their own rules (eg members could only marry within the group, if not compatible wives would be replaced, disappeared or died shortly after the marriage, wills could only be witnessed by members). They tended to dominate the local economy but were under suspicion as far as land and property was concerned.
According to one preacher of the time, "This is no family of Love but a family of satan, heretics, WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING, VILE SPIDERS" whilst a book by contemporary John Rogers called "The displays of an horrible sect of Grosse and wicked heritiques".
- The World of Rural Dissenters, 1520-1725 By Margaret Spufford, Ed. "The gravestone of Thomas Lawrence, Revisited" by Christopher Marsh.