Captain Thomas Stucley

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Thomas Stukely

Birthplace: Wales
Death: August 04, 1578 (54-62)
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Hugh Stukeley of Affeton, Knight and Lady Jane Stukeley
Husband of Anne Stukely; Elizabeth Stukley and Unknown Powlett
Brother of Lewis Stukely; Anne (Stuckley) Bellew; Mary Prideaux; Awdrey Stukeley; Anne Giles and 5 others

Occupation: English mercenary who served in combat in France, Ireland, and at the Battle of Lepanto
Managed by: Anne Brannen
Last Updated:

About Captain Thomas Stucley

Thomas Stukley

Thomas Stukley (c. 1520 – 4 August 1578) (alias Stukeley, Stuckley, etc.) was an English mercenary who fought in France, Ireland, and at the Battle of Lepanto (1571) and was killed at the Battle of Alcazar (1578). It was alleged that he was an illegitimate son of King Henry VIII.[2] He was a Roman Catholic recusant and a rebel against the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I.

Stukley was the third son of Sir Hugh Stukley (1496-1559) of Affeton, in the parish of West Worlington in Devon, head of an ancient gentry family, a Knight of the Body to King Henry VIII and Sheriff of Devon in 1545.[3] His mother was Jane Pollard, a daughter of Sir Lewis Pollard (c.1465-1526), of Kings Nympton, Devon, Justice of the Common Pleas, by his wife Anne Hext.[4]

Stukley's early mentors were Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, and then the Bishop of Exeter, in whose household he held a post. He was present at Boulogne during the siege of 1544-45, and again in 1550 on the surrender of the city to the English. From 1547 to 1550, he was a standard-bearer at Boulogne, and then entered the service of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. After his master's arrest in 1551 a warrant was issued against him, but he succeeded in escaping to France, where he served in the French army.

His military talents brought him to the attention of Henri Ier de Montmorency, and he was sent to England with a letter of recommendation from Henry II of France to his supposed half-brother Edward VI of England. On his arrival he proceeded on 16 September 1552 to reveal the French plans for the capture of Calais and for a descent upon England, the furtherance of which had, according to his account, been the object of his mission to England. John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland evaded the payment of any reward to Stukley, and sought to gain the friendship of the French king by pretending to disbelieve Stukley's statements.

Stukley, who may well have been the originator of the plans adopted by the French, was imprisoned in the Tower of London for some months. Having run through his brother's inheritance, he was prosecuted for debt on his release in August 1553 and was compelled to become a soldier of fortune once more. This was not his only financial difficulty: once, claiming a legacy, he broke into the late testator's house and searched the coffers, in defiance of a court injunction. In another episode, he was imprisoned in the Tower at the suit of an Irishman he had robbed.

He returned to England in December 1554 in the train of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, after obtaining an amnesty against his creditors' suits, possibly thanks to the Duke of Suffolk. His credit temporarily improved upon his marriage to an heiress, Anne Curtis, but he was reputed to squander £100 a day and to have sold the blocks of tin with which his father-in-law had paved the yard of his London house. Within a few months, a warrant for his arrest was issued on a charge of uttering false money and he fled abroad again, deserting his wife, to enter the service of the duke of Savoy. He then fought on the victorious side at the Battle of St. Quentin in 1557.

In 1558, Stukley was summoned before the council on a charge of piracy, although he was again acquitted owing to insufficient evidence, and managed to retain the favour of Queen Mary I of England. On the death of his wife's grandfather at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign he came into money, and things looked up for him as he accommodated himself to the Protestant succession and became a supporter of Sir Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. In 1561, he was given a captaincy at Berwick, where he lived sumptously; during the winter, he made firm friends with the Gaelic nobleman, Shane O'Neill of Ulster, upon the latter's visit to court at London. In 1562, he obtained a warrant permitting him to bring French ships into English ports although England and France were only nominally at peace.

At about this time, on being presented to the queen he said he would prefer to be sovereign of a molehill than the subject of the greatest king in Christendom and that he had a presentiment he would be a prince before he died. She is said to have remarked, "I hope I shall hear from you when you are installed in your principality". He responded that she surely would, and she demanded, "In what language?" He answered: "In the style of princes, to our dearest sister."[5]

Stukley then devised a plan for a colony in Florida, at the time hotly contested by rival Spanish and French settlers (see Spanish Florida). To this end, he persuaded the queen to supply a ship of 100 tons (including 100 men, plus sailors), to supplement his fleet of five vessels. Having staged a naval pageant for the queen on the Thames, he promptly sailed his fleet to the coast of Munster in Ireland in June 1563 to go privateering against French, Spanish and Portuguese ships. After repeated remonstrances on the part of the offended powers, Elizabeth disavowed Stukley and sent a naval force under the command of Sir Peter Carew to arrest him. One of his ships was taken in Cork haven, and Stukley surrendered, but he was acquitted once again, with O'Neill pleading his case through diplomatic channels.

The meeting with O'Neill led to an extended interest in Irish affairs on Stukley's part. He was recommended by the queen to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Sir Thomas Radclyffe, Earl of Sussex, on 30 June 1563, and in 1566 was employed as a captain by the Lord Deputy, Sir Henry Sidney, in a vain effort to induce O'Neill to enter into negotiations with the government. The Ulster lord sought to use him as intermediary with Sidney and in the same year requested his presence in fighting the Scots, an arrangement favoured by the lord deputy. Sidney then sought permission of the crown for Stukley to purchase the estates and office of Sir Nicholas Bagenal, marshal of Ireland, for £3,000, but Elizabeth refused to permit the transaction. The lands lay mostly in the east of Ulster, a territory anciently in Hiberno-Norman possession, which was much fought over by the Irish and Scots, and would be used by the English within a decade as a base for their efforts at colonisation of the province (see Plantations of Ireland#Early Plantations (1556–1576)).

Undeterred by this failure, Stukley was appointed seneschal of Kavanagh's country in the south-east of the province of Leinster, and had some say in the controversial land claims of his adversary, Peter Carew (who succeeded him in that office). He went on to buy lands from Sir Nicholas Heron in the adjacent County Wexford, and was appointed by Sidney to the office of seneschal there, but the queen objected to the appointment and in June 1568 he was dismissed in favour of Sir Nicholas White. Stukley had fallen prey to the disputes between Sidney and White's patron, Sir Thomas Butler, which resulted, in the following year, in a rebuke to Sidney by the queen for his use of Stukley in the negotiations with O'Neill. It was then, in June 1569, that Stukley was committed to custody in Dublin Castle for 18 weeks, on White's information that he had used coarse language against the queen and supported certain rebels.

Again, Stukley was acquitted, and the authorities released him in October 1569. He had been suspected of proposing an invasion of Ireland to King Philip II of Spain, and soon after his release he offered his services to Fénelon, the French ambassador in London. He returned to Ireland in 1570, where he fitted out a ship at Waterford and made a great show of his piety, proceeding through the streets of the city on his knees as he offered himself up to God. He then sailed from Waterford on 17 April, supposedly for London, but his real destination was Vimiero. He had 28 men on board, but only the sole Italian knew their course, and the rest fell into despair when they arrived in Spain after a five day voyage.

Philip II invited him to Madrid, where he was loaded with honours, probably with a view to impressing upon Elizabeth the threat of an invasion of Ireland to detract from English support for the Dutch rebels in the Netherlands. With the approbation of the Duke of Feria, Stukley was known at the Spanish court as the "Duke of Ireland", and was established with a handsome allowance in a villa near Madrid.

Speculation about Stukley's future role became intense. In 1570, it was claimed that he had sought to interfere in the Ridolfi Plot with an attack on Ireland in the following year during the planned invasion of England from Flanders. The Irish invasion was to have been aided by the Plymouth fleet of Sir John Hawkins, who betrayed the supposed plot to the privy council, which led to the arrest of the Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk.

On 12 February 1571, the king was informed by the Spanish ambassador that news was had in London from France that the pope had ceded to the Spanish crown the kingdom created for Philip and Queen Mary I of England, which had fallen vacant upon the excommunication of Elizabeth by Pope Pius V, in his 1570 papal bull Regnans in Excelsis, and that it was rumoured that Stukley was to be sent to England with 14 to 15 companies of troops.

Amidst this international feinting and shaping, Archbishop of Cashel, Maurice Reagh Fitzgibbon - an ally of the Irish rebel, James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald - made some effort while in Spain to discredit Stukley's ambitions[citation needed], much to the displeasure of Feria, and was supported by the Duke of Alba, who dismissed the proposed invasion on the ground that, once England fell, Ireland would fall of itself.

The archbishop's brief was to request the appointment of Don John of Austria as king of Ireland, but the upstart's arrival had disrupted his efforts, although Stukley's Irish followers did desert to him upon their arrival. On removing to Paris, Fitzgibbon informed the English ambassador there, Sir Francis Walsingham, of Stukley's schemes. In 1570, Stukley sought to have an English spy, Oliver King, brought before the inquisition. The suspect had a history of attendance at mass and of knocking his breast daily and so was merely stripped and banished, but then had to cross the Pyrenees in the snow while Stukley's thugs pursued him. Stukley obtained his passports to leave Spain after Elizabeth demanded his dismissal.

Stukley moved to Rome, where he found favour with Pope Pius V, who had excommunicated Elizabeth in 1571. Under Don John, he was given the command of three galleys at the Battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571), and showed great valour. It was a crucial victory for the Holy League over the Ottoman Empire of Selim II, which allowed Spain to devote more resources to its campaigns in northern Europe. Stukley's exploits restored him to favour at Madrid, and by the end of March 1572 he was at Seville, offering to hold the narrow seas against the English with a fleet of twenty ships. In four years (1570–1574) he is said to have received over 27,000 ducats from Philip II of Spain, but wearied by the king's delays he sought more serious assistance from the new pope, Gregory XIII, who aspired to make his illegitimate son, Giacomo Boncompagni, king of Ireland.

Stukley allied with Fitzmaurice and moved to Rome in 1575, where he walked about the streets and churches barefoot and bare-legged.[citation needed] In June, Stukley had an interview at Naples with Don John, when he gave details of the plans hatched with the pope for an October expedition. The intention was to deliver Mary, Queen of Scots, from prison and take possession of England. He had corresponded with Nicholas Sanders at this stage. Don John, who was now in charge of the Spanish forces in Flanders, said the king would have to approve and that 3,000 men were too few, but was cautiously optimistic that the expedition would help to contain the rebellion in the Netherlands.

The prospect of a major invasion had been growing, and detailed proposals were put forward for Ireland. In 1575, Friar Patrick Healy arrived at Rome bearing a letter from the king and announcing that he sought sanction for an unnamed Irish gentleman to revolt and to request assistance; he insisted Philip II had given his blessing. Gregory stressed that the crown ought not to go to a French or Spanish claimant, but to a native Catholic, i.e. Mary, Queen of Scots, lest the king gain too much power and territory, and was opposed to Don John being crowned in Ireland. The king denied O'Healy's authority to enter discussion on the Irish matter and queried the pope's opposition to the increase of Spanish authority; he was willing to guarantee 6 months pay for 200 men and their shipping expenses to go to England in the pope's name, and wondered if a personal attempt might be made against Elizabeth. Later, it was suggested that 5,000 go to Liverpool and free Mary before possessing the country, or go to Ireland. Gregory bargained for Philip II to defray the entire expense of the expedition, and suggested that if the Vatican was to pitch in then it should receive some benefit in Italy by way of material return. The Spanish thought the leader of the expedition should be married, so as to prevent papal approval of a match with Mary.

Intelligence of Stukley's schemes had been building since Fitzgibbon's intervention in Spain. In 1572, Oliver King had informed London of invasion plans; in March 1573, Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley, received intelligence that certain "decayed gentlemen" were to join Stukley in Spain for the invasion of Ireland. At their first encounter, Walsingham hadn't known what to make of Fitzgibbon, realising that an agent of Burghley's had sowed dissension between the archbishop and Stukley; but in 1575, he did have intelligence of Stukley's alliance with Fitzmaurice, at a time when the nuncio at Madrid was urging an invasion of England. Again, in 1578, Walsingham had similar intelligence, and having failed to induce Fitzgibbon to give up his secrets in return for his passage back to Ireland, procured his arrest in Scotland.

The death of Don John disrupted all plans for the invasion of England, but there was still stomach for the Irish enterprise. In 1576, Fitzmaurice had been warmly received at Rome, where Father William Allen was also present, having presented to the pope a plot for the invasion of England through Liverpool, with 5,000 musketeers under Stukley's command. The Geraldine connection had been made, and in 1578 Stukley was provided by the pope with infantry and set out with 2000 men, including musketeers (or maybe swordsmen); the force had been raised by enlisting Apennine highwaymen and robbers in return for pardons and 50-day indulgences, the latter to be gained by contemplation of crucifixes supplied to Stukley - although there were also professional officers, including the commander, Hercules of Pisano, and also Giuseppi, who went on to command the Smerwick garrison at the beginning of the Second Desmond Rebellion. In sum, Stukley's ranks rose to 4,000.

Stukley sailed for Ireland from Civitavecchia in March 1578. In April, he reached Cadiz with rotted ships, where he issued magnificent passports to Irishmen returning home, describing himself as Marquess of Leinster (a title bestowed by the pope). Philip II sent him on to Lisbon, where he was to meet his confederate, Fitzmaurice, and to secure better ships before sailing for Ireland. King Sebastian of Portugal, having no ships to offer, invited him to take up a command in his army, which included Portuguese and German mercenaries, in preparation for an invasion of Morocco (an ally of England against Spain) in an attack upon the Moors. Stukley accepted the invitation, and Sanders and certain Irish members of the expedition chose to make their way back to Rome as the expedition was diverted from its purpose. At about this time, Stukley is said to have declared that he knew Ireland as well as the best and that there were only to be got there "hunger and lice", which perhaps explains his state of mind at this curious renunciation of his long-held ambition.

On landing in Morocco, Stukley objected to marching straight away against a vast force of Moors and scorned the Portuguese king's troops and tactics.[citation needed] He fought with courage on 4 August 1578 at the Battle of Alcácer Quibir, commanding the centre, but was killed early in the day after a cannonball cut off his legs. Tradition asserted that he was murdered by his Italian soldiers after the Portuguese had been defeated.[citation needed]

Stukley's first wife died in 1564; in 1566 he married Elizabeth Peppard, a wealthy Irish widow. He also had a brief affair with Hannah Archibald when he was 15 which resulted in an illegitimate child.

Stukley's career made a considerable impression on his contemporaries, and in death he attracted as much speculation and gossip as he had in life. A play generally assigned to George Peele, The Battell of Alcazar with the Death of Captain Stukely, printed in 1594, was probably acted in 1592. It deals with Stukley's arrival in Lisbon and his Moorish expedition, but in a long speech before his death he recapitulates the events of his life.

A later piece, The Famous History of the Life and Death of Captain Thomas Stukeley, printed for Thomas Panyer (1605), which is possibly the Stewtle, played, according to Henslowe, on 11 December 1596, is a biographical piece dealing with successive episodes, and seems to be a patchwork of older plays on Dom António and on Stukley. His adventures also form the subject of various ballads.

There is a detailed biography of Stukley, based chiefly on the English, Venetian and Spanish state papers, in R. Simpson's edition of the 1605 play (School of Shakespeare, 1878, vol. i.), where the Stukley ballads are also printed.[6] References in contemporary poetry are quoted by Dyce in his introduction to The Battle of Alcazar in Peele's Works.



  • The School of Shakspere: Biography of Sir Thomas Stucley. The famous history ... edited by Richard Simpson
  • Pg.1
  • CAPTAIN THOMAS STUCLEY was the third son of Sir Hugh Stucley (died Jan. 6, 1560), of Affton, on the river Taw, near Ilfracomb, Devonshire, by his wife Jane, daughter of Sir Lewis Pollard on of the Judges of the Common Pleas. Prince, in his Worthies of Devon, tells us that the Judge was born about 1465 and died about 1540, and had by his wife, Elizabeth Hext, two-and-twenty children, eleven sons and eleven daughters; and that the daughters were all married 'to the most potent families in the county, most of them knights, as the first to Sir Hugh Stucley, the second to Sir Hugh Courtenay of powderham, the third to Sir Hugh Pawlet of Stamford Peverel, the fourth to Sir John Crocker of Lineham, &c. .... etc.
  • It appears that Sir Lewis Pollard died, not in 1540, but on the 21st of October, 1526. That his children, who lived to be recorded in the Visitations, were eleven in all; five sons-- Hugh, Richard, John, Robert, and Anthony; and six daughters-- Grace, Elizabeth, Jane, Agnes, Thomasin, and Philippa. I cannot discover any Hugh
  • Pg.2
  • Courtenay of Powderham, or any intermarriage of the Courenays and Pollards in the generation in question. But Elizabeth, the second daughter, was married in succession to Sir John Croker and Sir Hugh Trevanion, of Carey-hayes, in Cornwall. Grace, the eldest daughter, does not appear to have been married at all. Possibly she was the nun of Canon Leigh, called in religion Margaret, to whom her father, alone of his daughter, left a legacy in his will.
  • The father of Sir Hugh Stucley was Sir Thomas Stucley (died Jn. 30, 1543), a Knight of the body to King Henry VIII., in 1516, and whose name is found on the sheriff roll for Somerset and Dorset .... etc. His wife was Anne, the daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Wood of Bingley. .... etc.
  • In Benolt's Visitation of Devon, Ao 22 of Henry VIII., the family name of the Stucleys of Affton is spelt Steretchley, and that of the Stucleys of Trent, Somerset (who were identically the same persons), Strevokley. There is also another family name, Stratcheley of Stratchley, which seems to have been originally the same. .... etc.



  • Devonshire characters and strange events By Sabine Baring-Gould
  • Pg.262
    • "Lusty" Stucley
  • .... etc. Captain Thomas Stucley was the third son of Sir Hugh Stucley, of Affeton in the parish of West Worlington, near Chumleigh. Hugh Stucley, the father of our Thomas, was Sheriff of Devon in 1544; his wife was Jane, daughter of Sir Lewis Pollard. Sir Hugh died in 1560.
  • The eldest son, Lewis Stucley, was aged thirty at the death of his father. He became standard-bearer to Queen Elizabeth.
  • It was rumoured during the life of Thomas that he was an illegitimate son of Henry VIII, like Sir John Perrot. "Stucley's birth," says Mr. Simson, "must have occurred at the time when the King, tired of his
  • Pg.263
  • wife Catherine, was as yet ranging among favourites who were contented with something less than a crown as the price of their kindness. .... etc.
  • Whether Thomas ever claimed to be of royal blood we do not know. If so, Lady Stucley, like Lady Falconbridge, might have cried out: -- .... etc.
  • Pg.265
  • During his visit he attempted, Othello-like, to bewitch Anne, the grand-daughter and sole heiress of Sir Thomas Curtis, a wealthy alderman of London, with his tales of adventure. Against her father's wishes the lady was beguiled into a secret marriage, and he retired with her to North Devon. .... etc.


  • A view of Devonshire in MDCXXX, with a pedigree of most of its gentry (1845)
  • STUKELEY of Affeton. — Arms. — Azure, three pears pendant or.
  • Sir Hugh Stukeley, of Affeton, knight, (sheriff of Devon 27th Henry VI.,) had married Katharine, the only daughter and heir of John Affeton of Affeton, by the daughter of Thomas Bratton. This John was the son and heir of Thomas Affeton, who was sheriff of Devon 44th Edward III, and of his wife, daughter and heir of Sir John Monyford, knight, son and heir of Thomas Affeton and Mabel his wife, daughter of Thomas Hatch, of Wollegh, esq. This Sir Hugh had issue Sir Nicholas, a daughter who was secondly
  • married to Fulk Lord Fitzwarren, and Elizabeth married to Sir John Wadham of Edge.
  • Sir Nicholas Stukeley married and had issue Sir Thomas, and Ann married to William Dennis, of Orleigh, esq. Sir Thomas (sheriff of Devon 12th Henry VIII.,) married a daughter of Sir Thomas Wood of Bingley, who married the daughter and heir of Bingley; he had issue Sir Hugh.
  • Sir Hugh Stukeley, knight, (sheriff of Devon 36th Henry VIII.,) married a daughter of Sir Lewis Pollard of King's-Nymet, and had issue Lewis, Thomas named "The Lusty Stukeley," Amias, Agnes, (second wife to John Giles, of Bowdon, esq.;) Audria, (first married to Yeo of Braunton, secondly to Roger Giffard, of Tiverton, esq.) Lewis Stukeley, son and heir, (sheriff of Devon 10th Elizabeth, (married a daughter of Hill, of Helycon in Cornwall, and had issue John, Scipio, and Hugh sans issue ; secondly he married a daughter of Pawlet, of Melplash in Dorset, and had issue Lewis, Hugh sans issue, __ , (married to Anthony Pollard, of Horwood, esq.;) Margery, (to John Hays of Witheridge.) .... etc.
  • Lewis (fourth son of Lewis Stukeley by the daughter of Pawlet,) married Margery, daughter of John Arscot, of Dunsland, esq., and hath issue.


  • Sir Lewis Stukley[2] (1552-1620) was an English gentleman and vice-admiral of Devonshire. He was guardian of Thomas Rolfe, and a main opponent of Sir Walter Raleigh in his last days. Stukley's reputation is equivocal; popular opinion at the time idealised Ralegh, and to the public he was Sir "Judas" Stukley.
  • He was the eldest son of John Stucley of Affeton in Devon, by his wife Frances St Leger, daughter of Sir John St Leger,[3] (d.1596) of Annery, Monkleigh, Devon, through whom he was related to leading families of the west of England. His grandfather Lewis Stucley (c.1530–1581) of Affeton was the eldest brother of Thomas Stucley[4] (1520-1578) The Lusty Stucley, a mercenary leader who was killed fighting against the Moors at the Battle of Alcazar.[5] .... etc.
  • From:


  • CURTEYS, Thomas (by 1502-59), of London.
  • b. by 1502, s. of John Curteys of Enfield, Mdx. m. Mabel, 1s. Kntd. Nov./Dec. 1557.2
  • .... etc.
  • So far as is known he left no will: his estate descended to his granddaughter Anne, the daughter of his only son Thomas who had predeceased him. Curteys died on 27 Nov. 1559 and was buried on 6 Dec. in his parish church of St. Dionis Backchurch; the lord mayor and alderman attended the funeral, which was followed by ‘a great dinner for all men that would come’. Anne, who was already married to the adventurer Thomas Stucley or Stukeley, did not long survive her grandfather.9
  • From:


  • Sir Hugh Stucley (Of Affeton Kt.)
  • Birth: BEF 1496
  • Death: 6 JAN 1559
  • Father: Sir Thomas Stewkley
  • Mother: Anne Wood
  • Family 1: Jane Pollard
    • Lewis Stucley
    • Anne Stewkley
    • Mary Stewkley
    • Elizabeth Stewkley
    • Agnes Stewkley
    • Katherine Stewkley
    • Awdrie Stewkley
    • George Stewkley
    • Thomas Stewkley
    • Hugh Stucley
    • Amias Stucley
  • From:


  • Sir Lewis Pollard (c. 1465–1526) of King's Nympton, Devon, .... etc.
  • He married Agnes Hext, daughter of Thomas Hext, a prominent lawyer[16] of Kingston (in the parish of Staverton, near Totnes), by his wife Florence Bonville. Westcote stated her to be the heiress of Dunisford (or Donesford).[17] By her he had eleven sons and eleven daughters, including:
  • The Heralds' Visitations of Devon[18] lists the following sons of Sir Lewis Pollard: .... etc.
  • The Heralds' Visitations of Devon[29] names five daughters of Sir Lewis Pollard:
    • Anne Pollard, wife of Humphrey Moore (d.1537) of Moorehays in the parish of Burlescombe, in the church of which exists his monument.[30]
    • Jane Pollard,[31] wife of Sir Hugh Stukley (d.1559) of Affeton Castle and mother of the mercenary Thomas Stukley. A heraldic stained-glass roundel survives in the south window of the Pollard Chapel in the south aisle of King's Nympton Church showing the arms of Stucley impaling Pollard, with quarterings of each family. The arms are as follows: baron, quarterly 1st azure, three pears pendant or (Stucley); 2nd Argent a chevron engrailed between three fleurs-de-lis sable (de Affeton[32]); 3rd Argent a chevron gules between three roses of the second seeded or (Wood?); 4th Gules, three lions rampant or; femme quarterly 1st & 4th Argent, a chevron sable between three mullets gules pierced or (Pollard of Horwood); 2nd & 3rd Argent, a chevron sable between three escallops gules (Pollard of King's Nympton)
    • .... etc.
  • From:


  • PRIDEAUX, John (by 1520-58), of Upton Pyne, Devon and the Inner Temple, London.
  • b. by 1520, 1st s. of Thomas Prideaux of Ashburton, Devon by Joan. educ. I. Temple, adm. 15 Nov. 1537. m. by 1549, Mary, da. of Sir Hugh Stukeley of Trent, Som., 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 22 Jan. 1548.2
  • Offices Held
    • Bencher, I. Temple 1550, Summer reader 1551, Lent 1552, Autumn 1555.
    • Commr. chantries, Devon 1546, 1548, relief 1550; counsel to Exeter 20 Oct. 1548; j.p.q. Devon 1554; serjeant-at-law 1555; King and Queen’s serjeant-at-law 23 Jan. 1558.3
  • John Prideaux the serjeant had a number of contemporary namesakes but it was certainly he who was knight of the shire for Devon in 1554. Whether he also sat for Plymouth in the Parliament of 1547 is less clear: it is possible that he was the John Prideaux assessed towards a subsidy at Plymouth during 1543-4 on goods worth 20s., but although the serjeant was related to the influential Edgecombes he is not known to have had a more personal link with the town. The Roger Prideaux who sat in this Parliament for Totnes was doubtless related to him: it is not clear which of them was the ‘Mr. Prideaux’ to whom a bill for decayed houses was committed after its first reading on 30 Jan. 1550, but John Prideaux was presumably the ‘Mr. Pridioke skilled in the law’ consulted at the Temple by the advisers of the 16th Earl of Oxford over the measure which became the Act for frustrating assurances to the Duke of Somerset made by the earl (5 and 6 Edw. VI, no. 35).4
  • With Exeter, Prideaux did have a close connexion: in 1548 as ‘John Prideaux of Bramford Pyne’ he was granted an annual fee of 20s. for his counsel. He progressed steadily at his inn and became involved in local administration in Devon. He was caught up in an affair of greater moment when in January 1554 he and Sir Thomas Denys, the sheriff, got wind of the plot to raise Exeter against the Spanish marriage: the declaration which he made on 24 Jan. is the chief source of information on the episode. It can hardly be a coincidence that two months later he was elected, for the only time in his career, one of the knights of the shire for Devon: his friend Denys was doubtless of help to him as sheriff, but the court may well have intervened on behalf of so trusty a watchdog. Twelve months later he was made a serjeant, and with his promotion to King and Queen’s serjeant in January 1558 he was clearly heading for the bench before his death on the following 29 Sept. A knell was rung for him at Ashburton, whose churchwardens he had advised in legal matters for many years.5
  • Prideaux had added considerably to his patrimony. The chantry lands in Herefordshire worth £55 a year which he and Roger Hereford had bought in 1549 he divided with Hereford, and a year before his death he and his wife paid nearly £1,200 for the reversion of a number of Devon manors held by the Duchess of Suffolk for life. Not only did he buy property himself but he also advised others about their land transactions. Prideaux left no will and administration was first granted to Thomas Stukeley, his brother-in-law, who was also granted the wardship of his son and heir Thomas. Thomas Prideaux had licence to enter on the lands on 17 May 1571 and 12 months later shared administration of the goods with a sister.6
  • From:


Captain Thomas Stucley

The most colourful of the Stucleys raised in the family seat of Affeton was Captain Thomas Stucley, that notorious swashbuckler of the Elizabethan age.

The third son of yet another Sir Hugh Stucley of Affeton, a wealthy clothier who was sheriff of Devon in 1544, he was born around 1520 to Jane Pollard daughter of Sir Lewis Pollard, though it was claimed during his lifetime that Thomas was an illegitimate son of Henry VIII. A cohort of royalty and popes, his remarkable life included many adventures on the high seas as a mercenary and a pirate. He was also an arch manipulator and intriguer, acting as political advisor and diplomat to his Catholic friends and traitor to others, most notably Queen Elizabeth I of England who described him as 'a faithless beast rather than a man'. Thomas was widely portrayed in dramas and poetry after his heroic death in the Battle of Alcazar.


  • 'Stukeley1'
  • It appears to us that the name of this family varied more than most. Nevertheless, BP1934 uses "Stucley" throughout whilst Vivian mainly uses Stewkley for the early generations but moves to "Stucley" for the later generations of most of its branches. When we first prepared this page we used "Stukeley" as that was probably the most common version used in references to the family from elsewhere. This page was reviewed in July 2012 using Vivian. At that time we considered renaming the page "Stucley1" but decided to retain it as above.
  • Richard Stucley or Styvecle of Trent, Somerset (a 1414, to Somerset from Huntingdonshire?)
  • m. Elizabeth (d 10/18.04.1414, dau of John FitzRoger of Chedworth, widow of John Bonvile)
    • 1. Roger Stucley or Styvecle (b c1398, a 1414)
    • 2. Hugh Stucley or Styvecle or Stewkley of Affeton, Sheriff of Devon (a 1448)
    • m. Katherine Affeton (d 26.03.1467, dau/heir of John Affeton of Affeton (by Elizabeth, coheir of Sir Roger Manningford of Dorset), m2. Sir William Bourchier of Fitzwaren)
      • A. Nicholas Stucley or Stucle or Stewkley of Affeton
      • m1. Thomasine Kokeworthy (d 29.11.1477, dau of John Kokeworthy or Cockeworthye of Yarnescombe, widow of Robert Chudleigh)
        • i. Sir Thomas Stucley or Stewkley of Affeton, Sheriff of Devon (b 24.06.1473, d 30.01.1542)
        • m. Anne or Elizabeth Wood (a 1542, dau/heir of Sir Thomas Wood of Clyffe)
          • a. Sir Hugh Stucley of Affeton (b c1495, d 06.01.1559)
          • m. Jane (not Philippa) Pollard (a 1559, dau of Sir Lewis Pollard of Great Grilleston)
            • (1) Lewis Stucley of Affeton (b c1528, d 01.12.1581)
            • m1. Dorothea or Anne Hill (dau of Sir Giles Hill, widow of Christopher Hadley)
              • (A) John Stucley of Affeton (b c1551, d 15.01.1610-1)
              • m1. Frances St. Leger (dau of Sir John St. Leger of Amery by Catherine, dau of George Nevill, Lord Abergavenny)
              • m2. (19.07.1597) Mary Redman (d 26.12.1648, dau of John Redman of Thornton)
              • (B) Scipio Stucley (vicar of Dean Prior) had issue
              • m. _ Weeks of Honichurch
              • (C) Hugh Stucley
            • m2. Janet Powlett of Dorset
              • (D) Lewis Stucley (cleric) had issue
              • m. Margery Arscott (dau of John Arscottt of Dunsland)
              • (E) Johanna Stucley
              • m. Anthony Pollard of Way
              • (F) Margaret Stucley
              • m. John Hays of Witheridge
            • (2) George Stewkley
            • (3) Thomas Stewkley or Stucley or Stukeley had issue
            • This is the Thomas who is thought by some to have been an illegimitate son of King Henry VIII.
            • m. _ Powlett
            • (4) Hugh Stewkley of Hartland had issue
            • (5) Amiss Stewkley
            • m. Frances Pollard (dau of Sir Richard Pollard of Horwood)
              • (A) Anthony Stewkley had issue
              • m. _ Clotworthy of Meshaw (widow of _ Oland)
              • (B) Sibill Stewkley
              • m. Bartholomew Clotworthy
              • (C) Joan Stewkley
              • m1. _ Crewys
              • m2. _ Wood of Morton
              • (D) Frances Stewkley
              • m. Philip Davy
              • (E) Polynora Stewkley
              • m. John Nott of Lapford
              • (F)+ other issue - Lewis, Damaris
            • (6) Anne Stewkley
            • m. William Bellew of Alverdiscott
            • (7) Mary Stucley
            • m1. Tristram Larder of Upton Pyne
            • m2. John Prideaux of Nutwell (b c1520, d 29.09.1558)
            • (8) Elizabeth Stewkley
            • An Elizabeth of this generation is shown as wife of Sir John Wadham of Edge but we suspect that this may be confusion with an earlier Elizabeth - see below.
            • (9) Agnes Stucley
            • m. John Giles of Bowden (bur 30.11.1606)
            • (10) Katherine Stewkley
            • m. John Carew of Bickleigh
            • (11) Awdrie Stucley
            • m1. William Yeo of Braunton
            • m2. (27.01.1562-3) Roger Giffard of Tiverton Castle (b 1533, d 08.10.1603)
          • b. Thomas Stewkley of Colridge (a 1542)
          • m. Alice Spurston of Cheshire
            • (1) Augustine Stewkley of Colridge had issue
            • (2) Anne Stewkley
            • m. John Copplestone of Engesford
          • c. Maurice Stewkley
          • m. Allice Ffaringdon (dau of Charles Ffaringdon)
            • (1) Edward Stewkley
          • d. Margery (Margaret) Stukeley
          • m. Charles Farringdon of Farringdon (b c1500)
          • e. Thomazin Stewkley
          • m1. John Beare of Hunsham (b c1494, d 05.06.1531)
          • m2. William Trewynard
          • f. other issue - Christopher, George
      • m2. Ann Pomeroy (d before 07.04.1526, dau of Edward Pomeroy of Berry Pomeroy, widow of Robert Budockshyde, m3. Thomas Dudley)
        • ii. William Stewkley of Kene, Devon (b c1480)
        • m. Joane Stowell (dau of John Stowell, sister of John of Codleston)
          • a. Christopher Stewkley
          • m. Mary Foorde (dau of Edward Foorde of Plimtree)
            • (1)+ issue - John of Farindon, Andrew of Warkleigh (had issue), Grace, Ann, Elizabeth, Mary
          • b. Mary Stewkley
          • m. Henry English
          • c. Ann Stewkley
          • m. William Anthony
          • d. Elizabeth Stewkley
          • m. Thomas Moore of Taunton
          • e. Katherine Stewkley
          • m. John Carew of Bickley
        • iii. Anne Stukeley
        • m. William Dennis of Orley
        • iv. Jane Stukeley
        • m. Philip Baynard of Lackham (b by 1471, d before 21.05.1522)
        • v. Elizabeth Stucley or Stukeley (d before 07.04.1526) apparently of this generation, of this marriage
        • m. (before 31.08.1512) Christopher Fleming, 8th Lord Slane (d 08.1517/8)
      • B. Alice Stukeley
      • m. Sir Thomas Beaumont of Gittisham
      • C. Elizabeth Stukeley probably of this generation
      • m. Sir John Wadham of Branscombe & Merifield (d 1502)
  • Main source(s): Visitation (J.L. Vivian (1895), Devon, 1531+1564+1620+additions, Stucley of Affeton), BP1934 (Stucley)
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Captain Thomas Stucley's Timeline

August 4, 1578
Age 58
October 26, 1959
Age 58
November 18, 1959
Age 58
May 27, 1960
Age 58