(1st E. Rutland)

Born: BEF 1488, Ethal, Northumberland, England

Acceded: 18 Jun 1523/5

Died: 20 Sep 1543

Buried: St. Mary the Virgin Church, Bottesford, Leicesterhire, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: George MANNERS (12° B. Ros)

Mother: Anne St. LEGER (B. Ros)

Married 1: Elizabeth LOVELL (B. Ros) 21 Feb 1512 / 21 Sep 1513

Married 2: Eleanor PASTON (C. Rutland) BEF 1523


1. Gertrude MANNERS (C. Shrewsbury)

2. Henry MANNERS (2° E. Rutland)

3. Anne MANNERS (C. Westmoreland)

4. Frances MANNERS (B. Abergavenny)

5. Elizabeth MANNERS

6. John MANNERS (Sir Knight)

7. Roger MANNERS of Uffington (Esq.)

8. Isabel MANNERS (d. young)

9. Thomas MANNERS (Sir Knight)

10. Oliver MANNERS (Esq.)

11. Catherine MANNERS


Sir Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, c.1675

(oil on canvas) by Jeremias van der Eyden

Manners,Thomas(1ºE.Rutland)01.jpg (40612 bytes)

Detail of the effigie of Thomas Manners at Bottesford

Eldest son of Sir George Manners, 12° B. Ros of Hamlake, by Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas St. Leger and princess Anne Plantagenet. His father became Baron Ros in 1487 by the death of his mother, Eleanor, sister and coheiress of Edmund, eleventh lord Ros of Hamlake, Triesbut and Belvoir. Anne St Leger (niece of Edward IV) gave him relationship with the Plantagenets. The splendour of the House of Manners rose from heiresses.

He was a distinguished soldier, and was Knighted by the Earl of Surrey on the Scottish expedition of 1497. Sir George died on the siege of Tournay on 27 Oct 1513.

On 22 Jun Thomas landed at Calais on the french expedition. The same year he became Baron Ros on his father´s death, and was summoned in 1515 to Parliament.

He married first Elizabeth Lovell, daughter of Sir Robert Lovell, between 21 Feb 1512 and 21 Sep 1513. This lady died without issue. Thomas married secondly, before Feb 1523, Eleanor Paston, daughter of Sir William Paston of Norfolk and Bridget Heydon (by her mother she was a relative of Anne Boleyn).

Manners,Thomas(1ºE.Rutland)02.jpg (151277 bytes)

Tomb of the Earl and his wife at Bottesford

He was at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 and at Henry VIII´s meeting with Carlos V afterwards. In Dec he became cupbearer to the King; in Jan 1522 he was made steward of Pickering, Yorkshire; and from Apr to Oct of the same year he held the appointment of lord warden of the east marches. In Oct 1522, he was at Berwick with Sir William Paston, Sir Ralph Ellerker, Sir Richard Tempest, Sir William Evers, and Arthur Darcy. He was succeded as lord Warden by Lord Percy. He also received the wardenship of Sherwood Forest on 12 Jul 1524, an office which afterwards became practically hereditary in his family.

He was appointe Knight of the Garter on 24 Apr 1525, the same that Henry Fitzroy, the King illegitimate son with Bessie Blount, and on 18 Jun of that year, Fitzroy was made Duke of Richmond and Manners Earl of Rutland.

He was a great favorite of Henry VIII since the battle of the Spurs, and had many grants, including the keepership of Enfield Chase, which was given to him 12 Jul 1526. He was also a signatory of the letter to Clement VII, requesting Henry VIII's divorce.

Sir Henry Delves was his steward in 1526.

On 11 Oct 1532 he landed with Henry in France; he was at the coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533, and took part in her trial in 1536.

In 1530 Edward Kirky had become abbot of Rievaulx, and attracted the ire of Henry VIII when he questioned the King's authority to interfere in matters of the Church. Henry soon had him deposed, and had a new abbot elected. In 1538, however, the dissolution of the greater monasteries had begun, and on Dec 3, the new abbot Blyton and his twenty-one remaining monks were forced to surrender their monastery. The abbey and its estates in Ryedale and Bilsdale were granted to Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland, who destroyed many of the abbey's buildings. The abbey fell into a state of complete destruction.

On 3 Jul 1536 a triple wedding that reinforced the ties between some of England´s oldest families. Lady Margaret Neville, the daughter of Ralph, Earl of Westmoreland, wed Lord Henry Manners, heir to the Earl of Rutland, while Rutland’s daughter Lady Anne Manners married Westmorland’s heir Lord Henry Neville. Another of Westmorland’s daughters, Dorothy Neville, married Lord John De Vere. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, cousin of the Nevilles, played his part in the ceremony as Lady Margaret’s escort from the church to the reception at the Earl of Rutland’s mansion in Shoreditch. The Rutland household accounts reveal payments for dozens of rushes to be spread over the floor; for sacks of coal and yards of black satin, velvet and cloth of silver. Money was also paíd to dressmakers and to three separate barbers for the “washing and trimming” and “rounding” of Lord Henry Manners’ hair. The reception was an exclusive society event, atended by “all the great estate” of the realm”. Henry VIII even made the trip from Whitehall. Still in the first flushes of his new marriage, his joie de vivre seemed to have been resurrected for the night and he made a suitably stunning entrance dressed as a Turk.

Rutland was appointed chamberlain for the coronation of Queen Jane Seymour, and Eleanor, his wife, had a place between her ladies. 

Upon an insurrection in Lincolnshire in 1536, under Dr. Makerell, abbot of Berlinges, occasioned by the dissolution of the lesser monasteries, and certain injunctions in matters of religion, he received command, together with the Earl of Shrewsbury and the Earl of Huntingdon, to require them by proclamation, upon peril of their lives, to return to their due obedience. The city of York paid the Earl at that time a fee-farm rent of 40 £. On a familiar rebellion in Yorkshire (called The Pilgrimage of Grace), he offered his service; and was successful in its suppression.

In 1538 he obtained the site of the abbey of Rievaulx in exchange for other lands; in 1540 was constituted chief justice in eyre of all the King’s forests beyond Trent; in 1539 he was appointed by the King lord chamberlain to Anne of Cleves, met her at Shooter´s Hill after her unfortunate interview with the King at Rochester, and sent from Greenwich to attend her before her marriage.

On 28 Apr 1539 his daughter Gertrude married George Talbot, heir of the Earl of Shrewsbury. The Earl of Rutland paid 3,000 marks for the marriage.

His youngest daughter Catherine was born at Belvoir Castle three months after her sister Gertrude's wedding at Holywell, the Rutlands' London mansion. She was named for Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk.

In 1541 obtained a grant of the manors of Muston, Waltham, and Croxton, with part of the possessions of the late dissolved priory of Osulveston, all in the county of Leicester; as also of the manors of Upwell, Outwell, Elme, and Emnithe, in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, part of the possessions of the monastery of Nuneaton, co. Warwick; and also of the manor of Braunston, co. Northampton, part of the possessions of the abbey of Lillshull, co. Salop. To these were soon after added the manors of Byllesdale and Helmesley, part of the possessions of the monastery of Kirkham, co. York; with divers lands in Brandesdale, in the county of York, sometime belonging to the abbey of Rievalx.

Rutland was to be associated with John Markham in 1542. In that Aug, after numerous border disputes, the King planned to send Norfolkwith a main force’ against the Scots, and Markham was appointed to Rutland’s inner council, with Sir Robert BowesJohn Harington and John Uvedale, when the Earl went north as lord warden of the marches. Rutland accompanied the Duke of Norfolk, then general of an army consisting of 20.000 men, in his invasion of Scotland; where, in eight days, they burnt twenty towns and villages; and, being much in the King’s favour, he, on his return, obtained in that year (jointly with Robert Tyrwhitt) a grant of the priory of Belvoir, and also of Egle in Lincolnshire, which had been a commandery of the Knights Templars, who had it of the grant of well Haughe, King Stephen; and from whom it had passed to the Hospitalars. Our Earl obtained at the same time a large share of the lands and lordships of divers other dissolved monasteries in the counties of Leicester, Norfolk, Northumberland, and York.

On his return home Thomas began converting Belvoir Castle from a fortress into a dwelling house and arranged for many ancient monuments of the Albinis and Rosses, his ancestors, to be removed to Bottesford from the suppressed Belvoir Priory, where some of them yet remain. Others also were carried thither, by the same order, from Croxton abbey.

To his exertions also is in great measure to be attributed the rebuilding of Belvoir castle, after it had been laid in ruins by William, first lord Hastings; though the completion of it was reserved for his son, the second Earl.

About this period it is thus described by Leland:

 “It is a straunge sighte to se be how many steppes of stone the way goith up from the village to the castel. In the castel be 2 faire gates; and the dungeon is a faire rounde tour now turned to pleasure, as a place to walk yn, and to se al the countery aboute, and raylid about the round [wall], and a garden [platte] in the middle. There is alsoe a welle of a grete depth in the castelle, and the spring theros is very good.”

When not at Belvoir, he seems to have lived at the old Benedictine Nunnery of Holywell in Shoreditch, London.

He was steward of many monasteries, and from his various ancestors he had claims by way of foundation of certain of the houses. Hence, when the dissolution came, he received numerous grants of monastic property.

From Dec 1540 to Nov 1541, Richard Whalley was comptroller of his household

In 1542 he became constable of Nottingham Castle. He went to the border again on 7 Aug 1542 as warden of the Marches (State Papers, v. 211, for his instructions; Hamilton Papers, vol i,.) But he was recalled inconsequence of illness, in Nov of the same year. From Newark-on-Trent he wrote on 7 Nov to the Council of the north:

"As God best knows, I am a poor and febryll estat"

In his last will, dated 16 Aug 1543 (printed in "Testamenta Vetusta" ii. 719), this Earl thus begins the enumeration of his ample possessions: “Where I have the manors of Belvoire and Wollestrop, with the appurtenances, and certain lands, tenements, and hereditaments, in Belvoire, Wollstrop, Denton, Aubone, Haddington, Ingwardby, Coringham, Greyningham, Ulceby, Croxby, Bynbroke, Ludburghe, Foderby, Ropsley, Hungarton, Wyvell, Aslackby, Cadby Magna, and Aslacton, in the county of Lincoln; and in Easton, Midleton, Madborne, Blettesden, Barkby, South Croxton, Plungarthe, Barkston, Claxton, Knypton, Muston, Bottesforde, Statherne, Hardby, Howes, Lubbenham, and Redmilde, in the county of Leicester; and in Dalton and in Naborne, in the county of York; and in Carleton, Dyngley, Brampton, Braddon, Sewell, Horpoole, Stoke Aubeney, Wilberston, Rushton, Daysborowe, and Cottingham, in the county of Northampton; and in Collesden, Ocley, and Richtone, in the county of Bedford; and in Clipston, in the county of Buckingham,” &c. Among other articles, are afterwards particularly mentioned, the manors of Wragby, Melton, Ros, Haddington, Ussington, Talington, Deeping, and Stroxton, with their several appurtenances, in the county of Lincoln; Redmile, Barston, and Plungarth, with their appurtenances, of clear yealy value of 25 £ 15s 8 d.; Bottesford, Normanton, and Easthorp, 45£ 18s. 4d.; Frethby, with its appurtenances, in Frethby, Stapleford, and Stonysby, 16 £ 19s. 4 ¾ d.; in the site of Croxton, with the grange of Bescaby, and all other the manors, tenements, &c. parsonages, tithes, pensions, and portions of tithes, of and in Croxton, Bescaby, Croxton Kyriall, Knipton, Harston, Waltham upon the Wolde, Frethby, Nether Broughton, Howes, Clawstone, Statherne, Plungarthe, Harby, Barston, Eyton, Braunston, Wymondham, Sproxton, Humberston, Twyford, Leycestre, South Croxton, Kyrkby Belowes, Melton Mowberey, Stapleford, Saltby, and Stonesby, in the county of Leicester, belonging to the lately dissolved priory of Croxton; the site of the late monastery of Garondon in Leicestershire, with the demesne lands, tenements, &c. of Garondon and Sheepshed, and the forest of Charnwood, the grange of Dixley and the parsonage of Dixley, and the grange of Halywell Haughe, with lands, &c. in Halywell Haughe, Thorpfelde, Dixley, Thorpe Hawker, Shepshed, Hathern, Belgrave, Groby, Ratby, Swynfen, and Eastwell, in the Leicestershire; the site of the priory of Belvoir, with lands, tenements, &c. in Belvoir, Woolsthorp, Bottesford, Muston, Knipton, and Redmilde, late part of the possessions of Belvoir, of the clear yearly value of 23 £ 13s.; lands, tenements, &c. in Saltby, parcel of the monastery of Drax, amounting, with lands, &c. belonging to Rievalx, Kirkham, Lilleshull, Newsted, and Oweston, to 107 £ 17s. 11d. Many other articles are also specified; amounting in the whole to the clear yearly value of 1862 £ 1s. 8d. over and above the fum of 552 £ 1s. 5 ¾ d. payable to the King for lands purchased or exchanged; and over and above all rents, resolutions, and deductions of bailiffs and stewards rents. To the lady Eleanor, Countess of Rutland, he confirms, for her life, several manors, consisting of Belvoir, Woolsthorp, and many others, to the yearly value of 410 £ 15s. 4 ¾ d.; with the addition of Croxton and others, of the yearly value of 280 £ 9s. 11 ¾ d.; “all which have been already assigned to the faid lady Eleanor my wife, for her jointure and dower, of myn intention, and for other considerations and sure promises made by the said countess to me the said Earl, to be loving, benevolent, and favourable to my children.” To Oliver Manners, one of his younger sons, he gives his manor of Howsome, with the appurtenances. To John Manners, another of his younger sons, his manor of Thornton in Craven, with the appurtenances, in Thornton in Craven, Earesby, and Kelbroke, in the county of York. To Roger Manners, another of his younger sons, the manor of Linton upon Ouse, with the appurtenances in Liton and Yolton, in Yorkshire: And to Thomas Manners, another of his younger sons, his manor of Turnham-hall, and Cliff, in the parish of Hemyngburg, with the appurtenances. To his three daughters, Elizabeth, Frances and Catherine, 60 £ a year each, for their exhibition and finding till such time as they shall be married, and toward their marriage 1000 £ each. He settles on his eldest son Henry lord Ros and Margaret his wife the manor of Melton-Ross, in Lincolnshire, and all his lands in Melton-Ross, Beckby, Kernyngton, Barnaby, Ulceby, Wrawby, Glamford-Bruggs, and Wotton; the manor of Orston, and all the lands, &c. in Orston, Streton, Kneton, Scarrington, Carcolston, Thurverton, Stauton, and Dalington, in the county of Nottingham, as her jointure. And constitutes his executors, Eleanor, Countess of Rutland, his wife; Sir Richard Manners, knight, his brother; Sir John Chaworth, knight, his brother in law; Augustine Porter, Henry Digby, and Robert Thurston, esquires; and to each of them gives 40 £.

He died 20 Sep 1543; and was buried in the mid-way going up to the altar at Bottesford. When the Earl died in Sept 1543 Thomas Disney received 6s.11d. for riding ‘to Lincoln for a suit of vestments to be occupied at the day of the interment’.

Detail of the tomb at Bottesford

Made out of alabaster by Richard Parker and installed in 1544, this was the only sepulchral effigy erected in Leicestershire during the civil war.

Depicted in mail faulds and full plate armour, Thomas is wearing the robe of the Order of the Garter with the Garter itself on the left leg. Wearing a coronet, as befits his title of 1st Earl of Rutland, the head is resting on a helm that carries the Manners peacock crest. Bearded, he is wearing four rings: one on each of the first and third fingers of the left hand and the first and little of the right. The feet are resting on a unicorn guardent. Nichols, writing in about 1800, states that the coats of arms of Manners, Tiptoft and Badlesmere were painted onto the surcoat.

Eleanor wears robes and a ruffled gown. She is also wearing a coronet and a chain necklace of four rows with a heart pendant. Wearing rings on the fore and little fingers of the left hand, her head rests on two embroided tasselled cushions. There is a griffin couchant at her feet. On her mantle were painted the arms: Or, a chevron between three talbot heads gules; Gules, a chevron between three bear's heads azure; Qly. Gules and azure, on a chief gules three hearts.

Richard Parker of Burton on Trent, who, with two helpers, took six days to erect it, made this, the church’s first post-Reformation monument, which cost £26. Parker, whose work can also be seen at Ashby de la Zouch, Stoughton and Old Dalby, was arguably the greatest sculptor of the Burton School. One of his traits was the making of military weepers on the base of the tomb-chest facing forward instead of in profile. Parker's effigies show a real attempt at portraiture, while the tomb-chest shows the beginnings of the Renaissance with decorated corners, classical swags and pilasters.

Detail of the tomb at Bottesford

The weepers, which represent the couple's children, are excellent examples of early Tudor costume and are divided by elaborate Renaissance pilasters rather than the until then customary continuous frieze. The daughters, wearing black farthingales, are on the east end (two) and north side (six). At the west end the eldest son, Henry (who, as second Earl, is depicted on another monument in his own right) is shown kneeling before a reading desk. On the south side five of the youngest sons are shown standing in various postures with small daggers and swords, while the youngest is depicted as a priest.
Round the altar table is the gothic style inscription, unusual inasmuch as it gives the exact time of death:

Here lyeth the body of Thomas Manners, Erle of Rutland, 1st Lord of Hamelake, Trusbut and Belvoir, and Knight of the most honourable Order of the Garter, who deceased the XXth day of September, at iiii of the clock at afternoone, anno Dni MCCCCCXLIII: and the body of the Lady Eleanor, Countess, his wyfe, daughter to Sir William Paston of Norfolke, knight, who deceased the . . . day of . . . anno Dni
MCCCCC . . . whose soules Ihu pardon. Ame.

On this, the first of the family burials in the church, the date of Lady Eleanor's death was never filled in as the tomb was made during her lifetime. Eleanor was buried in St. Leonard, Shoreditch; where the following inserption preserves the remembrance of several persons of this noble family:

“This monument is erected in memory,

that within this church do lie buried the bodies

of the right honourable and noble ladies,

Lady Katharine Stafford,

daughter to Edward Duke of Buckinham,

and wife to Ralph Earl of Westmerland,

who dyed 1553.

Lady Eleanor, daughter to sir William Paston, knight,

and wife to the right honourable lord Thomas

Earl of Rutland, buried 1551.

Lady Margaret Nevel,

daughter to Ralph Earl of Westmoreland,

and wife to Henry Earl of Rutland, who died 1560.

And the lady Katharine Nevel,

wife to sir John Constable, of Holderness, knight, and

daughter to Henry Earl of Westmoreland and lady

Anne Manners, daughter to Thomas Earl of Rutland,

which Katharine died the 27th day Mar, 1591.

And that here do lie also the bodies of two right

worthy gentlemen, honourably descended; namely, of

sir Thomas Manners, knight, and Oliver Manners, esq;

brethren, being the fourth and fifth sons

of the aforesaid Thomas Earl of Rutland.

The first died about his age of fifty, in June 1591,

after many valiant services performed by him

for his prince and country, both in Ireland

and Scotland, where he was knighted; and

witnessed by sundry great wounds he therein received.

The second died in his younger years, 1563,

about his age of twenty, yet not before

good proof made of his valour and forwardness,

in the service of Newhaven against the French;

where he took the sickness,

whereof he died shortly after in Shoreditch.

Founded by the lady Adeline Nevel, at the direction

of the said lady Katharine Constable, deceased,

her sister, in Feb 1591.”


The 9th Earl of Rutland commissioned Jeremias van der Eyden (d. 1697) portraits of the nine Earls.

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