Thomas DACRE

(2nd B. Gillesland/ 1st B. Greystoke)

Born: 25 Nov 1467, Gillesland, Cumberland, England

Died: 24 Oct 1525, on the Borders

Buried: Lanercost, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: Humphrey DACRE (1º B. Dacre of the North)

Mother: Mabel PARR (B. Dacre of the North)

Married: Elizabeth GREYSTOKE (B. Greystoke of Greystoke) ABT 1487/8


Tomb of Thomas Dacre
Detail of the tomb of Thomas Dacre
Lanercost Priory
Cumbria, England

1. Mabel DACRE (B. Scrope of Bolton)

2. William DACRE (3º B. Gillesland/ 2º B. Greystoke)

3. Anne DACRE (B. Conyers of Hornby)

4. Mary DACRE (C. Shrewsbury)

5. Jane DACRE

6. Humphrey DACRE

7. Elizabeth DACRE

Associated with: ¿? 


8. Thomas DACRE of Lanercost (Sir Capt.)

Born in 1467, son of Humphrey Dacre, 1st Baron Dacre of Gilsland and Mabel Parr, great-aunt of queen Catherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII of England. His mother was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal by his wife, Alice Tunstall.

William fought at the side of Henry Tudor, subsequently Henry VII, who defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. Having fought on the winning side, Thomas Dacre, by then deputy warden of the West March, later becoming warden (1509), was subsequently knighted in the Order of the Bath (1503). In 1513 Thomas, Lord Dacre played an important role at the battle of Flodden where the English, under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey (later 2nd Duke of Norfolk) inflicted a catastrophic defeat upon the army of King James IV of Scotland. Dacre had commanded the "Border Lancers" at the battle, and their charge had saved Lord Edmund Howard, commander of the English right wing. After the battle, Dacre discovered the body of the Scottish king, informed Thomas Howard, Lord Admiral, and took it to Berwick upon Tweed. He later wrote that the Scots "love me worst of any Inglisheman living, by reason that I fande the body of the King of Scotts".

A distinguished soldier and a man of considerable power, earlier in 1488, he had eloped with Elizabeth de Greystoke, 6th Baroness Greystoke suo jure, daughter of Sir Robert de Greystoke and Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent and Catherine Percy. Dacre took her at night from Brougham Castle in Westmorland where, as a ward of the King, she was in the custody of Henry Clifford, 10th Baron de Clifford

Elizabeth was the heiress of Ralph de Greystoke, 5th Baron Greystoke. She had only recently succeeded her grandfather in the barony, when by their marriage, Dacre became the jure uxoris Baron Greystoke. The extensive lands held by the Greystokes passed to the Dacre family through this marriage. These included Greystoke Castle and the barony of Greystoke, Morpeth Castle and the barony of Morpeth, along with the lost manor of Henderskelf, which is now the site of Castle Howard, near York.

Dacre lived in great style at Naworth Castle and it is likely the beasts were made to commemorate a special but unknown event. Likely candidates are Dacre’s attainment of the Order of the Garter, the victory at Flodden in 1513 or his or his son’s acknowledged legal right to the Greystoke possesions in 1516, or simply they could have been made for a royal visit.

He was made Knight of the Garter in 1518, alongside William Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys of the Vyne.

Thomas Dacre was awarded lands around Lanercost, and with that new wealth was able to extend Naworth. He built the whole of the south and east wings including the 100ft Great Hall, and what is now known as Lord William’s Tower. Fine tombs are located in the old church of Lanercost, including that of Roland de Vaux, nephew of the priory's founder. Thomas Dacre was also Warden of The West March for Henry VIII, and provided loyal service to the crown until his death in 1525, after a fall from his horse when harrying the Scots.

While the Dacre family seat was at Naworth, Sir Thomas preferred Kirkoswald Castle and in his will (now at Arundel Castle) he left his brother, Christopher Dacre and William Husband, master of Greystoke College “to look after his son William and to provide for his widow Elizabeth out of the revenues of Kirkoswald Castle”. He also asked for “a canon to say mass in St George’s aisle of Lanercost Priory with prayers for his Dacre ancestors who founded the priory”. Thomas Dacre was fully aware of his own mortality and after the death of his wife in 1516 he had an elaborately carved joint tomb made for Lanercost Priory.

Dacre estates covered great tracks of the north of England- including 70,000 acres of the Barony of Gilsland, lands in Cumberland including Greystoke and Dacre, 20,000 acres around Morpeth and 30,000 acres in Yorkshire.

His heir was his only surviving son, William. He also left four daughters and an illegitimate son, Sir Thomas Dacre, founder of the Lanercost branch of the family.

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