Thursday, November 10, 2011


Text reads: Thomas Spring, the "Rich Clother" died on the twenty-ninth day of June, 1523, and Lavenham was plunged into gloom at the loss of its wealthiest inhabitant.

Thomas asked to be buried in Lavenham church , before the altar of Saint Katherine, and to have a parlose built around the tomb. He also willed money towards the finishing of Lavenham church steeple.

His devoted wife Alice consoled herself by carrying out his wishes. She obtained the best craftsman she could to make the elaborately carved parclose still standing here. She hurried on the workmen to get the south chapel finished and she watched the tower being completed with her husband's money.

The Spring coat of arms is much in evidence in the carving and also in the coloured-glass roundel in the Lady Chapel. The colours from which are duplicated in the flower arrangement on the tomb

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sir Thomas Spring (1474–1523), also known as Thomas Spring III, was an English merchant in Suffolk during the early 1500s.[1] He lived in Lavenham, Suffolk. He had inherited the Spring family cloth business from his father, also Thomas Spring. During Spring’s lifetime, the cloth trade was at its most profitable. By the time of his death, Spring was believed to be the richest man in England outside the nobility, having invested much of his money in land.[2]

In 1512, 1513 and 1517 his name appears as one of the commissioners for collecting taxation in Suffolk. Spring played a large part in defeating supporters of William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, who claimed the throne from Henry VII. However in 1517, under the reign of Henry VIII, Thomas was given exemption from his public duties. At this point, he was probably at the height of his wealth.

Spring is mentioned in Skelton's satirical poem "Why come ye not to Court" with a reference to the 'rich clothier', with whom Skelton is said to have been friends. He writes:

"Now nothing, but pay pay with laughe and lay downe Borough, Citie and towne good Springe of Lanam must count what became of his clothe makyng. My Lordes grace will bryng down thys hye Springe and brynge it so lowe it shal not ever flow."

Spring was knighted by Henry VII.[4]

He is buried in the Spring family parclose in Lavenham church.
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The Rich Clothier
15th & 16th Century, St Peter's and St Paul's
Known as "The Rich Clothier", The Richest Man in England and major church contributor. The glory of the church is the rich carving, both interior and exterior. Look for the Renaissance parclose screen, completed in 1525 to enclose the tomb of Thomas Spring III, a wealthy benefactor of the church. The church retains its 14th century chancel, but it is primarily as product of the 15th and 16th centuries. Look for the chevron pattern of the Spring family crest, and the star design of the De Vere family carved in numerous places throughout the church. John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, was one of the major benefactors of St. Peter and St. Paul's.

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