Sir Thomas Lovell
Field: Politician; philanthropist; lawyer
Type of memorial: Bust
Type of material: Bronze

A bronze relief medallion of Sir Thomas Lovell, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who died in 1524, is in the Westminster Abbey collection. The artist was Pietro Torrigiano and the relief probably dates from around 1518. This medallion was presented to the Abbey in 1902 by Sir J.C.Robinson, former Keeper of the Queen's Pictures and it was first hung in Henry VII's chapel near the tomb of Lady Margaret Beaufort (Lovell was executor both to Lady Margaret and her son Henry VII and superintended the erection of their tombs). It had originally come from the gatehouse entry at East Harling, the country house which Lovell built in Norfolk. In 1985 it was moved to the Abbey Museum. The relief bust is surrounded by the Garter ribbon and motto and the outer modern frame is decorated with Tudor roses.

Lovell was born about 1449, son of Ralph Lovell. He studied law and later joined the revolt against Richard III. In 1485 he served in Henry VII's Parliament and became Chancellor in the same year. He was rewarded with the Order of the Garter in 1500 and held various posts under Henry VIII. His wife was Isabel, daughter of Thomas, Lord Ros but they had no children. Money was left to the children of his brother Sir Robert and to Francis, son of his cousin Sir Gregory. Thomas was buried at Holywell nunnery, Shoreditch in London but his tomb there was destroyed.

A photo of the medallion can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

The medallion will be on display in the new Jubilee Galleries at the Abbey due to open mid 2018.

Further reading:

"The bronze medallion in Henry VII chapel in Westminster Abbey" by Theodore Cook, Monthly Review xii no.35, 1903.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"Henry VII's new men and the making of Tudor England" by Steven Gunn, 2016, which has many references to Lovell.

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