Early Modern period

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1534 the Manor of Lawshall, including Lawshall Hall, was granted to John Rither for 13 years and then in 1547 was sold to Sir William Drury. The Drurys of Hawstead were a very important family in the district and over the years several members of the family had distinguished connections with the Royal Family. It is possible that these connections brought about the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to Lawshall in 1578.

Queen Elizabeth I visited Henry Drury at Lawshall Hall during her "Royal Progress" tour in August 1578. The Queen was travelling from Long Melford and after dining at Lawshall Hall with some of the Drury family continued to Hawstead where she was entertained by Sir William Drury. One can imagine the "the great rejoycing of ye said Parish" as she made her awy through the entire length of the village. For the small village of Lawshall, this would have indeed been a day to remember.

In June 1563 there was a controversial double wedding. The first marriage united the Catholic Rookwood and Protestant Drury families and the second marriage was between Elizabeth Drury of Lawshall and Robert Drury of Hawstead. It is interesting to note that 30 years later Elizabeth is named on the list of Papist recusants who had refused to attend Church of England services.

Ambrose Rookwood of Coldham Hall was involved in the Catholic conspiracy to blow up King James I and his Parliament. Rookwood had one of the finest studs of horses in the country and was invited to join the Gunpowder Plot conspiracy as his horses might be necessary to facilitate a swift retreat. In November 1605 he was arrested and subsequently imprisoned in the Tower of London before his execution on 31 January 1606.

A map was completed in 1611 for Sir Henry Lee, Lord of the Manor, which provides a detailed picture of the demesne and also the copyhold tenants' land and their houses. Documentary evidence recorded in the seventeenth century included the Hearth Tax records of 1674 which give the name and occupier of every house in the village and the number of hearths that each house contained. Another document of the same period is the Compton Census of 1676 which was a survey of non-conformists.

Lawshall had its own gallows and workhouse. The Abbot of St Edmunds claimed 'right of gallows' in Lawshall. It is possible that, as this right was also claimed by the lords of the neighbouring parishes of Shimpling and Hartest, this duty was shared by one gibbet, situated in the area of Ashen Wood where the three parishes met. The workhouse is recorded as having 20 inmates in 1776.


1. Lawshall Village Appraisal Group, ed. (1991). Lawshall: Past, Present and Future – An Appraisal. Appraisal Group.
2. Mel Birch, ed. (2004). Suffolk's Ancient Sites - Historic Places. Mendlesham, Suffolk: Castell Publishing. p. 239. ISBN 094813450X.