Sir William Lovelace of Bethersden (1561-1629) was a soldier, knighted in 1599 for his role in suppressing an Irish rebellion. He was also a stockholder of the Virginia Company, a Kent magistrate, and a Member of Parliament for Canterbury. His life began on an uneven financial footing and ended in penury.
The son of Serjeant Lovelace, he was only 15 when his father died and left him with substantial property but also lots of debts and lawsuits. Worst was a payment of £800 owed to Roger Manwood, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, tied to a lawsuit stemming from his father’s purchase of the Hospital of St. Lawrence in Canterbury. Manwood waited till after the Serjeant’s death to pounce. He did this despite having said at the time that “as the Serjeant was dead it was time their quarrels were forgotten.” Young Lovelace’s aunt, Margaret Cooke, pleaded with the Baron to settle the suit, as her nephew “was but young, fatherless and almost without friends.” Manwood replied “he might hang himself or sell his land” but clear the title he must.[...]