Thame Local History
The Reformation Period (1531 - 1559)

The Reformation of the English Church and Dissolution of the Monasteries were to have a profound effect on Thame Church and Thame Park.

In 1537 John Stribblehill and his father Thomas, two leading church wardens and supporters of King Henry VIII's policy towards the Church, made a complaint to their fellow churchwardens about the remarks of one Robert Johns.

Johns had been heard to suggest that the parish jewels be sold in order to repair the church, which was in a state of decay, before Henry confiscated them.

Thame Abbey was dissolved in 1539, along with all other monastic foundations in England. The lands belonging to the Abbey were shortly afterwards given to Sir John Williams.

The choir stalls and linenfold panelling, perhaps those provided by King Henry III in the thirteenth century, were removed to Thame Church in 1540.

In 1539, Sir John Williams also acquired Rycote Palace from Sir Giles Heron, the son of Sir John Heron who had bought it in 1521.

King Henry VIII spent part of his honeymoon with his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, at Rycote Palace in 1540.

In 1541 Robert King, brother-in-law to Sir John Williams and last Abbot of Thame Park, for whom Sir John Williams had secured the position of Abbot of Osney in 1537, became Bishop of Thame and Osney.

In 1545 Robert King was appointed first Bishop of Oxford, initially based at Osney. The see of Thame and Osney lapsed.

In 1543 a clock is first recorded in Thame market hall, when the churwardens paid 5 shillings to repair it. Thame's ancient wooden market cross was reportedly taken down in 1553.

Henry VIII died in 1547 and it was during the reign of his infant son, Edward VI (1547-1553), that the manor and prebend of Thame were relinquished by the Bishop of Lincoln, Henry Holbeach, and given to the King.

The manor of Thame was passed on to Sir John Williams and the prebend to Sir John Thynne.

Sir John Williams was seemingly an unpopular landlord, and in 1549 the people rose up and killed the deer in Rycote Park and Thame Park. In the same year two men were ordered to 'suffer at Thame' for their part in a revolt in Oxfordshire against the religious changes made by Henry VIII.

Sir John Williams was instrumental in facilitating the accession to the throne of Queen Mary (1553 - 1558), and became Baron Williams of Thame during her reign.

He was also President of the Council of the Marches of Wales, being of Welsh origin himself, and it was whilst at Ludlow Castle in 1559 that Baron Williams of Thame died. He was succeeded as the President of the Council of the Marches of Wales by Sir Henry Sidney, father of Sir Philip Sidney.

John Williams' body was brought back to Thame and lies in St Mary's Church.

The dissolution of Thame Park

Sir John Williams

Robert King

The market hall

            Home   |   Contents   |   This Site   |   Contacts   |   Email
  Local History Research Group
  Thame, Oxfordshire, England