Guild of One Name Studies
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The Docwra coat of arms

Grand Prior Thomas Docwra

One of the most famous members of the family was Prior Thomas Docwra, who was the Grand Prior of the Order of St John of Jerusalem [Knights' Hospitallers] from 1501 until his death in 1527.


Sir Thomas DOCWRA was appointed Prior of Dinmore about 1486. On 6 August 1501 he was appointed Grand Prior of England. He was head of the Order in England, after having served as the Order's Turcopolier and been one of the English Knights Hospitallers who survived the First Siege of Rhodes in 1480.


The Grand Prior held the place of premier baron of England and was close to both Kings Henry VII and VIII. He was often used by the latter as the King's Messenger and was one of the nobles who accompanied Henry to the meeting with the King of France, at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, in 1520.


His lasting monument - the massive stone gateway which is almost all that remains of the Priory of St John at Clerkenwell - rebuilt in 1504 by Thomas after its destruction by rioters, still stands in London.

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