FRANCE

It is generally accepted that the Lucas family name originates from the Italian city of Luca* in Tuscany.  The suffix ‘S’ being a medieval indication or short hand meaning ‘son of’ meaning ‘from the city of’

Why the family or possibly one branch of the family moved over the border into France is unknown. We can only speculate. One reason could have been the advancing Moorish army which were already occupying south Italy and moving north. Being a stronger more unified county France may have seemed a safer place. We know they were established here before 1100.

The location at  DeChateauNeuf En- Boutieres was on the high ground overlooking the surrounding countryside. As Luca was renown for it’s fine weaving I assume the family were engaged in the cloth industry in some way.

Around 1150 a branch of the family travelled north as far a the channel coast and crossed into England. Many family members remained in Boutieres and there are records of some joining the crusades in the mid 1200’s

Why some crossed into England is unknown. Was it because the fairly recent annexing of England and Normandy, suggested fresh opportunities in a new country?

I am inclined to think there is a much more likely explanation. St Edmunds Abbey was during this period one of the most important pilgrimage site in the whole of the Christian world. The exact reason is unclear but maybe it was because they had a whole; intact body rather than an odd finger or fragment of wood that other Abbeys were claiming as relics. Did ‘our’ Lucas travel to Bury St Edmunds on a pilgrimage ? When he got here did he find the area was a major weaving and cloth producing centre and decided he could use his skills to  carve out a new life. He may have ideas that he could improve on the products being made here.


In the 1100’s the ferry from France to England cost 1d (one penny)** for an ordinary foot passenger. A knight with horse and armour cost 1 shilling.


The Lucas name has spread across the continent and importantly is more abundant in France than in the UK.


* The city was originally spelt with one ‘C’ (Luca). It was not until much later that it was spelt with 2 ’c’ (Lucca)


** 1 pence is equivalent in money terms to about £4 today. However in 1100 it was a day’s income for a peasant, so in real terms the cost is nearer £70 today