Since 1528 Thomas Manning had been the last Prior at Butley (Suffolk). The Priory had been built by Ranulf de Glanville (1171). Above its massive gatehouse were carved the Arms of England and France, the Three Crowns of East Anglia and many other heraldic devices. Below these were the heraldic shields of many great East Anglian families,

At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII, the household list at the Priory included:

Thomas was consecrated by Archbishop Cranmer at Canterbury Cathedral (1539) as Suffragen Bishop of Ipswich, and he was also presented as Master of Raveningham College (Norfolk) by Charles Brandon, 4th DUKE OF SUFFOLK, in the right of his wife Catherine. Thomas Manning, as its Master, surrendered Raveningham College to the Crown (8th April 1542), and the College was then granted to Sir Anthony Denny (14th April 1542). Thomas was afterwards Master of the 14th Century Mettingham College (Suffolk).

The chief beneficiaries of Thomas Manning's will (made 21st February 1545-46, proved 6th August 1546) included:

John Haugefen, his nephew, to receive:

Manor in Chesylforde called Russhels with appurtenances [minor rights] in Chesylford, Wantysden, Orford or elsewhere in hundred of Plumesgate, Suffolk, late purchased of William Wallor gent, and all manner of lands, meadows, pastures, etc belonging, Lands and tenements etc in Westylton, free and copyhold, late purchased of Erasmus Henningham squire, and on Balye?, late of Dunwich.

The bequest was conditional that John Haugefen gives:

1. Sir Thomas Rowe, clerk, xl s [40s.] yearly for life, gown cloth, chamber, food etc.

2. Sir Wyllm Grymsbye, clerk, xj l xiij s iiij d [11. 13s. 4d.] yearly for life, or provides benefice of xx marks yearly. [20 marks was worth about 13. 13s. 4d. sterling]

Other beneficiaries included his nephew Thomas Broke who also received real estate, and Thomas Manning of Orforde the Younger. From all this it can be deduced that Thomas had been married to Catherine, that she had predeceased him, and that his only (quoted) close relatives at 1545 were three nephews, surnamed Broke, Haugefen, and Manning.