Son of Ralph Lovell of Beachamwell, Norfolk. Studied Law at Lincoln's Inn and practised in Norfolk. Joined revolt against Richard III in 1483. In 1485 he served as Speaker of the House of Commons in Henry VII's first Parliament, and in the same year was made Treasurer of the King's Chamber and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was a leading councillor of both Henry VII and Henry VIII. He fought for Henry VII and the Battle of Stoke Field (1487), in France (1492), and in putting down the Cornish Rebellion (1497). In Henry VIII's wars of 1511-1514 he supervised the procurement of artillery and the fortification of Calais. Other offices held included: Treasurer of the King's Household (1503); Lieutenant of the Tower of London (1513), and Steward of the Universities of Oxford (1507) and Cambridge (1509).