Nicholas Throckmorton

Last updated
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, by unknown artist, c. 1562, National Portrait Gallery, London. NPG 3800 Sir Nicholas Throckmorton from NPG.jpg
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, by unknown artist, c. 1562, National Portrait Gallery, London. NPG 3800
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (1515-1571) An(no) Aetatis Suae 49 ("in the 49th year of his age", i.e. 1564). English, 16th-century Throckmorton Collection, Coughton Court, Warwickshire, Property of the National Trust, NTPL Ref. No. 153603 NicholasThrockmortonD1571.png
Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (1515–1571) An(no) Aetatis Suae 49 ("in the 49th year of his age", i.e. 1564). English, 16th-century Throckmorton Collection, Coughton Court, Warwickshire, Property of the National Trust, NTPL Ref. No. 153603

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (or Throgmorton) (c. 1515/1516 – 12 February 1571) was an English diplomat and politician, who was an ambassador to France and later Scotland, and played a key role in the relationship between Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Contents

Early years

Nicholas Throckmorton was the fourth of eight sons of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court, near Alcester in Warwickshire and Katherine, daughter of Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden and Elizabeth FitzHugh, the former Lady Parr. [1] [2] Nicholas was an uncle of the conspirator Francis Throckmorton. He was brought up in the households of members of the Parr family, including that of his cousin Catherine Parr, the last queen consort of Henry VIII. He got acquainted with young Lady Elizabeth when he was serving in the household of the dowager queen and her new husband Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley and became a close confidant.[ citation needed ] In his youth, he also became favourable to the Protestant Reformation. [3]

After the execution of Lord Thomas Seymour in 1549 and the downfall of Protector Somerset later in the year, Throckmorton managed to distance himself from those affairs and eventually became the part of the circle of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland and confidant of the young king Edward VI.

He sat in Parliament from 1545 to 1567, initially as the member for Maldon and then from 1547 for Devizes (a seat previously held by his brother Clement Throckmorton). During the reign of Edward VI, he was in high favour with the regents.

In 1547, he was present at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh during the invasion of Scotland. He was knighted in 1551, and the title included numerous benefits, including land grants, that gave him financial security. He held the post of under-treasurer at the Tower mint from 1549 to 1552. In March 1553, he was elected knight of the shire for Northamptonshire and then MP for Old Sarum (Nov 1553), Lyme Regis (1559) and Tavistock (1563).

Tudor successions

During the short-lived attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne after the death of Edward VI in 1553, Throckmorton tried to keep contact with both supporters of both her and Queen Mary I. Eventually, he began to support the latter.

However, in January 1554, he was suspected of complicity in Wyatt's Rebellion and arrested. Later historians[ who? ] have suspected he was at least involved, either because of his Protestantism or due to his dismay at the growing Spanish influence in the court. [3]

Throckmorton was brought to trial at the Guildhall on 17 April 1554. He managed to convince the jury, which included Simon Lowe alias Fyfield, of his innocence, although the judges were openly hostile to him. They included Sir Roger Cholmeley, who was trying to impress Queen Mary. As a result of the verdict, the court fined and imprisoned the jury and sent Throckmorton to the Tower. [4] When he was released the next year, he fled to exile in France. Though people wanted to put him on trial again, he was pardoned in 1557, and was employed by Queen Mary. [3]

Elizabeth's court

Ambassador to France

After Elizabeth's accession in November 1558, Throckmorton rose rapidly into favour because of his personal acquaintance with her. He sent her advice on the formation of her government, some of which she followed and from May 1559 to April 1564, he was ambassador to France. He was appointed both Chief Butler of England and Chamberlain of the Exchequer in 1564 for life. He continued to send letters and messengers with advice to the Queen and she often took his advice. [3]

Throckmorton acknowledged that Elizabeth had a central and active role in government, and August 1560 he wrote to Elizabeth that peace between England and Scotland "dothe cheffely depend uppon your majesties order & conducte." [5] During these years in France, Throckmorton became acquainted with Mary, Queen of Scots. He conducted the negotiations with the English court regarding her travel arrangements when she decided to return to Scotland from France. Though he supported the Reformation, he became her close friend, willing to assist her, and do her personal favours. [3]

As an ambassador, Throckmorton encouraged Elizabeth to aid the Huguenots, and he surreptitiously took a part in the war of religion. Throckmorton was allowed leave from his duties in October 1559 to visit his sick wife in England. Henry Killigrew was left as his deputy. When Throckmorton returned to France in 1560, the Roman Catholic leader Francis, Duke of Guise imprisoned him as a persona non grata . Guise was convinced that Throckmorton had been involved with the Tumult of Amboise, a Huguenot plot. Throckmorton later remarked that he was afraid he would be killed, but he was released and retained his post as an ambassador. [3]

In 1562, when religious violence began to intensify in France, Throckmorton wanted to support the mediation efforts of Catherine de' Medici. Later in 1562, when the Huguenot Prince of Condé had taken over Newhaven (modern-day Le Havre) in April, Throckmorton convinced the Queen to send military aid to the Huguenots in what was later called the Newhaven expedition. English troops garrisoned Le Havre in October 1562, but soon fell afoul of the Huguenots and, after the negotiations, the Huguenots turned against the English. After an outbreak of plague, they had to surrender the next year. Catherine de' Medici was suspicious of Throckmorton's schemes, however, and when Elizabeth sent him to negotiate with her in 1563, she placed him under house arrest. Elizabeth sent Sir Thomas Smith to negotiate his release. The two men soon began to dislike each other and in one stage almost came to blows, but Throckmorton was eventually released in 1564.

Envoy to Mary, Queen of Scots

After Throckmorton's return to England, the Queen sent him as an ambassador to Scotland in May 1565. His mission was to prevent the marriage of Queen Mary and Darnley, but he failed. After the murder of Darnley, Elizabeth sent Throckmorton to Scotland in June 1567. The Scottish lords had rebelled and captured Mary at Carberry Hill, and Elizabeth wished the lords to restore Mary to her authority. Throckmorton himself had recommended that Elizabeth should support the lords. [3] On 25 July, William Maitland of Lethington came to see Throckmorton.

As instructed by Elizabeth, Throckmorton asked Lethington if the plan was to restore Mary to the throne.

If so, Elizabeth promised to help prosecute Darnley's murder and preserve Prince James. Throckmorton recorded Lethington's personal answer, which outlined that English interference was not welcome at this time, and might even be counterproductive, and Throckmorton would not be allowed to see Mary;

"Being in place to knowe more than you can knowe, I saye unto yowe ..., in case you doe on the Quenes majesties behalf your mestris, presse this company to enlarge the Quene my soveraigne, and to suffer you to goe unto her (at Lochleven Castle), or doe use any thretnynge speache in those matters, the rather to compasse them (rather than achieve them), I assure you, you wyll put the Quene my soveraigne in greate jeopardye of her lyffe: and therefore there is none other waye for the present to do her good but to give place and use mildness." [6]

Elizabeth repeated her instructions to Throckmorton by letter on 27 July 1567. Elizabeth told Throckmorton he should argue that the lords had deposed Mary against scriptural law, citing Paul's letter to the Romans. Elizabeth noted that as she planned not to send financial aid to the rebel lords, there was a risk they might renew the Auld Alliance with France. Throckmorton was not to give confirmation to the rebellion by attending the coronation of the infant Prince James. [7]

Throckmorton was working against his own advice and had contradictory orders from both his Queen and Sir William Cecil. The Scottish lords knew him as a friend of Mary and as a supporter of her claim to be a successor to Elizabeth, so he was an unwelcome guest. Some of Elizabeth's messages also offended the lords. Throckmorton was recalled in August after he offended Elizabeth by showing his instructions to the Scottish lords. [3]

In 1569, Throckmorton was suspected of involvement in the Duke of Norfolk's conspiracy in favour of Mary, and was imprisoned for a time at Windsor. Throckmorton may have erroneously believed Norfolk's idea would suit the wishes of the Queen. He was not put to trial, but did not regain the Queen's confidence afterwards.

Throckmorton's monument in St Katharine Cree parish church, London St Katharine Cree, Leadenhall Street, London EC3 - Monument - geograph.org.uk - 1085139.jpg
Throckmorton's monument in St Katharine Cree parish church, London

Throckmorton died on 12 February 1571. He is buried in St Katharine Cree parish church, Leadenhall Street, London.

Family and legacy

Throckmorton married Anne Carew, daughter of Sir Nicholas Carew, a Knight of the Garter and his wife Elizabeth Bryan, and they had 10 sons and three daughters. Their daughter Elizabeth became the wife of Sir Walter Raleigh. [3] After his death, Anne married Adrian Stokes, the second husband, and former Master of Horse of, Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk.

Contemporary political figures regarded Throckmorton with respect. One of these was Sir Francis Walsingham who had worked with Throckmorton in France. In 1560 William Cecil said he would be prepared to resign if Throckmorton would take his place and spoke well of him after his death, in spite of their constant disagreements. Some contemporaries also suspected Throckmorton was the éminence grise behind Robert Dudley.

At the time of his death, Throckmorton held the posts of the keeper of Brigstock Park, Northamptonshire; Justice of the Peace in Northamptonshire; and Chief Butler of England and Wales. London's Throgmorton Street is named after him.

Notes

  1. Harrison, Bruce R.; The Family Forest Descendants of Lady Joan Beaufort p. 64
  2. Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham. Magna Carta ancestry: a study in colonial and medieval families. pg 639.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Chisholm 1911.
  4. T.B. Howell (ed.), (Cobbett's) A Complete Collection of State Trials, Vol. I (Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, London 1816), pp. 869 ff..
  5. V. Smith, 'Perspectives on Female Monarchy', in J. Daybell & S. Norrhem, Gender and Political Culture in Early Modern Europe (Abingdon, 2017), 145.
  6. Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol.2 (1900), p.363
  7. Reports on various collections: Robert Mordaunt Hay of Duns Castle, HMC (1909), p.96-99, Romans, xiii. 1-7

Related Research Articles

Mary, Queen of Scots 16th-century Scottish ruler and queen consort of France

Mary, Queen of Scots, also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland, reigned over Scotland from 14 December 1542 to 24 July 1567.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley King consort of Scotland

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley was the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. From his marriage in 1565, he was king consort of Scotland. He was created Duke of Albany shortly before his marriage. Less than a year after the birth of his and Mary's only child, King James VI of Scotland and I of England, Darnley was murdered at Kirk o' Field in 1567. Many contemporary narratives describing his life and death refer to him as Lord Darnley, his title as heir apparent to the Earldom of Lennox, and it is by this appellation that he is known in history. On his mother's side he was a great-grandson of King Henry VII of England.

James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell

James Hepburn, 1st Duke of Orkney and 4th Earl of Bothwell, was a prominent Scottish nobleman. He was known for his association with, abduction of, and marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, as her third and final husband. He was accused of the murder of Mary's second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, a charge of which he was acquitted. His marriage to Mary was controversial and divided the country; when he fled the growing rebellion to Scandinavia to Norway to try to restart a relation ship with a woman called Anna Thorensen, from Hardanger he was arrested because of breach of promise to her before he married Mary, she had a home in the North of England and was friends with Mary, she returned to Norway after he smited her. He was found guilty and banished so lived the rest of his life imprisoned in Denmark.

David Rizzio

David Rizzio, sometimes written as David Riccio, was an Italian courtier, born close to Turin, a descendant of an ancient and noble family still living in Piedmont, the Riccio Counts di San Paolo e Solbrito, who rose to become the private secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary's husband, Lord Darnley, is said to have been jealous of their friendship because of rumours that Rizzio had impregnated Mary, and he joined in a conspiracy of Protestant nobles to murder him, led by Patrick Ruthven, 3rd Lord Ruthven. Mary was having dinner with Rizzio and a few ladies-in-waiting when Darnley joined them, accused his wife of adultery and then had a group murder Rizzio, who was hiding behind Mary. Mary was held at gunpoint and Rizzio was stabbed numerous times. His body took 57 dagger wounds. The murder was the catalyst of the downfall of Darnley, and had serious consequences for Mary's subsequent reign.

Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland

Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland, 2nd Baron Percy was an English nobleman and conspirator.

Francis Throckmorton

Sir Francis Throckmorton was a conspirator against Queen Elizabeth I of England in the Throckmorton Plot.

William Maitland of Lethington

William Maitland of Lethington was a Scottish politician and reformer, and the eldest son of poet Richard Maitland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews.

Casket letters Supposed writings by Mary, Queen of Scots

The Casket letters were eight letters and some sonnets said to have been written by Mary, Queen of Scots, to the Earl of Bothwell, between January and April 1567. They were produced as evidence against Queen Mary by the Scottish lords who opposed her rule. In particular, the text of the letters was taken to imply that Queen Mary colluded with Bothwell in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley. Mary's contemporary supporters, including Adam Blackwood, dismissed them as complete forgeries or letters written by the Queen's servant Mary Beaton. The authenticity of the letters, now known only by copies, continues to be debated. Some historians argue that they were forgeries concocted in order to discredit Queen Mary and ensure that Queen Elizabeth I supported the kingship of the infant James VI of Scotland, rather than his mother. The historian John Hungerford Pollen, in 1901, by comparing two genuine letters drafted by Mary, presented a subtle argument that the various surviving copies and translations of the casket letters could not be used as evidence of their original authorship by Mary.

Mary Beaton

Mary Beaton (1543–1598) was a Scottish noblewoman and an attendant of Mary, Queen of Scots. She and three other ladies-in-waiting were collectively known as "The Four Marys".

Archibald Douglas, Parson of Douglas, was also Parson of Glasgow, a Senator of the College of Justice, Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I of England, and a notorious intriguer.

Murder of Lord Darnley

The murder of Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, took place on 10 February 1567 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Darnley's lodgings were destroyed by gunpowder; his body and that of his servant were found nearby, apparently having been strangled rather than killed in the explosion. Suspicion was placed upon Queen Mary and the Earl of Bothwell, who Mary went on to marry three months after Darnley's murder. Bothwell was indicted for treason and acquitted, but six of his servants and acquaintances were subsequently arrested, tried, and executed for the crime.

Thomas Randolph (1523–1590) was an English ambassador serving Elizabeth I of England. Most of his professional life he spent in Scotland at the courts of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son James VI. While in Scotland, he was embroiled in marriage projects and several upheavals. In 1568-1569 he was sent on a special embassy to Russia, visiting the court of Ivan the Terrible.

The Battle of Carberry Hill took place on 15 June 1567, near Musselburgh, East Lothian, a few miles east of Edinburgh, Scotland. A number of Scottish lords objected to the rule of Mary, Queen of Scots after she had married the Earl of Bothwell, who was widely believed to have murdered her previous husband Lord Darnley. The Lords were intent to avenge Darnley's death. However, Bothwell escaped from the stand-off at Carberry while Queen Mary surrendered. Mary abdicated, escaped from prison, and was defeated at the battle of Langside. She went to exile in England while her supporters continued a civil war in Scotland.

Treaty of Berwick (1560) 1510 tty between Scottish nobles and England

The Treaty of Berwick was negotiated on 27 February 1560 at Berwick-upon-Tweed. It was an agreement made by the representative of Queen Elizabeth I of England, the Duke of Norfolk, and the group of rebellious nobles known as the Scottish Lords of the Congregation. The purpose was to agree the terms under which an English fleet and army would come to Scotland to expel the French troops who were defending the Regency of Mary of Guise. The Lords were trying both to expel the French and to effect the Scottish Reformation, and this led to rioting and armed conflict.

Henry Killigrew (diplomat)

Sir Henry Killigrew was a Cornish diplomat and an ambassador for the Kingdom of England in the sixteenth century. He was several times employed by Elizabeth I in Scottish affairs and served as one of the English appointees to the Council of State of the Netherlands in the United Provinces in 1586 and 1587–1589. He served as a Member of Parliament for Newport & Launceston in 1553, for Saltash in 1563, and for Truro in 1571–2.

John Elder was a Scottish cartographer and writer. He was the tutor of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley in England.

George Seton, 7th Lord Seton

George Seton V, 7th Lord Seton (1531–1586) was a Lord of the Parliament of Scotland, Master of the Household of Mary, Queen of Scots and Provost of Edinburgh. He was the eldest son of George Seton, 6th Lord Seton and Elizabeth Hay, a daughter of John Hay, 3rd Lord Hay of Yester. His childhood and schooling were in France.

Bastian Pagez

Bastian Pagez was a French servant and musician at the court of Mary, Queen of Scots. He devised part of the entertainment at the baptism of Prince James at Stirling Castle in 1566. When Mary was exiled in England, Bastian and his family continued in her service. The 19th-century historian Agnes Strickland considered his court role as equivalent to the English Master of the Revels; in England he was Mary's chamber valet and designed her embroidery patterns.

Robert Melville, 1st Lord Melville was a Scottish diplomat, administrator, jurist, and intriguer, and uncle of the poet Elizabeth Melville.

William Murray of Tullibardine, was a Scottish courtier and leader of the Clan Murray.

References