Sir Thomas Tresham (1543 – 11 September 1605) was a prominent recusant Catholic landowner in Elizabethan Northamptonshire. He died two years after the accession of James VI and I.
Tresham was brought up in the Throckmorton household. He inherited large estates in 1559 from his grandfather and namesake Thomas Tresham I, establishing him as a member of the Catholic elite. He was widely regarded as clever and well-educated, a correspondent of William Cecil, the Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, and Sir Christopher Hatton, the Lord Chancellor.
Well-read, Tresham dedicated much of his life to collecting books. He was picked as sheriff for Northamptonshire in 1573 and was knighted at the Queen's Royal Progress at Kenilworth in 1575. 1,800,000 in 2019) . These heavy financial demands were, in reality, overshadowed by the expense of his building projects and his insistence on making advantageous marriages for his six daughters, bringing with them sizeable dowries (£12,200). His credit was thus impaired, and the ill-advised involvement of his son, Francis, in the Earl of Essex's rebellion, cost him over £3,000. As a Catholic known for his connection to the Jesuit Edmund Campion, and who argued for an individual's right to act according to his conscience unmolested, he was tarred with the brush of disloyalty, a mark he fiercely rejected. Ultimately, his son Lewis successfully ate through what little family money was left.He frequently entertained large numbers of friends and acquaintances and pursued a successful reforming estate policy. His recusancy, Jesuit connections and arguments for the state's lack of jurisdiction in matters of conscience made him the subject of official attention, and he was imprisoned several times and fined heavily. At a time when Queen Elizabeth was anxious about the Catholic threat posed by Spain and by her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, Catholics were made targets for persecution by their spiritual loyalty to another temporal power (the Pope, and consequently, in the view of Protestants, the Catholic King of Spain). Between 1581 and 1605, Tresham paid penalties totalling just under £8,000. (equivalent to £
He left three notable buildings in Northamptonshire, the extraordinary Rushton Triangular Lodge and the unfinished Lyveden New Bield, both of which embody the strength of his faith. The Triangular Lodge bears witness to Tresham's fidelity to the doctrine of the Trinity. There was also a more personal connection: above the door we find the inscription 'Tres testimonium dant' ('the three bear witness', or, perhaps, 'Tres bears witness'). 'Tres' may be a moment of self-reference; it was his wife's pet name for him. 2,470,000 in 2019) .Tresham himself was the architect of these designs, and the extant family papers in the British Library reveal some of his plans. His sense of civic responsibility in local society, occasioned by his gentility and the expectations of his rank and family practice, led him to begin building the Market House at Rothwell in 1577, thought to be a sessions house and decorated with the arms of other local families. Sir Thomas was a considerable landowner at his death in 1605, but his estate had £11,000 of debt (equivalent to £
In 1566, he married Muriel, a daughter of Sir Robert Throckmorton and Elizabeth Hussey. The Throckmorton family was a wealthy Catholic family from Coughton Court in Warwickshire and Tresham had been Sir Robert's ward. Muriel Tresham once wrote to the Countess of Bedford for her help, as a "lowly wife on my knees with importunacy."
Thomas and Muriel had eleven children, including;
His elder son, Francis, inherited the titles, estate, and debt, and became embroiled in the Gunpowder Plot later that year along with his cousins Robert Catesby and Thomas Wintour. Imprisoned for his actions, Francis met an early death from natural causes in December 1605, avoiding certain execution. Nevertheless, he was decapitated after his death and his head displayed as that of a notorious traitor. His role in the Plot has been the subject of debate by historians and it has been largely accepted that he was the author of the famous 'Mounteagle Letter'. However widely agreed his authorship of the letter to his relative, it remains conjectural.
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.
Robert Catesby was the leader of a group of English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
The Triangular Lodge is a folly, designed by Sir Thomas Tresham and constructed between 1593 and 1597 near Rushton, Northamptonshire, England. It is now in the care of English Heritage. The stone used for the construction was alternating bands of dark and light limestone.
Francis Tresham, eldest son of Thomas Tresham and Merial Throckmorton, was a member of the group of English provincial Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a conspiracy to assassinate King James I of England.
William Parker, 13th Baron Morley, 4th Baron Monteagle was an English peer, best known for his role in the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. In 1605 Parker was due to attend the opening of Parliament. He was a member of the House of Lords as Lord Monteagle, the title on his mother's side. He received a letter: it appears that someone, presumably a fellow Catholic, was afraid he would be blown up. The so-called Monteagle letter survives in the National Archives, but its origin remains mysterious.
Sir Thomas Tresham was a leading Catholic politician during the middle of the Tudor dynasty in England.
Lyveden New Bield is an unfinished Elizabethan summer house in the parish of Aldwincle in East Northamptonshire, England, owned by the National Trust. It is a Grade I listed building, classing it as a 'building of exceptional interest.'
Edward Arden was an English nobleman and head of the Arden family, who became a Catholic martyr.
The 1583 Throckmorton Plot was one of a series of attempts by English Roman Catholics to depose Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, then held under house arrest in England.
Edward Stourton, 10th Baron Stourton was a younger son of Charles Stourton, 8th Baron Stourton and Lady Anne Stanley, daughter of Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby. His father was executed for murder in 1557. He succeeded his brother John in 1588.
William Vaux, 3rd Baron Vaux of Harrowden was an English peer. He was noted for his Roman Catholic faith and support of Catholic missionary activity.
Sir Robert Throckmorton, KG, of Coughton Court in Warwickshire, was a Member of Parliament and a distinguished English courtier. His public career was impeded by being a Roman Catholic.
Elizabeth FitzHugh was an English noblewoman. She is best known for being the grandmother of Catherine Parr, sixth queen consort to Henry VIII, and her siblings Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, and William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton.
Henry Vaux was an English recusant, priest smuggler, and poet during the reign of Elizabeth I. He was born the eldest child of William Vaux, 3rd Baron Vaux of Harrowden, and his first wife, Elizabeth Beaumont, daughter of John Beaumont of Grace Dieu, Leicester. Both Henry Vaux's parents came from traditionally Catholic families.
Rushton Hall in Rushton, Northamptonshire, England, was the ancestral home of the Tresham family from 1438, when William Tresham bought the estate. In the 20th century the house became a private school and it has now been converted to a luxury hotel. The estate is about 227 acres (92 ha) of which 30 acres (12 ha) are formal gardens. The River Ise flows from west to east south of the Hall.
John Arundell, of Lanherne, St. Mawgan-in-Pyder, Cornwall, was an English politician. He was a noted recusant, and a close associate of the Catholic martyr Cuthbert Mayne.
Thomas Throckmorton was an English politician, a Member (MP) of the Parliament of England for Warwickshire in 1558 and Warwick in 1559. He spent much of his life undergoing fines and long periods of imprisonment for recusancy. He resided primarily at Weston Underwood, Buckinghamshire.
Thomas Brudenell, 1st Earl of Cardigan, known as Sir Thomas Brudenell, Bt, between 1611 and 1628 and as The Lord Brudenell between 1628 and 1661, was an English peer and Royalist soldier.
Sir Charles Arundell, was an English gentleman, lord of the manor of South Petherton, Somerset, notable as an early Roman Catholic recusant and later as a leader of the English exiles in France. He has been suggested as the author of Leicester's Commonwealth, an anonymous work which attacked Queen Elizabeth's favourite, the Earl of Leicester.