Robert Throckmorton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people with the same name, see Robert Throckmorton (disambiguation).
"Sr. Robert Throgmorton", Sir Robert Throckmorton (1513-1581). He holds a skull in his right hand. 16th century. English. Throckmorton Collection, Coughton Court, Warwickshire. Property of the National Trust, NTPL Ref. No.153605

Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton Court, Warwickshire, MP, KG (c. 1513 – 12 February 1581) was a distinguished English Tudor courtier. His public career was impeded by being a Roman Catholic.


Born by 1513, Robert Throckmorton was the eldest son and heir of Sir George Throckmorton (d.1552) by Katherine Vaux, daughter of Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (d.1523). He had several brothers, the most notable being, in descending seniority: Sir Kenelm Throckmorton, Sir Clement Throckmorton MP, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (1515-1571), Thomas, Sir John Throckmorton (1524-1580), Anthony and George.


Robert Throckmorton may have trained at the Middle Temple, the inn attended by his father. At least three of his younger brothers and his own eldest son studied at Middle Temple, but as the heir to extensive estates he had little need to seek a career at court or in government. He was joined with his father in several stewardships from 1527 and was perhaps the servant of Robert Tyrwhitt, a distant relative by marriage of the Throckmortons, who in 1540 took an inventory of Cromwell's goods at Mortlake. He attended the reception of Anne of Cleves and with several of his brothers served in the French war of 1544. Three years later he was placed on the Warwickshire bench and in 1553 was appointed High Sheriff of Warwickshire. He was also elected as a knight of the shire (MP) for Warwickshire in 1553 and 1555. Three of his brothers also sat for Parliament, Nicholas as knight of the shire for Northamptonshire.

Throckmorton's role in the succession crisis of 1553 is unknown, but his standing with Queen Mary is shown by her reputed answer to the news of Edward VI's death sent her by four of his brothers: ‘If Robert had been there she durst have gaged her life and hazarded the hap’.

In the autumn of 1553, Throckmorton was knighted and appointed constable of Warwick Castle. He continued to sit as MP for the shire until 1558, when he gave way to his eldest son, Thomas.


His Catholicism explains his disappearance from the Commons in the new reign, although the most Catholic of his brothers, Anthony Throckmorton, was to sit in the Parliament of 1563. Judged an ‘adversary of true religion’ in 1564, Throckmorton remained active in Warwickshire until his refusal to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity led to his removal from the commission of the peace.

In 1577, the Bishop of Worcester, John Whitgift, listed Throckmorton as a Catholic and reckoned him to be worth 1,000 marks a year in lands and £1,000 in goods.


Sir Robert Throckmorton's mother was the daughter of Elizabeth FitzHugh, mother of Sir Thomas Parr, by her first marriage to William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal. This connection made Throckmorton a first cousin to queen consort Catherine Parr and her brother William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton.

Throckmorton continued the family in the Catholic tradition. He married his children into the leading Catholic families, and in these generations the increased persecution of the Catholic spawned many relatives who became involved in plots against the throne. The sons of his daughters Anne and Muriel, were Robert Catesby and Francis Tresham of 'Gunpowder Plot' infamy; and a third daughter Mary was married to Edward Arden, who was also convicted of treason and executed for his part in a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth in 1583.

Mary kept an excellent record of a woman persecuted for recusancy, documenting the fines and searches made at Coughton Court, that is still in the family archives. A nephew, Francis Throckmorton, was executed in 1584 for acting as a go-between for Mary, Queen of Scots and the Spanish Ambassador in an attempt to invade England and place Mary on the throne. A niece Elizabeth; also known as Bess, the daughter of Sir Nicholas, and lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, also got into trouble by secretly marrying Sir Walter Raleigh.

Death and Burial[edit]

He died on 12 February 1581, six days after making a will in which he styled himself of Weston Underwood, Buckinghamshire but asked to be buried at Coughton, where an alabaster and marble tomb was accordingly erected to his memory: there is a portrait at Coughton Court. He named as executors his eldest son Thomas, and his sons-in-law Sir John Goodwin and Ralph Sheldon, and as overseers another son-in-law Sir Thomas Tresham and his ‘loving friend’ Edmund Plowden.[1] [2]

Marriages and issue[edit]

Throckmorton married firstly, about 1527,[citation needed] Muriel Berkeley (d.1542), the daughter of Thomas Berkeley, 5th Baron Berkeley (1472-1533), by his first wife, Eleanor Constable (c.1485-1527), daughter of Sir Sir Marmaduke Constable, by whom he had a son and four daughters:[3][4]

Throckmorton married secondly, in about 1542, Elizabeth Hussey (c. 1510-23 Jan 1554), widow of Walter Hungerford, 1st Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury (d.1540), by whom she had been notoriously ill-treated, daughter of John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford (1465-1537) by his second wife, Lady Anne Grey (c. 1490-after. 1537), by whom he had four daughters:[3][4]


  1. ^ History of Parliament, The volumes either published or in preparation cover the House of Commons from 1386 to 1868 and the House of Lords from 1660 to 1832.
  2. ^ Tudor Place[unreliable source], Biography of Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton
  3. ^ a b G.E.; with Gibbs, Vicary; Doubleday, H.A.; White, Geoffrey H.; Warrand, Duncan; and Walden, Lord Howard de, editors. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 13.
  4. ^ a b Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 105th edition, London, U.K. Burke's Peerage Ltd, 1970, page 2643.
  5. ^ Winchendon could be either one of the modern neighbouring villages of Nether Winchendon and Upper Winchendon; or, the distinction between them may not have existed at the time.
  6. ^ Wizeman 2004.
  7. ^ Nicholls 2004.


Parliament of England
Preceded by
Member of Parliament of England
Succeeded by