6 AUGUST 1552: THE DEATH of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton

The Tudor gate at Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England. Commissioned by Sir George.

The Tudor gate at Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England. Commissioned by Sir George. [Source: National Trust Coughton Court]

6 AUGUST 1552: THE DEATH of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court [uncle by marriage and cousin]. George was the eldest son of Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton by Catherine, daughter of William Marrow. Sir Robert Throckmorton was a courtier and Councillor to Henry VII. Before his death, in Italy while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Sir Robert had seen George launched at court and in local government and in enjoyment of numerous leases and stewardships. This early advancement may have owed something to Throckmorton’s marriage to a daughter of another courtier, Sir Nicholas Vaux, whose stepson Sir Thomas Parr, comptroller of the Household to Henry VIII.

George was a loyal subject to the crown, however when it came to Henry’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon he opposed it. He did not approve of Henry marrying Anne Boleyn and was vocal about it. After all, he was close to Sir Thomas More and the Throckmorton was a devout Catholic family [still are to this day]. George’s circle included supporters of Katherine of Aragon which included Lady Maud Parr, his sister-in-law [wife to Sir Thomas Parr, brother of his wife Katherine]. Maud stayed with her mistress until her death in 1531.

Later on, George was steward from 1528-40 for Thomas Seymour, [later Baron Seymour of Sudeley]. The marriage of Katherine Parr to King Henry VIII in 1543 proved helpful to his children, but George was still in disfavor at court. George was part of the fall of Thomas Cromwell, but his part in it is obscure. Cromwell had somewhat kept George in disfavor for quite some time. The two clashed on religious ideals and other matters of state. The Throckmortons who had converted to Protestantism were held high at court and helped out their cousin Katherine Parr during her reign as queen and as dowager queen. Several Throckmortons did stick to the “old” religion and later found themselves in trouble during the reign of Elizabeth I [daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn].

Family

By 1512, George married Katherine, daughter of Sir Nicholas Vaux [later 1st Lord Vaux of Harrowden] and his first wife, Elizabeth FitzHugh. Elizabeth FitzHugh was the paternal grandmother of Queen Katherine Parr; daughter of Lady Alice FitzHugh [born Neville, granddaughter of Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland]. The couple had eight sons including Anthony, Clement, George, John I, Kenelm, Nicholas and Robert and eleven daughters.

Tomb of Sir George and his wife Katherine [Vaux] in St. Peter's Church, Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England.

Tomb of Sir George and his wife Katherine [Vaux] in Coughton Church, Warwickshire, England.

Throckmorton died on 6 August 1552 and was buried in the stately marble tomb which he had prepared for himself in Coughton church. The most impressive monument which he left, however, was the gatehouse of Coughton court. Throckmorton spent most of his life rebuilding the house: in 1535 he wrote to Cromwell that he and his wife had lived in Buckinghamshire for most of the year, ‘for great part of my house here is taken down’. In 1549, when he was planning the windows in the great hall, he asked his son Nicholas to obtain from the heralds the correct trickling of the arms of his ancestors’ wives and his own cousin [and niece by marriage] Queen Katherine Parr. The costly recusancy of Robert Throckmorton and his heirs kept down later rebuilding, so that much of the house still stands largely as he left it.

Wenceslas Hollar's depiction of the heraldry at Coughton Court. The additions were made by Sir George.

Wenceslas Hollar’s depiction of the heraldry at Coughton Court. The additions were made by Sir George.

References

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12 FEBRUARY: The Throckmorton Brothers

Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England

Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England

The Throckmorton family of Coughton Court in Warwickshire is one of the oldest Catholic families in England. The Throckmortons were prominent in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I (Tudor). Sir George Throckmorton was a favorite of King Henry VIII during his early years as King. He owed his position probably due to his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Parr, comptroller of the King’s household and loyal friend of the King. However, his marriage to the Lancastrian Vaux family may have had something to do it. Throckmorton’s wife, Lady Katherine (Vaux), was the younger half-sister of Lord Parr, both being children from one of Lady Elizabeth’s (born FitzHugh) two marriages; Lord Parr and Lord Vaux. The Vaux family was loyal to Henry VI and especially Margaret of Anjou when she was exiled to France. George’s father-in-law, Nicholas, became a protege and favorite of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII Tudor. As the stepson of Lord Vaux (Lord William Parr died shortly after the coronation of Richard III in 1483), Thomas Parr is noted to have been a possible pupil in the household of Henry VIII’s grandmother as a young lad.

The connection to the Parr family made Throckmorton an uncle by marriage to queen consort Katherine Parr, the Marquess of Northampton, and Lady Anne Herbert (wife of William, 1st Earl of Pembroke). The Parrs also shared common ancestry with the Throckmorton’s through their maternal great-grandmother Matilda Throckmorton (Lady Green), daughter of Sir John Throckmorton and Eleanor de la Spiney (great-grandparents of Sir George). George Throckmorton, however, would become involved in a scandal to keep the King from divorcing his first wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon, to marry her lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn. Throckmorton didn’t approve and supported the queen. Most members, including Sir Thomas Parr’s widow and his cousin, Lady Maud Parr (Green), stuck by Katherine of Aragon until her household was dissolved.

12 FEBRUARY 1570: THE DEATH of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist. © National Portrait Gallery, London

A cousin of Katherine Parr, Throckmorton was a staunch Protestant, and a supporter of Lady Jane Grey, though he served as a Member of Parliament under all the Tudor monarchs including the Catholic queen, Mary I. His importance during the reign of Elizabeth I was mainly as an ambassador to France and to Scotland. Throckmorton was the son of Katherine’s paternal aunt, Hon. Katherine Vaux and cousin Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton Court (a supporter of Queen Katherine of Aragon). Throckmorton was a page in the household of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond by 1532-6; his cousin, William Parr (brother of Queen Katherine) had been raised and educated with Fitzroy and the Earl of Surrey and his maternal uncle, also named William Parr, was head of the household there. Throckmorton then became a servant in the household of his cousin, William, Baron Parr by 1543. Throckmorton, along with his brother Clement, would go on to serve in the household of their cousin Queen Katherine Parr by 1544-7 or 8. After the reign of Henry VIII, Throckmorton continued to serve at court. Upon the death of the Dowager Queen, he returned to the household of his cousin, the 1st Marquess of Northampton (William Parr).

12 FEBRUARY 1581: THE DEATH of Sir Robert Throckmorton

Robert Throckmorton by British School (c) National Trust, Coughton Court; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Robert Throckmorton by British School (c) National Trust, Coughton Court; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Sir Robert Throckmorton (c.1513-12 February 1581) was the eldest son of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court and Hon. Katherine Vaux. As such, Robert was the elder brother of Nicholas, above. Throckmorton, like his father, was Catholic. His role in the succession crisis of Queen Mary is not clear, but it seems that he backed Mary’s claim because of the positions he was given. He was knighted in 1553 and appointed Constable of Warwick Castle among other positions. His Catholicism explains his disappearance from the Commons in the reign of Elizabeth I, 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. (A. L. Rowse) Throckmorton married twice and had issue by both wives who would continue his legacy at Coughton Court.

References