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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Family of Queen Katherine Parr: Sir John Throckmorton of Coughton

John was born at Coughton Court circa 1524. He was one of the eight sons and of the seventeen children of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court and his wife Kathryn Vaux, daughter of Sir Nicholas, Baron Vaux of Harrowden and his first wife, the widowed Lady Elizabeth Parr [born FitzHugh]. By his mother, he was cousin to Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth queen and wife of King Henry VIII.

Household of Katherine Parr at Chelsea Manor.

Household of the Dowager Queen Katherine Parr.

Throckmorton isn’t as well known as his elder brothers like Sir Nicholas and Sir Robert. John most likely started his career at court inside the household of Queen Katherine. In the years to come, he definitely had his cousin, Queen Katherine, to thank for his advancement at court. However, when she died in 1548, the advancement wasn’t favored as much and John had to rely on others like the Duke of Northumberland who took over after Edward VI sent his uncle [and Lord Protector] to the scaffold. Among the leading men, Throckmorton had several friends and family links; Queen Katherine’s brother, William, who was now Marquess of Northampton, and the Earl of Pembroke who had married the queen’s sister, Anne.
 
When the little curbuffle with Lady Jane Grey came to pass — loyalties changed. After Sir William Cecil refused to write up the proclamation of Lady Jane becoming queen, the task was given to Throckmorton. Like Cecil, he refused to have anything to do with it. Throckmorton would go on to back the Lady Mary [eldest daughter of King Henry VIII by his first wife, Katherine of Aragon] at Framlingham. Those who remained with Lady Jane [including one of his brothers and the Marquess of Northampton], were met with harsh penalties and punishment for their treason against Mary. His cousin, John [II], was eventually executed under Mary’s command for his role in the Dudley conspriracy.
 
During the five Marian parliaments, Throckmorton would be present for four. His first appearance, with his brother Nicholas, was most likely due to their cousin-in-law, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke [husband to the late Anne Parr, sister of Queen Catherine and the Marquess of Northampton]. As a Catholic, Throckmorton suffered somewhat under the reign of Mary’s sister, Elizabeth. Four years after his death, his heir would be executed for his role in a revolt against the Protestant queen Elizabeth.
 
Throckmorton married to Margaret Puttenham, daughter of Robert of Sherfield-upon-Loddon. They had at least four sons and two daughters. His son, Francis, would be involved in the great Throckmorton Plot of 1584 which would have replaced Queen Elizabeth with Mary, Queen of Scots [a senior legitimate descendant of the Tudor family by King Henry VIII’s elder sister, Princess Margaret]. Francis is featured in the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
The children of Sir Thomas and Lady Maud Parr.

The children of Sir Thomas and Lady Maud Parr. [L to R: William, later Marquess of Northampton; Queen Katherine; and Anne, later Countess of Pembroke]

By both parents, John was cousin to Queen Katherine Parr. However, his mother was the queen’s paternal aunt as her father and Katherine shared the same mother. Parr’s father was the result of his mother’s first marriage to Sir William Parr, Lord of Kendal, while Katherine was the result of their mother’s second marriage to the Lancastrian Sir Nicholas Vaux [later Baron Vaux of Harrowden]. By Katherine Parr’s mother, Maud Green, Katherine was a second cousin, once removed of Sir George Throckmorton as they shared Sir John Throckmorton (born circa 1380) and Eleanor de la Spiney (born circa 1385) as common ancestors.