THROCKMORTON, Arthur (c.1557-1626), of Mile End, nr. London; later of Paulerspury, Northants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1557, 2nd s. of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton by Anne, da. of Sir Nicholas Carew of Beddington, Surr.; bro. of Nicholas Throckmorton (afterwards Carew). educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1571, aged 14; travalled abroad 1580-2. m. c.1586, Ann, da. of Sir Thomas Lucas of Colchester, Essex, 4da. suc. fa. 1571. Kntd. 1596.

Offices Held

Freeman, Colchester 1589; j.p. Mdx. from c.1591; j.p. and commr. musters, Northants. 1597-1606, capt. of horse, W. division 1601, sheriff Nov. 1604-Feb. 1606, dep. lt. 1613.


Throckmorton (whose elder brother William, born in 1553 was a lunatic), inherited from his parents a high social position, wealth, and estates in Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. After leaving Oxford, where he was a ‘careless and negligent student’, serving in the Netherlands, and travelling on the Continent, he went to court, and married one of Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting. A ‘hot-headed youth’, he suffered the Queen’s displeasure on more than one occasion. In Nov. 1588 he was returned to Parliament for Colchester, where his father-in-law, sometime recorder, was a prominent and unpopular figure. Throckmorton had the support of Walsingham, who recommended him to the bailiffs as ‘a gentleman of very good credit and ability ... to whom I bear especial good will’. After his election Throckmorton wrote to the bailiffs:

Your choice of me to be your burgess especially as you write being so generally consented cannot but deserve an especial thankful remembrance from me to you all according to my poor ability and in particular as far as each shall think me worthy. As I [understand] the reasons of your choice are so mingled betwixt such doubtful causes as somewhat I must say you have made them confused, seeking for your own satisfaction to ride as it were by so many anchors as you leave me uncertain where most I am beholden, but like to a man in the dark laying hold upon the first object, so will I now for this pleasure grope no further than to bethink myself how best to thank yourselves, referring my gratitude to others for a greater good turn. Thus resting to you all a loving and a beholding burgess, I pray you to defer mine [freeman] oath until my return [when] I hope in God [I] shall be ... at leisure enough to do all right you shall think reasonable. From my house at Mile End this 10th of November 1588.

The only mention found of Throckmorton in the journals of the 1589 Parliament is his appointment to the subsidy committee 11 Feb.

In 1596, Throckmorton, as a gentleman volunteer, no doubt, went on the Cadiz expedition through the influence of his brother-in-law, Sir Walter Ralegh, receiving his knighthood during the voyage. Instead of returning to the court he settled at Paulerspury, Northamptonshire, where, in February of that year, he had been granted another 16 acres of land ‘for services’. Still, he knew early of the Ralegh marriage and the birth of Bess Ralegh’s child, to whom he stood godfather. He was anti-Catholic, in 1599 suggesting it was necessary to restrain and disarm not only recusants, but also those whose wives refused to go to church. In 1605 he took part in searching the houses of Catholic suspects, including Robert Catesby.

Throckmorton was seriously ill in 1606, and again ‘in physic’ in 1613. He died at Paulerspury 21 July 1626, and was buried there. The will he made 26 Jan. 1625 has a long religious preamble. His wife was executrix and residuary legatee. His respect for his father is implicit in bequests to two of his overseers: to his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Wotton, he gave a great gilt cup engraved with the Carew and Throckmorton arms, presented to his father by Mary Queen of Scots in France; and to Sir Henry Wotton he bequeathed his father’s papers concerning his missions in France and Scotland, asking him to write a book to counter the slanders brought against Sir Nicholas. ‘Mr. Serjeant Harvey’ (Francis Harvey II), another friend, was joined with these two as an overseer. He left his library of Italian and French books, which he had purchased abroad, to Magdalen College. To the poor of Tiffield, Northamptonshire, he gave £20, in addition to 6d., a piece of beef and a loaf of bread to each of 71 of his poorest tenants in Northamptonshire. In accordance with his wishes a memorial was erected to him, extolling his piety, character and wealth.

A. L. Rowse, Ralegh and the Throckmortons, passim; Bridges, Northants. i. 312, 314; APC, xxv. 230, 292; xxviii. 359; Northants. Rec. Soc. iii. 118-19, 125-6, 174; vii. p. xlii, 232, 238, 247; SP14/33; Essex Rev. iv. 242; Essex Arch. Soc., Morant mss; Essex Arch. Soc. library catalogue 52; D’Ewes, 431; Shaw, Knights, ii. 92; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 176; HMC Hatfield, ix. 291; PCC 106 Hele; C142/438/126.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.H.