Sir Nicholas Throckmorton - Encyclopedia

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THROCKMORTON (or THROGMORTON), SIR Nicholas (1515-1571), English diplomatist and politician, was the fourth of eight sons of Sir George Throckmorton of Congleton in Warwickshire, and uncle of the conspirator Francis Throckmorton (see above). He was brought up in the household of Catherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. In his youth he was favourable to the reformers in religion. He sat ir. parliament from 1545 to 1567. During the reign of Edward VI. he was in high favour with the regents. In 1547 he was present at the battle of Pinkie during the invasion of Scotland. When on the death of Edward VI. an attempt was made to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne, he contrived to appear as the friend of both parties, and secured the favour of Queen Mary Tudor. He was, however, suspected of complicity in Wyat's rebellion in 1554, and was brought to trial at the Guildhall on the 17th of April of that year. By eloquence, readiness of wit, and adroit flattery of the jury he contrived to secure his acquittal in the face of the open hostility of the judge - a unique achievement at a time when the condemnation of prisoners whom the authorities wished to convict was a mere matter of course. The jurymen were fined and sent to prison, and Throckmorton was detained in the Tower till the following year. There was some talk of bringing him to trial again, but he made his peace, and was employed by Queen Mary. After the accession of Elizabeth he rose rapidly into favour. He became chamberlain of the exchequer, and from May 1559 to April 1564 he was ambassador in France. During the latter part of this period he was associated with Sir Thomas Smith, whose function was at least partly to watch and check his fellow-ambassador. It was in these years that Throckmorton became acquainted with Mary Queen of Scots. He had to conduct the delicate negotiations which accompanied her return to Scotland, and though he was a supporter of the reformers on political grounds, he became her personal friend and was always willing to do her service. As ambassador in France he exerted himself to induce Elizabeth to aid the Huguenots, and took a part in the war of religion. He was taken prisoner by the Catholic leader, the duke of Guise. After his return to England he was sent as ambassador to Scotland in May 1565. The mission entrusted to him was to prevent Queen Mary's marriage with Darnley, which however he was unable to do. After the murder of Darnley he was again sent to Scotland in June 1567 on a still more hopeless mission than the first. He was instructed to persuade the Scottish barons who had just imprisoned the queen to restore her to her authority. His known friendship for Queen Mary and his constant support of her claim to be recognized as Elizabeth's successor, made him a very unwelcome representative of England in that crisis. Moreover, the queen of England increased his difficulties by making him the bearer of offensive messages to the barons, and by contradictory instructions. He cannot have undertaken his task with much zeal, for his own opinion was that Elizabeth would consult her interests best by supporting the barons. In Edinburgh Throckmorton could effect little, but he exerted himself to secure the personal safety of the queen. He offended his mistress by showing his instructions to the Scottish barons, and was recalled in August. In 1569 he fell under suspicion during the duke of Norfolk's conspiracy in favour of Mary, and was imprisoned for a time at Windsor, but was not further proceeded against. He died on the 12th of February 1571. Sir Nicholas married Anne Carew, and his daughter Elizabeth became the wife of Sir Walter Raleigh.

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