John THROCKMORTON (MP)
Died: 21 Apr 1556Father: William THROCKMORTON of Croose Court
Mother: Margaret MATTHEW
The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.
Fourth son of William Throckmorton of Tortworth, Glos. by Margaret, dau. and coh. of Sir David Mathew of Radyr, Glam.; bro. of Thomas. unm. s.p.
‘A man of spirit and ability’, John Throckmorton had been left £100 by his father in 1537 but no lands. Nothing is known about his upbringing, although after his arrest he was noted as ‘well learned in all sciences and especially in philosophy.’ According to the Venetian ambassador he spent some time in Italy and at Venice, perhaps in the company of his kinsman George Throckmorton who visited the city during 1551 and 1552. While in Rome he received a letter written late in Nov 1551, almost certainly from George’s brother Sir Nicholas but possibly from Sir William Cecil, warning him against another kinsman, Michael Throckmorton, who was in Cardinal Pole’s household.
Throckmorton’s contact with Pole perhaps favoured his return to Mary’s first Parliament. He had no personal links with Wootton Bassett and as his name is written over an erasure on the indenture he is unlikely to have been the electors’ choice. His fellow-Member Henry Poole was brother-in-law to the sheriff Edward Baynard, but Throckmorton probably owed his seat to his kinsmen Sir Nicholas and John Throckmorton, who were elected on the same day for another Wiltshire borough: to distinguish Throckmorton from his namesake of Feckenham in Worcestershire he was described on the indenture as ‘of county Gloucester’. Because the two John Throckmortons were second Members for their boroughs, which follow one another on the Crown Office list for this Parliament, whoever marked on that list the names of the Members opposing the government’s religious legislation may have confused them, and his comment ‘with the last act but against the first’ should perhaps apply to the Member for Wootton Bassett: the attitude implied would better fit what is known of him than the position then taken by his namesake.
The extent of Throckmorton’s complicity in Wyatt’s rebellion and the Dudley conspiracy is not known but on the arrest of its ringleaders, including his kinsman Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, he fled to France where he enlisted as a mercenary. After Sir Nicholas’s acquittal he approached Nicholas Wotton, the English ambassador in Paris, for a pardon but five months elapsed between Wotton’s intercession with the Queen and the pardon granted on 3 Dec 1554. The description of him on the pardon as ‘of Tortworth alias Corseland [Corse], county Gloucester’ is misleading as these were his elder brother Thomas’s homes. In 1556 his brother Anthony’s wife was to testify that he had ‘lain in their house [in St. Martins Orgar, London] these seven years, having a chamber to himself’, and it was there that as part of Dudley’s conspiracy he planned the removal of bullion from the Exchequer. On the discovery of the plot he was committed to the Tower. Under torture he refused to implicate others but his efforts to inspire them with like fortitude failed. He was convicted of treason on 21 Apr. 1556 and executed at Tyburn a week later.
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