THROCKMORTON, John (d.1445), of Throckmorton in Fladbury, Worcs. and Coughton, Warws.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Commr. of inquiry, Worcs. Jan. 1414 (lollards), Glos., Herefs., Worcs., Salop, Staffs. July 1427 (concealments), Salop July 1428 (q. claims to Mold castle), Oxon., Berks., Glos., Worcs., Herefs., Salop, Staffs. July 1434 (concealments), Warws. Jan. 1439 (forestalling); to seize the lands of Sir John Mortimer, Worcs. Apr. 1416; of gaol delivery, Worcester July 1416, Nov. 1435; array, Worcs. Mar. 1419; to raise royal loans Nov. 1419, Warws., Worcs., Glos. July 1426, May 1428, Worcs. Mar. 1430, Glos. Mar. 1431, Glos., Worcs. Feb. 1434, Worcs. Mar. 1439, Nov. 1440, Aug. 1442; allocate tax rebates Dec. 1433, Apr. 1440; administer the oath against maintenance Jan. 1434; assess graduated income tax, London Jan. 1436; of oyer and terminer, Worcs. Jan. 1439; to treat for payment of a subsidy Feb. 1441.
J.p. Worcs. 16 Jan. 1414-d., Warws. 26 Oct. 1433-Dec. 1439.
Dep. sheriff, Worcs. (by appointment of Richard, earl of Warwick) 2 Nov. 1416-5 Sept. 1418, Mich. 1419-20 Oct. 1420, Mich. 1430-1.
Escheator, Worcs. 4 Nov. 1418-23 Nov. 1419.
Warwick chamberlain of the Exchequer Dec. 1418-d.1
Under treasurer of the Exchequer 19 July 1433-c. July 1443.2
Merely tenants of the bishops of Worcester in the manor of Throckmorton, the Throckmortons owed their rise in the early 15th century almost entirely to John’s legal and administrative ability and the family connexion with the earls of Warwick. It was the latter which afforded the opportunity for his marriage to Eleanor Spyne, whose father, a Beauchamp retainer, was a tenant of the earl’s in the south Warwickshire manor of Coughton. Throckmorton thus acquired a moiety of Coughton (and an agreement made by his widow and elder son with the heir to the other moiety was later to bring that into the family, too). In Worcestershire he inherited from his parents, besides Throckmorton, some property in Rous Lench, and his success as a lawyer enabled him to extend these holdings and to become a landowner of some substance. He managed to persuade Bishop Peverel of Worcester to alter the terms of his tenure of Throckmorton, so that from 1415 he held it for an annual fee farm of £12; and in 1436 he was to grant Bishop Bourgchier other property worth £12 a year in order to obtain the manor in fee simple. Over the years he acquired parcels of land elsewhere in Worcestershire, in Thorndon, Hull, Moor, Bishampton and Pinvin, and he purchased the manor of Spernall in Warwickshire.3
Throckmorton first came to public notice in 1413, when he was acting as legal advisor to Sir John Phelip*, a personal friend of the new King, Henry V: he attended the Worcestershire elections held that spring, when Phelip was one of those returned, and subsequently acted on his behalf as a feoffee of property in Kent. Throckmorton was himself elected to Parliament in November 1414 (curiously enough, his name was also recorded on the list of witnesses to the electoral indenture), and that same month he became one of Phelip’s trustees in the considerable and widespread estates of Grovebury priory, for the purpose of effecting an entail on Sir John and his young wife Alice, the only child of the then Speaker, Thomas Chaucer of Ewelme. Subsequently, in 1415, Phelip named Throckmorton as an executor of his will. In this, as in other respects, Throckmorton’s career bore close similarities to that of a contemporary Worcestershire lawyer, John Wood I*, and after Phelip’s death at Harfleur the two of them both became more intimately involved in the affairs of Richard, earl of Warwick. Throckmorton himself was formally retained by the earl on 28 Oct. 1416, then being granted by him an annuity of £7 13s.4d. from rents in Fladbury and Bishampton; furthermore, just five days later Warwick appointed him deputy sheriff of Worcestershire, where the Beauchamps held the shrievalty in fee. The accounts of the earl’s receiver-general (John Baysham) for 1417-18 reveal him as already the most prominent and active member of Warwick’s council, engaged on many administrative tasks on their lord’s behalf. Thus, he spent from October to December 1417 in London on business with other councillors; in January he was concerned with the vexed problem of the estates of Thomas, late Lord Berkeley, the earl’s father-in-law; and he travelled to Berkeley, Bristol, Bath and Southampton before embarking in April for Normandy in order to consult with Warwick at Caen. Clearly, Throckmorton had already become a trusted confidant of the earl. Warwick’s affairs involved him in much legal business, not only in the disputes over the Berkeley estates with Lord Thomas’s heir male, James, Lord Berkeley, and in its corollary, a lawsuit before the King’s Council brought by Sir Humphrey Stafford II* of Hooke (who supported Lord James) following his alleged eviction from Perton (Staffordshire) by Warwick’s retainers; but also, for example, in prosecuting suits against the bishop of Lincoln. In addition, during the earl’s absence in France, he often acted as his attorney for the presentation to ecclesiastical livings in the Beauchamp patronage. Significant of the closeness of his connexion with Earl Richard was Throckmorton’s appointment for life in December 1418 as Warwick chamberlain at the Exchequer, which earned him a fee of about £10 a year. In June 1421, when the earl was again in France, Throckmorton escorted the countess of Warwick on an urgent journey to Gloucestershire, returning with her to London after their business had been completed.4
The Beauchamp connexion was always a dominant feature in Throckmorton’s career, touching on many of his activities, and in the 1420s and 1430s he was frequently associated with other of the earl’s feoffees, retainers and estate staff, such as (Sir) William Mountfort I*, John Harewell*, Nicholas Rody* and Robert Andrew II*. In October 1418 he had obtained jointly with another Warwick retainer, William Wollashull*, the wardship of the lands of the late Thomas Crewe*, formerly chief steward of the earl’s estates, and in May 1421 he headed the list of electors in Worcestershire when Wollashull and John Wood were returned as Members of the Commons. He was accompanied to his own third Parliament, in 1422, by John Vampage† of Pershore, also counsel to Warwick; and in the following year he witnessed the earl’s grant of an annuity to Robert Stanshawe† (Member for Gloucestershire in the same Parliament), and was party, as one of the earl’s feoffees, to a marriage settlement on Richard Curson (later to be his fellow executor of Warwick’s will). Also in 1423 he and John Verney, clerk (then receiver-general of Warwick’s estates), provided securities for the payment of 500 marks by the young Thomas, Lord Roos, to procure the permission of the King’s Council to marry whom he chose. It is clear that they were acting in the Beauchamp interest, for Roos promptly married one of the earl’s daughters. In 1425 Throckmorton was admitted to the fraternity of St. Albans abbey as a member of Warwick’s entourage, and that same year he was made a trustee of the earl’s estates in eight counties. Other transactions brought him into contact with Warwick’s son-in-law John, Lord Talbot: in July 1426 he stood surety for Talbot when he was granted a royal wardship; and in the same month he, Talbot and Robert Andrew were party to recognizances in the sum of £3,000 by which they were bound to deliver to the keeper of the privy seal within six months the earl’s indenture of retainer for service overseas with a company of 400 men. During 1427 Throckmorton was active as the earl’s feoffee and attorney, notably in the patronage of Necton church; and his trusteeship of the estates of Grovebury priory for the late Sir John Phelip and his widow Alice, now countess of Salisbury, was no doubt instrumental in securing the sale in 1429 of their reversion after Alice’s death to his lord. Some time in the 1420s Earl Richard and his followers Throckmorton and Vampage sat as arbiters in the dispute between his aunt Joan, Lady Beauchamp of Abergavenny, and Sir Maurice Berkeley† of Uley, arising from Joan’s purchase of the former Botetourt estates. In 1430 the earl made Throckmorton a feoffee in the reversion of the Beauchamp manor of Wick by Pershore, to the use of Vampage, about the same time granting him an extra annuity of 20 marks. Throughout this period Throckmorton was a prominent figure in Worcestershire, where he attended the parliamentary elections of 1423, 1427 and 1431. His local standing must have owed much to the fact that from 1428 Warwick was ‘governor’ to the young King, Henry VI.5
Besides the many services he performed on behalf of Warwick and fellow members of the Beauchamp affinity (for instance, the executorship of John Baysham’s will), Throckmorton could not neglect his duties at the Exchequer. There were many perquisites to be gained there, and he had not been slow to profit from his knowledge of lucrative wardships coming into the Crown’s gift. Among the properties he secured for himself on Exchequer leases were the manors of Bickmarsh (Worcestershire) and Wolston (Warwickshire), as well as lands in Derbyshire belonging to the late Sir Philip Leche*. Another important concession, shared with Vampage and with his own maternal aunt Joan, widow of Sir William Clopton (formerly one of Warwick’s retainers), was the farm of the substantial estates in Shropshire and Wales which Lord Talbot’s henchman Hugh Burgh* had held in right of his wife. Throckmorton spent some time in Rouen with Earl Richard in 1432, but he also sat in the Parliament held at Westminster that year. During his fifth Parliament, that of 1433, he was named as a member of the committee appointed to oversee the administration of the will of Edmund, earl of March (d.1425), whose creditors were demanding satisfaction. He may have owed this particular appointment to his new position as under treasurer, an office held by nomination of Ralph, Lord Cromwell, which he was to combine with his chamberlainship for the next ten years. It is not surprising that many of the royal commissions to which Throckmorton was appointed concerned the collection of revenues due to the Crown, the raising of loans, and the discovery of concealments. From August 1433 until May 1435 he shared the farm of the temporalities of the see of Worcester during its vacancy, and, similarly, in 1438 he took responsibility for that of the vacant see of Chichester.6
Throckmorton maintained his proximity to the earl of Warwick right up to the latter’s death at Rouen (where he was acting Regent of France) on 30 Apr. 1439. Thus, in 1435 he had stood surety for Sir John (now Lord) Tiptoft* and John Merbury* when they were allowed to farm the lordship of Abergavenny, which, following the death of Joan, Lady Abergavenny, then pertained to the earl; and two years later he and others as the earl’s trustees were demised the keeping of the same. In the meantime, he had provided securities for Warwick at the Exchequer when he had taken out a lease of the late duke of Bedford’s property in the Forest of Dean. When Earl Richard made his will on 13 Aug. 1437 he named Throckmorton as an executor, and as a consequence, in May 1439, within a few days of the earl’s death, he began to serve as one of the committee, authorized by the King’s Council and headed by the duke of York, placed in control of the administration of the Beauchamp estates during the minority of the heir, Henry, to the use of the widowed countess and for the fulfilment of the will. Throckmorton’s last return to Parliament, later that same year, was probably prompted by the need for some representative of the Beauchamp interest in the Commons. During the session, on 18 Nov., he was made one of the Countess Isabel’s own feoffees in her dower estates for their administration during her illness and for the completion of her will; and he continued to act in that capacity following her death (which occurred shortly afterwards) and until his own. Such were the responsibilities with which Throckmorton was preoccupied in his later years.7
A lawyer of Throckmorton’s ability would naturally be often called upon to assist his neighbours and friends in their transactions and dealings. Thus, in the Parliaments of 1435, 1439 and 1442 he acted as proxy for the abbot of Evesham; and he took on the feoffeeship of the substantial estates both of Sir William Clopton and of Sir Hugh Cokesey†, the stepson of his earliest patron, Sir John Phelip. His position as under treasurer involved him in financial dealings with the monks at Westminster abbey, and also in the personal affairs of the treasurer, Lord Cromwell, including the trusteeship of estates belonging to the latter’s kinsman Robert Deincourt of Kirton (Lincolnshire), and his participation, as a feoffee-to-uses, in his purchase of the estates of John, Lord Fanhope. Throckmorton also performed services for the Lords Ferrers of Chartley, from whom he received an annual fee of £3 6s.8d.8
Throughout his life Throckmorton’s closest friends were the Worcestershire lawyers, John Vampage, William Wollashull and John Wood, while the marriages of his children connected him with several other gentry families. The husbands of his six daughters included Robert Russell† of Strensham—whose election to Parliament in 1435 he attended—John Rous, Thomas Wynslow† and Thomas, son of Sir Thomas Green† of Norton; while his younger son, John, was married to Isabel, daughter and heiress of Edward Bridges of Haresfield, whose wardship and marriage he had purchased at the Exchequer in 1436.9 Throckmorton was quite conventional in his attitude to the Church: he obtained papal licences to have a portable altar and his own confessor, and he and his wife became members of the fraternity of Evesham abbey. He died in London on 12 Apr. 1445, the same day as he made his will. Practical matters predominated: he insisted that his executors should give priority to the payment of debts and pointed out that since ‘j have ben all dayes of my life in my countree asoever in the world as the world asketh’ he had naturally been involved in many transactions and covenants and there might well come forward men with claims that he had not faithfully performed his tasks; if anyone could prove his case he was to have redress. Then, too, if it was shown that he had received fees without providing services the dissatisfied party was to be recompensed. The will’s stipulations attest both the local and the London side of the testator’s life: he left £2 to Worcester cathedral and similar sums to two houses of friars there; in London the four orders of friars were to receive £1 each, a like sum was to go towards the building fund at St. Bridget’s in Fleet Street, and 6s. was granted to each of the prisons in the City. Bequests of money (varying in amount from £20 to 100 marks) were made to his six sons-in-law, but as executors he named his wife Eleanor, his elder son Thomas (knight of the shire for Worcestershire in the Parliament then in session), and Rawlyn Ingoldsby (who was to receive £20 for his labour). Although Throckmorton had ceased to be under treasurer when Ralph Butler, Lord Sudeley, had succeeded Cromwell two years previously, he nevertheless chose Sudeley as supervisor ‘for grete affians and trust that I have hadde in his lordeship and shall have aftir my deth’. He was buried in the church at Fladbury in a large altar tomb, which also accommodated his parents and, later, his widow and elder son.10
Throckmorton’s widow procured letters of confraternity from the prior and chapter of Christ Church, Canterbury, for herself and her sons, and Throckmorton was accorded the ‘beneficium capituli’ of inclusion in its martyrology. In 1448 Eleanor obtained letters patent, granted in consideration of Throckmorton’s loyal service to each of the three Lancastrian kings, to found chantries at Fladbury and in the monastic churches of Pershore and Evesham, in which prayers were to be said for the King and queen, and masses celebrated for the souls of her late husband, his parents, Henry IV, Henry V and Queen Katherine. Thomas Throckmorton continued in the service of the earls of Warwick, acting for Richard Neville as steward of his Worcestershire estates in 1451 and receiving an annuity of £10 as his gift from then until 1457. He also held office as steward of the estates of Bishop Carpenter of Worcester, with whom he had a ‘league of friendship’. By the end of the reign, however, he was employed as attorney-general to Edward, prince of Wales, and both he and his brother, John, chose to support the Lancastrian regime rather than Neville and his confederates, John being beheaded as a consequence immediately after the Yorkist victory at Mortimer’s Cross.11
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. E403/638 m. 16.
- 2. EHR, lxxii. 673; PRO List ‘Exchequer Offs.’ 197.
- 3. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), vi. 232-3, 235, 240-4; W. Dugdale, Warws. ii. 749-50; VCH Warws. iii. 80-81, 173; CPR, 1413-16, p. 340; 1436-41, p. 46; CPL, vi. 457, vii. 85; VCH Worcs. iii. 499.
- 4. C219/11/2, 5; CPR, 1408-13, p. 470; 1413-16, p. 259; PCC 43 Marche; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 234-5; 1419-22, p. 28; Egerton Roll 8773; C. Ross, Estates and Finances Richard Beauchamp (Dugdale Soc. occ. pprs. xii), 11-14; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. lxx. 88; T.R. Nash, Worcs. ii. 355, 451; F. Blomefield, Norf. vi. 111.
- 5. CFR, xiv. 255; C219/12/5, 13/2, 5; CPR, 1422-9, pp. 201, 350; 1446-52, p. 22; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 127, 277, 455; 1429-35, pp. 226-7; Warws. Feet of Fines (Dugdale Soc. xviii), nos. 2539, 2555; Blomefield, vi. 53; C1/19/6; Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. vii. 251; SC12/18/45 f. 1; Add. Ch. 20432; Dorset Feet of Fines 306; Cott. Nero DVII, f. 151.
- 6. Early Lincoln Wills ed. Gibbons, 156-7; Reg. Chichele, ii. 504; VCH Warws. v. 190; CFR, xv. 38, 163, 225; xvi. 21, 116-17, 171; xvii. 19; RP, iv. 471; CCR, 1422-9, p. 339.
- 7. CFR, xvi. 254, 264, 314, 342; xvii. 122; PCC 19 Rous; Dugdale, 247; CPR, 1436-41, pp. 279, 359-60, 408, 429; Misc. Gen. et Her. 232.