SAUNDERS, Nicholas I (d.1605), of London.
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Family and Education
o.s. of Thomas Saunders of Uxbridge, Mdx. by his w. Elizabeth. educ. King’s, Camb. 1565. suc. fa. 1565. unm., 1s.
Govt. messenger in Italy 1581, to the Porte 1584, to the Low Countries 1586, ?in Ireland 1596.
Little is known of Saunders’ father, who must, however, have been of some standing in Middlesex as he nominated as one of the overseers of his will John Newdigate†, the head of one of the county families, but his will mentions no estates and no inquisition post mortem has been found. Saunders himself, when he came to make his will in 1604, held no property in Uxbridge, although the family’s interest there continued beyond the death of the father, for in 1576 Margaret or Margery, one of Thomas Saunders’ daughters, paid for the enclosure of the new cemetery.
Saunders had some connexion with the Killigrew family, through whose good offices he presumably embarked on his diplomatic career, such as it was. In 1572 he was with Henry Killigrew on the Continent, and was subsequently employed by the government in taking messages overseas. By July 1585 he had returned to England, and in the following year he was again sent to the Low Countries. At this time, hoping to be made ambassador at Constantinople, Saunders sought the favour of the Earl of Leicester, who wrote on his behalf to Sir Francis Walsingham. Saunders also canvassed the. support of Sir Thomas Cecil, but there is nothing to show that he was employed again even as a messenger until after 1590. Towards the end of 1585 he was in prison for debt, and two years later, still insolvent, he was engaged in a complex suit with a London merchant, William Beecher, over debt. He had also another suit, against Edward Wynter, who was then in captivity.