TROTT, Nicholas (d.1636), of Gray's Inn; later of Quickswood in Clothill or Clothall, Herts. and Eaton Bray, Beds.
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Family and Education
1st s. of Edward Trott of Yorks. by his w. Elizabeth Parke. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. 1567; BA Clare 1571; G. Inn 1573, called 1584. m. 1602, Mary, da. of Sir George Perient of Ayot St. Peter, Herts., 3da. Kntd. 1619.
Sheriff, Herts. 1608-9; master in Chancery by 1619-25.1
Electoral patronage at Bramber, after the death of the Duke of Norfolk in 1572, is obscure. One Member—in 1597 Trott’s colleague William Comber—was generally a local man, but apart from the fact that the borough often elected a lawyer (between 1572 and 1597 at least two Inner Templars and three from Gray’s Inn) it is difficult to find any consistent pattern for the ‘outsiders’.
Trott of Quickswood, who had a distinguished career at Gray’s Inn, becoming one of the ‘great society’ there in 1589, seems to have had powerful friends. In 1595 his unsuccessful application for the post of deputy secretary of the council in the north was sponsored by the Earl of Essex, perhaps at the instigation of Francis Bacon, who was a personal friend of Trott, and borrowed large sums of money from him. In 1594, as the debt was growing uncomfortably large, Bacon had suggested parting with his reversion of the clerkship of the Star Chamber to Trott, but the transaction does not seem to have been carried out, and by 1601 Trott was pressing for a settlement of the debt. Bacon was forced to mortgage Twickenham park to his creditor, promising right of entry if the debt had not been paid by the end of the year. After intervention on Bacon’s behalf by Henry Maynard and Michael Hickes, the lord treasurer made an award of £1,800 to Trott, who presumably received the money, or most of it, before the mortgage of Twickenham park could become effective. Still, in 1597, however uneasy Trott may have been, the financial position between the two men was not causing open friction, and Bacon may have used his influence to find a parliamentary patron for his friend. At this time Bacon and the Earl of Essex were on terms of intimacy, and although no other connexion between the Earl and the borough of Bramber has been discovered, it seems at least possible that Trott owed his seat to Essex, who in 1597 made a great effort to influence elections in many parts of the country. In any case some court patron, if not Essex, perhaps Lord Buckhurst, was presumably involved.2
Only scattered references to Trott’s private life survive. His wedding in June 1602 was mentioned by the letter-writer John Chamberlain, who described the bride as ‘a lusty tall wench, able to beat two of him’. Since Trott was about 50 at the time, this may have been his second marriage, but no reference to an earlier one has been found. His father-in-law Sir George Perient, held property at Clothill (?Clothall), and in 1604, after Bottelea, one of the manors there, had been formally surrendered to the Crown by Perient, it was granted to agents acting for Trott, who sold it in 1617 to William Cecil, Earl of Salisbury. Trott also acquired property at Eaton Bray, and in 1605 he or a namesake was granted lands in Carmarthenshire.3
He died in November 1636, being buried on the 19th at Eaton Bray. An epitaph by one Edmund Cook is on the fly-leaf of an old precedent book said to have belonged to Trott himself:
Hark what the honest lawyer saith;
one see Content with his own lot;no scraping fee.
When will one gownman that’s now left alive
Refuse what he resigned in twenty-five?
Lo, here what once was laid: now seemeth not
The body of good old Sir Nicholas Trott,
On’s own accord through honesty and grace
That did resign a Chancery’s master’s place.
A list drawn up in 1668 of ‘gentlemen that have sold their estates, and are quite gone out of Bedfordshire within less than the space of 50 years’ includes Trott’s name. However, it seems likely that he still held property there at the time of his death, since he was buried at Eaton. He made his will in October 1634 and it was proved by his widow and executrix on 3 Feb. 1637.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xvii), 297; G. Inn Pens. Bk. i. 63; VCH Herts. iii. 64, 223, 225; Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. iv. 259; F. A. Blaydes, Gen. Beds. 98; PCC 24 Soame; Beds. N. and Q. i. 327-8.
- 2. G. Inn Pens. Bk. i. 83; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 49; Spedding, Bacon, i. 248, 259, 300, 323; iii. 40-4; vi. 114-15; Birch, Mems. ii. 354-7.
- 3. Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 154; VCH Herts. iii. 223, 225; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 204.
- 4. Gen. Beds. 98; Beds. N. and Q. i. 327-8; Vis. Mdx. 1663, ed. Foster, 59; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 207; PCC 34 Goare.