Wriothesley, Thomas (1505-1550) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 63
Wriothesley, Thomas (1505-1550)

by Albert Frederick Pollard
1904 Errata appended.
Contains subarticle Henry Wriothesley (1545–1581).

WRIOTHESLEY, Sir THOMAS, first Baron Wriothesley of Titchfield and Earl of Southampton (1505–1550), lord chancellor of England, was eldest son of William Writh or Wriothesley, York herald, who, like his brother, Sir Thomas Wriothesley (d. 1534) [q. v.], adopted Wriothesley as the spelling of the family name. His mother, who survived until 1538, was Agnes, daughter of James Drayton of London; and Drayton's notes recording his own and his grandchildren's dates of birth are still extant (Brit. Mus. Add. Charters, 16194). Thomas, the eldest son, was born on the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, 21 Dec. 1505; his sisters, Elizabeth and Anne (who married Thomas Knight of Hook in Hampshire) in 1507 and 1508, and his brother Edward in 1509. At Edward's christening the godfathers were Edward Stafford, third duke of Buckingham [q. v.], and Henry ‘Algernon’ Percy, fifth earl of Northumberland [q. v.] Two other sisters, whom Wriothesley names in his will, were born subsequently.

Thomas was educated at King's Hall or St. John's College, Cambridge, but seems to have left the university without a degree, and sought employment at court. In a document dated 12 Feb. 1523–4 he refers to Cromwell as his master, and after that date documents in his handwriting are frequent. In 1529, however, he is described as servant to (Sir) Edmund Peckham [q. v.], who, like Wriothesley, married a Cheyne of Chesham Bois, and on 4 May 1530 he appears as clerk of the signet; on that date he was granted in reversion the office of bailiff in Warwick and Snitterfield, where Shakespeare's father lived (Letters and Papers, iv. 6600 [11]). He probably ingratiated himself with Henry by his ‘labour in the king's great business,’ i.e. the divorce (ib. xiv. i. 190), and on 26 Jan. 1530–1 he received a pension of 5l. from the lands of St. Mary's Abbey, York. In December 1532 he was sent abroad, probably as bearer of despatches for some foreign ambassador. A similar mission followed in the autumn of 1533. In October he was at Marseilles in financial straits, ‘apparel and play sometimes, whereat he was unhappy,’ having ‘cost him more than 50 crowns.’ Apparently he went on to Rome, where he vainly endeavoured to obtain papal bulls for his friend John Salcot, bishop-elect of Bangor. He had returned by the summer of 1534, and in that year was admitted a student of Gray's Inn. On 2 Jan. 1535–6 he was granted in reversion the lucrative office of coroner and attorney in the king's bench (ib. x. 12), and in the same year was appointed ‘graver’ of the Tower. In the autumn he was required to supply twelve men for service against the rebels in the north, and to attend the king thither in person. He remained, however, with Henry at Windsor, doing an increasing amount of secretarial work, and using his growing influence to secure large grants out of the lands of the dissolved monasteries. Early in 1537 he was given various manors previously belonging to Quarr Abbey in the Isle of Wight (ib. xii. i. 539 [45], 662, ii. 1150 [77]). On 30 Dec. in the same year he acquired the site of the monastery of Titchfield, on the east side of Southampton Water, and on 29 July 1538 that of Beaulieu Abbey, on the opposite side of the water (ib. xiii. i. 1519 [67]). Wriothesley had previously owned houses near both these monasteries, with which he appears to have been officially connected, possibly as steward, and also at Micheldever, where his family resided. He was likewise seneschal of Hyde Abbey, near Winchester, of which his friend Salcot had been abbot; and when the abbey was surrendered, Wriothesley naturally obtained a grant of its site and of many of its manors. He ‘pulled the abbey down with amazing rapidity and sold the rich materials’ (Liber Mon. de Hyda, Rolls Ser. Introd. pp. lxxi–lxxiii; Leland, Itinerary, iii. 86). With the grant of these abbeys he also received numerous manors, chiefly in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and his acquisition of landed property was naturally followed by his inclusion in local commissions of the peace and of oyer and terminer, to visit monasteries and to pull down images and shrines. His active participation in measures of this character, especially at Winchester, brought on him the hostility of the bishop, Stephen Gardiner [q. v.], who was his wife's uncle, but Cromwell's patronage made him secure for the time.

In September 1538 Wriothesley was sent as ambassador to the regent of the Netherlands, Mary, queen of Hungary, to propose marriage between Henry VIII and the Duchess of Milan, and between the Princess Mary and Don Luis of Portugal. He arrived at Calais on 28 Sept., and had audience with the regent at Brussels on 6 Oct. During his residence in the Netherlands he made various efforts to kidnap English refugees, both protestant and Roman catholic, but these were as unsuccessful as the main objects of his mission. It was, however, intended to be nothing more than an attempt to delay the threatened coalition of Francis I and Charles V against Henry. In March 1538–9 war seemed imminent; Chapuys left England, and Wriothesley was in great dread of being detained a prisoner in Flanders. He obtained the regent's leave to depart on the 19th, and reached Calais just in time to escape the messengers she had sent after him to effect his arrest.

On 1 April following, in spite of Gardiner's opposition, Wriothesley was returned to parliament as one of the knights of the shire for the county of Southampton. In December he was sent to Hertford to obtain the consent of the Princess Mary to negotiations for her marriage with Philip of Bavaria, and about the same time he is said to have attempted to dissuade Henry from marrying Anne of Cleves. In April 1540 Wriothesley was appointed joint principal secretary with Sir Ralph Sadleir [q. v.], with the usual provision of lodging within the royal palaces ‘and like bouge of court in all things as is appointed;’ his commission (Stowe MS. 141, f. 78) dispensed with the statute (31 Henry VIII, c. 10) providing that both secretaries should sit on one of the woolsacks in the House of Lords, and directed, in consideration of their usefulness in the House of Commons, that the two secretaries should sit alternate weeks, one in the lower and one in the upper house. On the 18th of the same month Wriothesley was knighted at the same time that Cromwell was created Earl of Essex (Letters and Papers, xv. 437, 541; Wriothesley, Chron. i. 115).

Cromwell's fall two months later made Wriothesley's position perilous, and it was commonly reported that he was about to follow his patron to the Tower. A series of charges, instigated possibly by Gardiner, and accusing him of unjustly retaining some manors near Winchester, were brought against him and repeatedly discussed by the privy council. On 27 June, however, Richard Pate [q. v.] wrote to Wriothesley from Brussels rejoicing ‘to hear the common rumours proved false touching his trouble,’ and on 29 Dec. the privy council pronounced the charges against him slanderous. In reality Wriothesley had proved himself useful by the evidence he gave with respect to Cromwell's case and the repudiation of Anne of Cleves. Apparently, too, he had made his peace with the now powerful Gardiner, with whom he henceforth acted in concert, and had given sureties against any recurrence of his former religious and iconoclastic zeal; at any rate, he now became one of the mainstays of the conservative party. On 26 July he was sufficiently in favour to be granted in fee the ‘great mansion’ within the close of Austin Friars, London. On 13 Nov. he ‘came to Hampton Court to the Quene [Catherine Howard], and called all the ladies and gentlewomen and her servauntes into the Great Chamber, and there openlye afore them declared certeine offences that she had done … wherefore he there discharged all her househould’ (Wriothesley, Chron. i. 130–1; Herbert, Reign of Henry VIII, pp. 535–6). This offensive duty was followed by repeated examinations of the Duchess of Norfolk and her household, in which Wriothesley also took the principal part, and on 7 Jan. 1540–1 he was appointed constable of Southampton Castle. In the same month at the time of the arrest of his friends Sir Thomas Wyatt [q. v.] and Sir John Wallop [q. v.], Wriothesley was again thought by Marillac to be in great danger (Correspondence, ed. Kaulek, pp. 261–262), and the rumour has led to erroneous statements that he was at this time sent to the Tower (Cal. State Papers, Spanish, vol. vi. pt. i. index); but there is no sign of this in the state papers or in the register of the privy council, where Wriothesley continued to be an assiduous attendant.

In reality the loss of influence inflicted upon the Howards by the attainder of their relative, Queen Catherine, opened up for Wriothesley the prospect of greater power than he had hitherto enjoyed, and in April 1542 Chapuys reported that Wriothesley and the lord privy seal, William Fitzwilliam, earl of Southampton [q. v.], were the courtiers who possessed most credit with Henry VIII (ib. vi. i. 493). In November of the same year he went further and declared that Wriothesley ‘almost governed everything’ in England (ib. vi. ii. 167). This view of Wriothesley's influence was partly due to the fact that he was working hand in hand with the imperial party and Chapuys to restore a complete alliance between England and Spain. With this object he was in constant communication with the imperial ambassador, and on 25 Oct. 1543 he was commissioned with Gardiner and Thirlby to formulate an offensive and defensive league with Charles V, the outcome of which was the joint invasion of France by the two monarchs in 1544. As a reward for his efforts Wriothesley was on 1 Jan. of that year created Baron Wriothesley of Titchfield, on 22 April following he was made keeper of the great seal during Audley's illness, and on his death succeeded him as lord chancellor (3 May). He was also on 26 June appointed to treat with Matthew Stewart, earl of Lennox [q. v.], for the delivery of Dumbarton and Bute into English hands, and on 9 July was named one of the advisers of Queen Catherine Parr as regent during Henry VIII's absence in France. On 23 April 1545 he was elected knight of the Garter.

The alliance between England and Spain was, however, only part of a general reactionary policy in which Wriothesley was the king's chief instrument. It extended also to domestic affairs, and the new lord chancellor gained a notoriety by his persecutions which his legal accomplishments would never have won him. Audley's lenience towards reformers was replaced by frequent sentences to the pillory and other punishments pronounced by Wriothesley in the Star-chamber. The best known of his victims was Anne Askew [q. v.], and there seems no adequate ground for disbelieving the story that the lord chancellor and Rich racked the unfortunate woman in the Tower with their own hands when the lieutenant shrank from the task (see Narratives of the Reformation, Camden Soc. pp. 303–8; Bale, Works, Parker Soc. pp. 142 sqq.). Wriothesley was certainly present at Anne Askew's execution. The intrigue against Catherine Parr, in which he is said to have participated, is more doubtful, and it is almost certain that for all his severity Wriothesley had the king's approbation. Probably, too, it was with the king's sanction that Wriothesley, who sat at Baynard Castle in January 1544–5 as chief commissioner for enforcing payment of the benevolence, condemned Alderman Rede to be sent to the wars in Scotland for refusal, a violation of law not less glaring than the torture of Anne Askew (Hallam, Const. Hist. i. 25; Lodge, Illustrations, i. 98; Wriothesley, Chron. i. 151). His last employment in Henry VIII's reign was in the proceedings against Surrey and Norfolk; he personally assisted the king to draw up the accusations against Surrey, had the earl under his custody until he was committed to the Tower, and finally passed sentence upon him (Wriothesley, Chron. i. 176). Similarly he was placed at the head of the commissioners appointed to declare to parliament Henry's assent to the bills of attainder against Surrey and Norfolk. Wriothesley had never been intimately associated with the Howards, but their fall was fatal to his own position in the new reign and to the policy with which he had been identified. He was possibly conscious of this when ‘with tears in his eyes’ he announced to parliament on 31 Jan. 1546–7 the death of Henry VIII.

By his will Henry VIII left Wriothesley 500l., and appointed him one of his executors and of his son's privy councillors. There is no authority for the speech in opposition to Somerset's elevation to the protectorate which Froude attributes to Wriothesley at the meeting of the executors on the afternoon of 31 Jan., but it probably represents with some accuracy the lord chancellor's sentiments. Cranmer alone ranked before him in order of precedence, and Wriothesley conceived that his position and abilities entitled him to an influential if not a preponderating voice in the new government. ‘I was afraid,’ wrote Sir Richard Morison [q. v.], ‘of a tempest all the while that Wriothesley was able to raise any. I knew he was an earnest follower of whatsoever he took in hand, and did very seldom miss where either wit or travail were able to bring his purposes to pass. Most true it is I never was able to persuade myself that Wriothesley would be great, but the king's majesty must be in greatest danger’ (Cal. State Papers, For. 1547–53, No. 491). This distrust more than the chancellor's supposed hostility to the religious views of the majority of the executors precipitated his fall. He had been peculiarly identified with the repressive absolutism of Henry VIII's last years which the Protector had resolved to sweep away, and his removal was no doubt a popular measure. He was appointed first commissioner of claims for the coronation of Edward VI on 5 Feb., was created Earl of Southampton on the 16th in accordance with Henry's intentions as expressed by Paget, and on the 20th bore the sword of state at Edward's coronation. But on the 18th, ambitious of taking a leading part in politics, he had issued a commission under the great seal to four civilians to hear chancery cases in his absence, thus relieving himself of a large part of his legal duties. Thereupon ‘divers students of the common law’ accused the chancellor of ‘amplifying and enlarging the jurisdiction of the said court of chancery’ to the derogation of the common law, and declared the said commission to be ‘made contrary to the common law.’ The commission was in fact only a repetition of one the lord chancellor had taken out three years before; but he had been guilty of a more serious offence, for the commission had been issued without a warrant and without consulting his fellow executors. The question was submitted to the judges and law officers of the crown, and they unanimously declared that the lord chancellor had ‘by common law’ forfeited his office and rendered himself liable to such fine and imprisonment as the king should impose. Southampton aggravated his offence by threatening the judges and abusing the Protector; on 5 March the great seal was taken from him, he was ordered to confine himself to his house in Ely Place, and bound over in four thousand pounds (Acts P.C. 1547–50, pp. 48–57; Harleian MS. 284, art. 7). He was not, strictly speaking, expelled from the council, but his name was not included in the council when it was reconstituted a few days later on Edward VI's authority instead of on that of Henry VIII.

Southampton's fall removed an obstacle from Somerset's path, but the inference that it was due to the Protector's animosity is hardly warranted. ‘Your Grace,’ wrote the chancellor's ally Gardiner, ‘showed so much favour to him that all the world commended your gentleness,’ and a few weeks later the French ambassador observed Southampton and Somerset in friendly and confidential conversation (Corr. Pol. de Odet de Selve, p. 147). He was soon at liberty, the fine imposed appears to have been remitted, and in 1548, if not earlier, he was re-admitted to the council board. Southampton, however, nursed his grievance against the Protector, and it is significant that the first occasion on which he again comes prominently forward was when he joined Warwick and other enemies of the Protector in the proceedings against his brother Thomas Seymour, baron Seymour of Sudeley [q. v.], in January and February 1548–9. He was no less prominent in the intrigues which led to the fall of the Protector himself in the following October. In September, when the king moved to Hampton Court, Southampton remained in London, and at his house in Ely Place many of the secret meetings of the councillors were held; Burnet, indeed, represents Southampton as the prime mover in the conspiracy, and Warwick as merely his accomplice or even his tool. Personal motives as well as antipathy to the Protector's religious and social policy dictated his action. He was present at all the meetings of the council in London from 6 to 11 Oct., and accompanied the majority of the councillors to Windsor to arrest Somerset. He was then appointed one of the lords to be in special attendance upon the young king, and for a time he seemed to have regained all his former influence. Rumours were everywhere current that the mass was to be restored and the progress of the Reformation stopped. But Southampton was soon undeceived; after the end of October he ceased to attend the meetings of the privy council, and on 2 Feb. 1549–50 he was struck off the list of councillors and confined to his house. It may be true, as Burnet states, that, disappointed at not being restored to the lord chancellorship or made lord great master, Southampton began to intrigue against Warwick, but his second fall is explicable on other grounds. He had served Warwick's purpose and was now discarded, a similar fate attending his associates the Earls of Shrewsbury and Arundel, Sir Thomas Arundell and Sir Richard Southwell. So chagrined was Southampton at this failure of his hopes that, according to Bishop Ponet, ‘fearing lest he should come to some open shameful end, he poisoned himself or pined away for thought.’ He died on 30 July 1550 ‘at his place in Holborne, called Lincolnes Place … and the 3 of August in the forenone he was buryed in St. Andrewes church in Holborne at the right hand of the high aulter, Mr. Hooper, Bishopp of Glocester, preachinge there at the buryall’ (Wriothesley, Chron. ii. 41; Machyn, Diary, pp. 1, 313). His body was afterwards removed to Titchfield, where a sumptuous monument erected to his memory is still extant. A full description with engravings is given in Mr. B. W. Greenfield's ‘Wriothesley Tomb, Titchfield,’ reprinted from the ‘Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club.’ His portrait, painted by Holbein, belongs to Major-General F. E. Sotheby; the inscription is erroneously given as ‘ætatis suæ 51, 1545’ (Cat. Tudor Exhib. No. 77). A portrait ‘after Holbein’ belongs to the Duke of Queensberry, and was engraved by Harding in 1794 for John Chamberlaine's ‘Imitations of Original Drawings,’ 1792–1800; another engraving is given in Doyle's ‘Official Baronage.’ His executors were his widow, Sir Edmund Peckham [q. v.], Sir Thomas Pope [q. v.], (Sir) William Stanford [q. v.], and Walter Pye; his will, dated 21 July 1550, was proved on 14 May 1551. It is extant in British Museum Addit. MS. 24936, is printed in the ‘Trevelyan Papers’ (Camden Soc.), i. 206–16, and gives details of his large estates, which are supplemented by the ‘inquisitio post mortem’ taken on 12 Sept. 1550 (4 Edward VI, vol. 92, No. 78; a transcript is extant in Brit. Mus. Harl. MS. 813 ff. 119–26). The most interesting of his possessions besides Titchfield (for which see Titchfield Abbey and Place House, 1898, reprinted from ‘Hampshire Field Club Proceedings’) and Beaulieu was his house in Holborn, originally called Lincoln House because it was the town house of the bishops of Lincoln. From them it passed to the Earl of Warwick, and from him by exchange to Southampton, who named it Southampton House; eventually it passed with ‘the manor or grange of Bloomsbury,’ which Wriothesley acquired about 1542, into the Bedford family [see under Wriothesley, Thomas, fourth Earl of Southampton]. The fate of the earls of Southampton furnished Sir Henry Spelman with an illustration for his ‘History of Sacrilege.’

It is difficult to trace in Southampton's career any motive beyond that of self-aggrandisement. Trained in the Machiavellian school of Cromwell, he was without the definite aims and resolute will that to some extent redeemed his master's lack of principle. He won and retained Henry VIII's favour by his readiness in lending his abilities to the king's most nefarious designs, thereby inspiring an almost universal distrust. The theological conservatism with which he has always been credited was tempered by a strict regard to his own interests. Under Cromwell he was an enemy to bishops and a patron of reformers like Richard Taverner [q. v.] and Robert Talbot [q. v.]; he was thanked by another protestant for bringing him ‘out of the blind darkness of our old religion into the light of learning,’ and thought the ‘Bishops' Book’ of 1537 too reactionary. It was not until Cromwell had fallen and Henry had adopted a more conservative policy that Wriothesley returned to catholicism. Even then he sacrificed nothing in its cause, and few profited more extensively by the spoliation of the monasteries. He racked Anne Askew, it is true, but he also assisted to ruin the Howards, who alone might have stayed the Reformation after Henry's death. As lord chancellor he made no mark except by his severity towards the victims of Henry VIII, and his legal training seems to have consisted solely in his admission to Gray's Inn. Leland, however, wrote a eulogy of him (Encomia, p. 102), and he is credited with at least two irreproachable sentiments, namely, that he who sold justice sold the king; and that while force awed, justice governed the world.

There is some obscurity about the identity of Southampton's wife. He was married before 1533 to Jane, niece of Stephen Gardiner [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, and sister of the unfortunate Germain Gardiner, the bishop's private secretary, who was executed for denying the royal supremacy in 1543 (Letters and Papers, xii. i. 1209, ii. 47, 546, 634, 825). In all the pedigrees, however, his wife is styled ‘Jane daughter of William Cheney or Cheyne of Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire,’ and there is no trace of his having had two wives. The inference is that the Countess of Southampton's mother married first a brother of Bishop Gardiner, and secondly William Cheney, being mother of Germain Gardiner by her first husband, and of the Countess of Southampton by her second. The countess survived until 15 Sept. 1574, and was buried at Titchfield, where her monument is still extant (Greenfield, p. 72). A manuscript book of prayers dedicated to her by Roger Welden, apart from its interest as a collection, contains some curious notes on the family history. It belonged to Sir Thomas Phillipps, and in 1895 to Bernard Quaritch. By his countess Wriothesley had issue a son, who died in August 1537 (ib. xii. ii. 546); another son, Anthony, who died about 1542 (the consolatory letter to Lady Wriothesley in Lansd. MS. 76, art. 81, apparently refers to this event, though it is endorsed ‘1594’), and his only surviving son and successor, Henry (see below). He had also five daughters: (1) Elizabeth, who was sufficiently old to have married Thomas Radcliffe (afterwards third Earl of Sussex) [q. v.] before 1550, and died without issue in 1554–5; (2) Mary, who married, first, William Shelley of Michelgrove, and secondly Richard, son of Sir Michael and grandson of Sir Richard Lyster [q. v.]; (3) Catherine, who married Thomas Cornwallis of East Horsley, Surrey, groom-porter to Queen Elizabeth; (4) Mabel, who married (Sir) Walter Sandys, grandson of William, baron Sandys of the Vyne [q. v.]; and (5) Anne, who was intended by her father to be the third wife of Sir John Wallop [q. v.] Wallop, however, died before the marriage took place, and Anne seems to have died unmarried (Trevelyan Papers, i. 206–16; Harl. MSS. 806 f. 45, 1529 f. 25, 2043 ff. 68–9).

Henry Wriothesley, second Earl of Southampton (1545–1581), only surviving son of the first earl, was christened on 24 April 1545 ‘at St. Andrewes in Holborne with great solempnity, the kinges Majestie godfather; the Erle of Essex deputy for the kinge; the Duke of Suffolke the other godfather; my Lady Mary godmother at the christninge; and the erle of Arundel godfather at the bishopinge’ (Wriothesley, Chron. i. 154). He was styled Baron Wriothesley from 1547 until 30 July 1550, when he succeeded as second Earl of Southampton. In August 1552 Edward VI was entertained at Titchfield, and in 1560 the council entrusted the earl, ‘as a ward of state,’ to the care of William More of Loseley Park, near Guildford (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 615). Southampton, who was privately educated, inclined to the Roman catholic religion, and married into a Roman catholic family. His wife was Mary, daughter of Anthony Browne, first viscount Montague [q. v.], and the marriage took place on 19 Feb. 1565–6, when Southampton was still under age, at Montague's house, ‘by hys advyse without the consent of my lady hys mother.’ In 1569 he entertained Queen Elizabeth at Titchfield, but his Roman catholic sympathies had already involved him in the scheme for marrying Mary Queen of Scots to the Duke of Norfolk. This was not the limit of his disloyalty; for on 1 Dec. 1569 the Spanish ambassador wrote to Alva, ‘Lord Montague and the Earl of Southampton have sent to ask me for advice as to whether they should take up arms or go over to your excellency’ (Cal. Simancas MSS. 1568–71, p. 214; Froude, ix. 135, 144). On the 18th he reported that the two lords actually started for Flanders, but were driven back by contrary winds. Southampton was arrested on 16 June 1570, and placed in the custody of (Sir) William More of Loseley, his former guardian (Acts P. C. 1558–70, p. 366; Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. pp. 622–6; Kempe, Loseley MSS. passim; ‘The Confinement of the Earl of Southampton,’ apud Archæologia, xix. 263–9). According to Guerau de Spes the earl was ‘again’ arrested in October 1571, ‘having come unsuspiciously to court.’ He was reported to be one of those ‘with whom Ridolfi most practised, and upon whom he put most trust,’ and, according to the bishop of Ross, Southampton consulted him as to whether he might conscientiously obey Queen Elizabeth after the bull of excommunication. He was examined on 31 Oct. 1571 and denied the truth of these accusations (Murdin, Burghley State Papers, pp. 38, 40; Cal. State Papers, Scottish, ed. Thorp, ii. 889, 890; Cal. Hatfield MSS. i. 526–7, 558, 560–2). He is said (Archæol. xix. 267) to have remained at Loseley till July 1573, but it appears that after this examination he was really confined in the Tower. On 30 March 1573 his father-in-law was allowed to confer with him ‘touching matters of law and the use of his living in the lieutenant [of the Tower]'s presence.’ On 1 May following he was allowed ‘more liberty,’ and on 14 July was permitted to ‘remain with the Lord Viscount Montague’ at Cowdray, near Midhurst, Sussex. His dispute with the lieutenant of the Tower about his diets was settled by arbitration, and on 12 July 1574 he was placed on the commission of the peace for Hampshire (Acts P. C. 1571–5, pp. 92, 102, 109, 111, 130, 267). He was also a commissioner for the transport of grain (ib. 1577–8, p. 368), commissioner of musters, and to suppress piracy. Two months before his death he was suspected of harbouring Edmund Campion [q. v.]; and on 20 Dec. 1581 his house in Holborn was searched by order of the council (ib. 1581–2, pp. 153, 296, 298, 376).

Southampton died, in his thirty-seventh year, on 4 Oct. 1581, and was buried in Titchfield church, where his monument is still extant. His portrait, painted by Lucas van Heere, now at Bridgewater House, is reproduced in Lee's ‘Life of Shakespeare,’ (illustrated edit. 1899); with the inaccuracy common at the time it is inscribed ‘ætatis 19, 1566.’ By his wife, whose portrait is at Welbeck, Southampton had issue a son, who died young; his son and successor, Henry Wriothesley, third Earl of Southampton [q. v.]; and a daughter Mary, who in 1585 married in her mother's private chapel in St. Andrew's, Holborn, Thomas Arundell, afterwards first baron Arundell of Wardour; the marriage license, dated 18 June 1585, was issued to the bridegroom's father, Sir Matthew Arundell (Bishop of London's Marr. Licences, Harl. Soc. 1520–1610, p. 140). His will, dated 29 June 1581, was proved in 1583. His widow married, as her second husband, Sir Thomas Heneage [q. v.]; and as her third, in May 1598, Sir William (afterwards baron) Hervey of Kidbrooke [q. v.] She died in 1607, and was buried at Titchfield, her will, dated 22 April, being proved on 4 Nov. 1607. Autograph letters from Southampton to Burghley and the lords of the council desiring his release are extant in Lansdowne MSS. 16, arts. 22 and 23, and 17, art. 14.

[Sketches of Southampton in Campbell's Lord Chancellors, Foss's Judges, and Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr., need to be supplemented from recently published Calendars of State Papers, Brewer and Gairdner's Cal. Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vols. iv–xvi.; Cal. State Papers, Spanish, vols. vi–vii.; Cal. Hatfield MSS. vol. i.; Acts of the Privy Council, ed. Dasent, vols. i–iii. See also Cotton MSS. Titus B ii. ff. 319, 330, 338, vii. f. 8, Caligula B vii. f. 301, Galba B x. ff. 122, 127; Harl. MSS. 282 arts. 75–85, 283 arts. 82, 103, 806 f. 45, 807 f. 27, 813 ff. 117–19; Lansd. MS. 2, arts. 8, 9; Stowe MS. 141 f. 78; Addit. MSS. 25114 ff. 333–46, 28023 f. 8; State Papers, Henry VIII, vols. i–xi.; Acts of the Privy Council, ed. Nicolas, vol. vii.; Rymer's Fœdera, vols. xiv. and xv.; Lords' Journals; Off. Return Memb. of Parl.; Haynes and

Murdin's Burghley State Papers; Wriothesley's Chron. and Troubles connected with the Prayer Book (Camden Soc.); Lit. Remains of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club); Archæologia, xxx. 468 sqq.; Corresp. Politique de Marillac et de Odet de Selve, passim; Bapst's Deux Gentilshommes Poètes; Nott's Works of Surrey; Herbert's Reign of Henry VIII; Hayward's Reign of Edward VI; Ponet's Treatise of Politique Power; Ellis's Original Letters; Lodge's Illustrations of British History; Hamilton Papers, 2 vols. 1890; Strype's Works (general index); Foxe's Actes and Monuments; Holinshed's Chron.; Stow's Annals; Gough's Index to Parker Soc. Publ.; Heylyn's Hist. of the Reformation; Burnet's Hist. ed. Pocock; Froude's Hist. of England; Dixon's Hist. of the Church of England; Dugdale's Baronage; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Doyle's Official Baronage; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Warner's Hist. of Hampshire; Berry's Hampshire Pedigrees; Hampshire Field Club Papers and Proceedings, 1889 and 1898.]

A. F. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.286
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
153 ii 27-28 Wriothesley, Thomas, Earl of Southampton: omit on 18 June 1585 was licensed to marry
29  after Holborn, insert married Thomas Arundell, afterwards first baron Arundell of Wardour; the marriage licence, dated 18 June 1585, was issued to the bridegroom's father,