Thomas Chaloner, Knight (1521 - 1565) MP

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Sir Thomas Chaloner, MP (The Elder)'s Geni Profile

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Birthplace: London, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in London, England
Occupation: Statesmen, Diplomist, and poet
Managed by: Lori Lynn Wilke
Last Updated:

About Thomas Chaloner, Knight

Thomas Chaloner was a diplomat and scholar who served under four Tudor monarchs. He escaped from drowning off the coast of Algeria, 1541, and was knighted after fighting in England's defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Pinkie, 1547. He contributed to the unsuccessful marriage negotiations between Elizabeth I and Prince Maximilian of the Holy Roman Empire, 1558, and served as Ambassador to Spain, 1562 - 1565. Today he is primarily remembered as the first English translator of Desiderus Erasmus's ' Praise of Folly, 1549.

SIR THOMAS CHALONER (1521-1565), English statesman and poet, was the son of Roger Chaloner, mercer of London, a descendant of the Denbighshire Chaloners. No details are known of his youth except that he was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge. In 1540 he went, as secretary to Sir Henry Knyvett, to the court of Charles V., whom he accompanied in his expedition against Algiers in 1541, and was wrecked on the Barbary coast. In 1547 he joined in the expedition to Scotland, and was knighted, after the battle of Musselburgh, by the protector Somerset, whose patronage he enjoyed. In 1549 he was a witness against Dr Bonner, bishop of London; in 1551 against Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester; in the spring of the latter year he was sent as a commissioner to Scotland, and again in March 1552. In 1553 he went with Sir Nicholas Wotton and Sir William Pickering on an embassy to France, but was recalled by Queen Mary on her accession. In spite of his Protestant views, Chaloner was still employed by the government, going to Scotland in 1555-1556, and providing carriages for troops in the war with France, 1557-1558. In 1558 he went as Elizabeth's ambassador to the emperor Ferdinand at Cambrai, from July 1559 to February 1559/60 he was ambassador to King Philip at Brussels, and in 1561 he went in the same capacity to Spain. His letters are full of complaints of his treatment there, but it was not till 1564, when in failing health, that he was allowed to return home. He died at his house in Clerkenwell on the ,4th of October 1565. He acquired during his years of service three estates, Guisborough in Yorkshire, Steeple Claydon in Buckinghamshire, and St Bees in Cumberland. He married (1) Joan,widow of Sir Thomas Leigh; and(2) Etheldreda,daughter of Edward Frodsham, of Elton, Cheshire, by whom he had one son, Sir Thomas Chaloner (1561-1615), the naturalist.

Sir Thomas Chaloner (1521-1565) was aprominent Elizabethan, and his son, also Sir Thomas (1561-1615), married ElizabethFleetwood, whose family knew the Cromwells. Their son, Reverend EdwardChaloner, married Ann Ingoldsby, whose mother was Oliver Cromwell's cousin. SirThomas junior was a soldier, statesman, scholar and natural historian who travelled toItaly in 1580, where he consorted with that country's learned men. While there hevisited the pope's alum-works, and noticed the surrounding vegetation's similarity tothat of some parts of his own estate at Guisborough in Yorkshire. On his return homein about 1600 he discovered alum there and opened the first alum-mines in .These became immensely profitable, wherefore Charles I claimed them for theCrown. The Chaloners understandably did not feel endeared to royalty after thistreatment, which goes a long way to explaining their friendly terms

see http://tinyurl.com/2snxjp

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Family and Education b. 1521, 1st s. of Roger Chaloner of London, and bro. of John II. educ. Camb. (?St. John’s); ?Oxf. m. (1) by Oct. 1550, Joan (d. Jan. 1557), da. of William Cotton of Oxenhoath, Kent, wid. of (Sir) Thomas Lee of London, s.p.; (2) Audrey (d. 25 Dec. 1605), da. of Edward Frodsham of Elton, Cheshire, 1s. Thomas†. Kntd. 18/25 Sept. 1547; suc. fa. 1550.3

Offices Held

?Servant of Cromwell 1538; teller of Exchequer 1544-52 (jt. with fa. to 1550); clerk of Privy Council 1545-c.51; j.p. Mdx. 1547-54; commr. musters, Spanish soldiers in S. Eng. 1549, relief, Mdx. 1550; ambassador, France Apr.-Aug. 1553, Netherlands 1559-60, Spain Oct. 1561-Jan. 1565; member, council in the north Sept. 1553-7.4

Biography One of the younger, but outstanding, members of the group of Cambridge scholars and humanists which included John Cheke and William Cecil, Thomas Chaloner became an experienced government servant and a trusted diplomat whose early death alone probably prevented his rise to high office. Little is known of his youth, and Wood’s claim that he studied at Oxford as well as Cambridge cannot be verified. He was presumably the Thomas Chaloner who in 1538 appeared on a list of Cromwell’s servants as one of the gentlemen ‘meet to be daily waiters ... and allowed in [my lord’s] house’. His career nearly ended in 1541 when, having made a favourable impression on the Emperor Charles V during his membership of Sir Thomas Knyvet’s embassy in 1540, he accompanied Charles to Algiers and was wrecked on the Barbary coast; he is said to have saved his life only by catching hold of a cable with his teeth. He was granted an annuity of £50 before the death of Henry VIII.5

As a convinced Protestant, Chaloner was from the outset in favour with Edward VI’s government, and received his knighthood during Somerset’s Scottish campaign. Employed to procure evidence against Admiral Seymour, he was also a witness against both Bonner and Gardiner. He presumably exercised his Exchequer office by deputy, but there are numerous references throughout the first part of the reign to his activities as clerk of the Privy Council. In April 1548 his annual salary as one of the three clerks was raised from £10 to £40, his colleagues William Honing and Armagil Waad also receiving increases.6

Chaloner’s parliamentary career had begun under Henry VIII, when his return for Wigan, as at Lancaster in 1547, was presumably secured by the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. The same may apply to his Membership for Knaresborough, although by November 1554 he was holding considerable property in Yorkshire and was well known to the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, a Privy Councillor and president of the council in the north, who may have been responsible for his membership of that body. It is not clear whether Chaloner sat again for Knaresborough in 1555 or whether George Eden replaced him. The indenture of election is missing: Chaloner’s name (which is misread in the Official Return as ‘Chalys’) appears, with that of Henry Fisher, on the dorse of the writ, but a letter from John Crych to Shrewsbury, written from London on 22 Oct. 1555, gives the Knaresborough Members as George Eden and Henry Fisher. An ambiguous letter from (Sir) William Petre to the earl, mainly about parliamentary matters, and dated 25 Sept.1555, states that ‘for the matter you wrote me, to have one of the council there in Mr. Chaloner’s place, my Lords have not yet resolved, nor moved the Queen’s Majesty’. It is quite likely that Shrewsbury wished Chaloner to remain at his post at York in preference to his coming to London for the Parliament, but apparently no similar objection had been raised in the previous year. Perhaps, therefore, duchy of Lancaster influence, rather than that of Shrewsbury and the council in the north, accounted for all Chaloner’s elections.7

By the time Chaloner became a member of the council in the north he was well versed in border affairs, having been closely connected with the, Anglo-Scottish negotiations over the ‘debateable lands’. This work also involved relations with the French government, so that he was an obvious choice for the commission which in April 1553 set out to persuade the French King to consent to a peace with the Emperor through the mediation of the English government. Chaloner remained as resident ambassador in France until Mary’s accession, when he was recalled. However, the potential danger from his Protestant sympathies was probably averted by his removal from the London scene to the north, where he was employed for most of the reign.8

With Elizabeth’s accession he began another period of diplomatic activity, to the Emperor, the Netherlands, and finally, in 1561, to Spain. An attractive and humorous, as well as highly intelligent man, he was personally popular in Spanish society and on good terms with such Catholic exiles as Susan Tonge (aunt of George White) and, possibly, Anthony Kempe, but he achieved almost nothing towards a solution of the very difficult problems of Anglo-Spanish relations. By 1564 his health, apparently never robust, was causing concern, and in January the following year he was recalled.9

Compared with the mass of information about his public activities, relatively little is known of Chaloner’s private life. His first wife brought him property in Cumberland, Middlesex and Yorkshire, where in 1551 Chaloner himself received a large grant of land formerly belonging to Guisborough priory. Towards the end of Mary’s reign he acquired from the crown the manor of Steeple Claydon, Buckinghamshire and further lands in the Guisborough district. In London he built himself a large house at Clerkenwell, and in 1561 exchanged Cumberland property with Queen Elizabeth for rectories and advowsons at Cold Ashby and East Haddon, Northamptonshire.10

When in 1558 his step-daughter and ward Catherine Lee married James Blount, 6th Lord Mountjoy, much of the property in the north which Chaloner had been administering for her left his custody. Some mystery surrounds his second marriage. His brother Francis, writing in August 1565, said that Sir Thomas had ‘been ill of a burning fever, and made a new will, under evil influence, excluding his relatives, and leaving all his lands to the bastard only’. There seems no other suggestion that the heir, Chaloner’s infant son Thomas, was illegitimate, but he may have been conceived, if not born, out of wedlock. Several days before Chaloner’s death in October 1565 he drew up an indenture enfeoffing Sir William Cecil (whom he asked to take Thomas’s wardship), Dru Drury†, Sir William Petre, Christopher Wray† and others, of all his lands, and his final will, made on 13 Oct., refers, though only in general terms, to this document.11

Throughout an active public career, Chaloner managed to keep up his interest in literature, in the midst of his duties in Spain finding time for a Latin correspondence criticizing a friend’s poems. His own works included an English translation of Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly, a book in Latin verse called De Republica Anglorum instauranda decem libri, A Book of the Office of Servants and an English translation (from Cheke’s Latin one) of a homily of St. John Chrysostom. He also contributed to the first edition of A myrroure for magistrates, and wrote a journal covering part of his Spanish embassy.

Chaloner died on 14 Oct. 1565 at Clerkenwell, and was buried at St. Paul’s six days later. His will, in addition to reciting the arrangements already mentioned for the enfeoffment (apparently to secure the descent of the property to his son Thomas), left his Clerkenwell house and lands in Steeple Claydon to his wife, whom he wished Cecil to allow to keep the custody of her son for six years after Chaloner’s death. The executors were Cecil, the widow and the younger Thomas. Perhaps because of complications over the trust, or an attempt by Francis Chaloner and other relatives to have the will declared invalid, it was not proved until November 1579.12

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558 Author: N. M. Fuidge Notes 1. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs. 2. C219/24/59v. 3. Date of birth given in DNB. Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. lix), 59-60; Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 80, where the generations are confused by the introduction of an extra Thomas of Guisborough; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 109; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxiv). 42; CPR, 1554-5, p. 140; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 255. 4. M. L. Robertson, ‘Cromwell’s servants’ (Univ. California Los Angeles Ph.D. thesis, 1975), 462; LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xix, xx; R. Hakluyt, Voyages (ed. 1903-5), v. 70-71; CPR, 1547-8, p. 86; 1550-3, pp. 141, 285, 297; 1553, p. 351; 1553-4, p. 21; CSP For. 1547-53, pp. 87, 108, 129, 260; 1553-8, pp. 5, 6, 213; 1558-9, pp. 12, 13, 362-8; 1561-2, p. 542; APC, i. 166, 356; ii. 181, 183, 261, 270, 275; iii. 224, 252, 318, 364, 393; iv. 80, 161, 246; R. R. Reid, King’s Council in the North, 493; Lansd. 155, f. 373; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 97, 186; CSP Span. 1558-67, p. 404. 5. LP Hen. VIII, xiii; add. 30198, f. 10. 6. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 12; Foxe, Acts and Mons. v. 777; vi. 146-7; APC, i. 166 et passim; ii. 183 et passim. 7. Reid, 181; C219/24/59v; E. Lodge, Illustrations, i. 252-3; iii. app. 16; Coll. of Arms, Talbot mss, vol. P, no. 268, calendared in HMC Salisbury and Talbot, ii. 349. 8. APC, iii. 252, 318, 364, 493; iv. 80, 161; CSP For. 1547-53, pp. 108, 129, 288-9; Lansd. 115, ff. 110-11. 9. CSP For. 1558-9, pp. 439, 441; 1559-60, pp. 45, 340; 1560-1, pp. 41, 262; 1561-2, pp. 187, 335, 343, 389, 542; 1564-5, pp. 346, 348, 547; CSP Span. 1558-67, pp. 404, 517; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 186; Lansd. 111, ff. 139-202. 10. CPR, 1549-51, pp. 218-19, 357; 1550-3, p. 61; 1553, pp. 14-15, 210; 1554-5, p. 140; 1557-8, pp. 146, 391-4; 1560-3, p. 103; DNB; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 191; CSP For. 1558-9, pp.483, 503. 11. CPR, 1550-3, pp. 10, 157-8; 1557-8, pp. 5-6 CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 255; Lansd. 8, ff. 165-6; PCC 47 Bakon. 12. PCC 47 Bakon.

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Links

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Chaloner_(statesman)_

Sir Thomas Chaloner (1521 – 14 October 1565) was an English statesman and poet.

Life

Thomas Chaloner was born in 1521 to Margaret Myddleton and Roger Challoner (c. 1490-1550), a descendant of the Denbighshire Chaloners. His father was a London silk merchant who lived at St Mary-at-Hill Street, Billingsgate. A courtier, Roger was a Gentleman-Usher of the Privy Chamber to King Henry VIII, a Teller of the Receipt of the Exchequer, and a Freeman of the City of London through the Worshipful Company of Mercers. Roger died in 1550 and was buried in the main body of the Church of St Dunstan-in-the-East. Sir Thomas's two brothers, Francis and John Challoner settled in Ireland where John became a prominent politician and administrator.

No details are known of Thomas Chaloner's youth except that he was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge.

In 1540 he went, as secretary to Sir Henry Knyvett, to the court of Charles V, whom he accompanied in his expedition against Algiers in 1541, and was wrecked on the Barbary coast. In 1547 he joined in the expedition to Scotland, and was knighted, after the battle of Pinkie near Musselburgh, by the protector Somerset, whose patronage he enjoyed. In 1549 he was a witness against Edmund Bonner, bishop of London; in 1551 against Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester; in the spring of the latter year he was sent as a commissioner to Scotland to conclude the Treaty of Norham, and again in March 1552. In 1553 he went with Sir Nicholas Wotton and Sir William Pickering on an embassy to France, but was recalled by Queen Mary on her accession.

In spite of his Protestant views, Chaloner was still employed by the government, going to Scotland in 1555-1556, and providing carriages for troops in the war with France, 1557-1558. In 1558 he went as Elizabeth's ambassador to the Emperor Ferdinand at Cambrai, from July 1559 to February 1559/60 he was ambassador to Philip II of Spain at Brussels, and in 1561 he went in the same capacity to Spain. His letters are full of complaints of his treatment there, but it was not till 1564, when in failing health, that he was allowed to return home. He died at his house in Clerkenwell on 14 October 1565.

He acquired during his years of service three estates, Guisborough in Yorkshire, Steeple Claydon in Buckinghamshire, and St Bees in Cumberland. He married (I) Joan, widow of Sir Thomas Leigh; and (2) Etheldreda, daughter of Edward Frodsham, of Elton, Cheshire, by whom he had one son, Sir Thomas Chaloner (1559-1615), the naturalist. Chaloner was the intimate of most of the learned men of his day, and with Lord Burghley he had a lifelong friendship.

Throughout his busy official life he occupied himself with literature, his Latin verses and his pastoral poems being much admired by his contemporaries. Chaloner's " Howe the Lorde Mowbray . . was .. . banyshed the Realme," printed in the 1559 edition of William Baldwin's Mirror for Magistrates (repr. in vol. ii. pt. 1 of Joseph Haslewood's edition of 1815), has sometimes been attributed to Thomas Churchyard. His most important work, De Rep. Anglorum instauranda libri decem, written while he was in Spain, was first published by William Malim (1579, 3 pts.), with complimentary Latin verses in praise of the author by Burghley and others. Chaloner's epigrams and epitaphs were also added to the volume, as well as In laudem Henrici octavi . . . carmen Panegericum, first printed in 1560.

Amongst his other works are The praise of folie, Moriae encomium . . . by Erasmus ... Englished by Sir Thomas Chaloner, Knight (1549, ed. Janet E. Ashbee, 1901); A book of the Office of Servantes (1543), translated from Gilbert Cognatus; and An homilie of Saint John Chrysostome ... Englished by T. C. (1544). See "The Chaloners, Lords of the Manor of St Bees," by William Jackson, in Transactions of the Cumberland Assoc. for the Advancement of Literature and Science, pt. vi. pp. 47-74, 1880-1881.

Sir Thomas Chaloner is an ancestor to Lady Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.

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Sir Thomas Chaloner, MP (The Elder)'s Timeline

1521
1521
London, Middlesex, England
1550
October, 1550
Age 29
1560
1560
Age 39
of London, Middlesex, England
1563
1563
Age 42
Guisborough, Yorkshire, England
1565
October 14, 1565
Age 44
London, England
1565
Age 44
London, England
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