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Robert Naunton

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Title: Robert Naunton  
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Subject: Dorothy Percy, Countess of Northumberland, Philip Herbert, 5th Earl of Pembroke, Christopher Hatton, John Perrot, Edward Arber
Collection: 1563 Births, 1635 Deaths, 16Th-Century English People, 17Th-Century English People, British Secretaries of State, English Mps 1604–11, English Mps 1614, English Mps 1621–22, English Mps 1624–25, English Mps 1625, English Mps 1626, Lords Privy Seal, Members of the Pre-1707 English Parliament for Constituencies in Cornwall, Members of the Pre-1707 Parliament of England for the University of Cambridge, People Educated at Norwich School (Independent School), People from Suffolk, People of the Tudor Period
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Robert Naunton

Robert Naunton. Engraving by Simon de Passe

Sir Robert Naunton (1563 – 27 March 1635) was an English writer and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1606 and 1626.


  • Family 1
  • Career 2
  • Marriages and issue 3
  • Works 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Robert Naunton was the son of Henry Naunton of Alderton, Suffolk, and Elizabeth Asheby of Hornsby, Leicestershire. According to Schreiber, the Nauntons were 'established members of the county gentry and had been so for well over two centuries'. Robert Naunton's grandfather, William Naunton, was trained as a lawyer and married Elizabeth Wingfield, the daughter Sir Anthony Wingfield, a trusted servant of Henry VIII. William Naunton was a Member of Parliament, and one of the principal officers of the King's brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, and later of his widow, Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk.[1] Robert Naunton's father, Henry, served as Master of Horse to the Dowager Duchess, while his maternal uncle, William Ashby,[2] was a member of the diplomatic service under Queen Elizabeth.[3][4]


He was educated at Norwich School and Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming a fellow of his college in 1585 and public orator of the university in 1594.[5][6] Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, commissioned him to spend some time abroad, sending information about European affairs. On his return, Naunton was elected Member of Parliament for Helston at a by-election in 1606.

In 1614 Naunton was Secretary of State on the condition of his making Christopher Villiers, Buckingham's brother, his heir, and during his lifetime Villiers gained from Naunton estates worth £500 a year.[7] In 1621 Naunton was elected MP for (Cambridge University. His strong Protestant opinions led him to favour more active intervention by England in the interests of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and more vigorous application of the laws against Roman Catholics. Naunton was censured after the Spanish ambassador, Gondomar, complained to King James I. Consequently, in 1623, Naunton resigned as Secretary of State and was made master of the Court of Wards and Liveries. He was re-elected MP for Cambridge University in 1624 and 1625. He was elected MP for Suffolk in 1626.

Naunton died at Letheringham, Suffolk at the age of 71.

Marriages and issue

Naunton married secondly Penelope Perrot, widow of the astronomer Sir William Lower, and daughter of Sir Thomas Perrot and Dorothy Devereux, daughter of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex.[8][9][10]

Naunton's daughter Penelope married Philip Herbert, 5th Earl of Pembroke in his first marriage, and he thus became the grandfather of the sixth Earl of Pembroke.


Naunton's account of Queen Elizabeth's reign was still in manuscript when he died. As Fragmenta regalia, written by Sir Robert Naunton, it was printed in 1641 and again in 1642, a revised edition Fragmenta Regalia, or Observations on the late Queen Elizabeth, her Times and Favourites, being issued in 1653. It was again published in 1824, and an edition edited by Edward Arber was brought out in 1870. It has also been printed in several collections and has been translated into French and Italian. There are several manuscript copies extant, and some of Naunton's letters are in the British Museum and in other collections. A modern critical edition was prepared by J. S. Cerovski and published in 1985.

He is the source for Elizabeth's rebuke to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester " by God there shall be one mistress here and no master". He is also noted for his judgement of Henry VIII " He never spared a man in his anger or a woman in his lust". He was largely responsible for the claim that Sir John Perrot, his wife's grandfather, was Henry VIII's natural son.


  1. ^ Naunton, William (by 1511-52/53), of Alderton, Suffolk, History of Parliament Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  2. ^ Ashby, William (d.1593), of Clerkenwell, Middlesex, History of Parliament Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  3. ^ Schreiber 2004.
  4. ^ Richardson II 2011, p. 337.
  5. ^ Harries et al. (1991), p. 175
  6. ^ "Naunton, Robert (NNTN578R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  7. ^ A. F. Pollard, revised by Sean Kelsey, 'Villiers, Christopher, first earl of Anglesey (d. 1630), courtier', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, online edition, dated October 2006, accessed 1 January 2011
  8. ^ Lower, Sir William (c.1570-1615), of St. Winnow, Cornwall and Trefenti (Tra'Venti), Llanfihangel Abercowin, Carmarthenshire, History of Parliament Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  9. ^ Trefenty, Dyfed Archaeological Trust Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  10. ^ Roche 2004.


  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G., ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families II (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City.  
  • Roche, J.J. (2004). "Lower, Sir William (c.1570–1615)". (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)  
  • Schreiber, Roy E. (2004). "Naunton, Sir Robert (1563–1635)". (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)  
  • Harries, R.; Cattermole, P.; Mackintosh, P. (1991). A History of Norwich School: King Edward VI's Grammar School at Norwich. Norwich: Friends of Norwich School.  

External links

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir John Leigh
John Bogans
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: Sir John Leigh
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Killigrew
Henry Bulstrode
Preceded by
Sir Miles Sandys
Sir Francis Bacon
Member of Parliament for Cambridge University
With: Barnaby Gough 1621–1624
Sir Albert Morton 1625
Succeeded by
Thomas Eden
Sir John Coke
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Bacon
Thomas Cornwallis
Member of Parliament for Suffolk
With: Sir Robert Crane
Succeeded by
Sir William Spring
Sir Nathaniel Barnardiston
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir John Coke
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Earl of Manchester
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