Francis Throckmorton Marriage Bond 1571

In the Worcester Archives is to be found the marriage bond between Francis Throckmorton and the heiress Anne Sutton. Francis Throckmorton, famous for being at the centre of the eponymous Throckmorton plot against Queen Elizabeth I, married Anne Sutton at an unknown date and they had at least one child.

Throckmorton-Sutton bond, 1571

Throckmorton-Sutton bond, 1571

After her husband’s execution in 1584, Anne, his widow went on to marry Thomas Wilmer. Their son, Thomas Wilmer, was a direct ancestor of the Shaw-Hellier family discussed on this site.

In the absence of any parish register marriage entry, the bond is an interesting document. It is dated July 1571, when Francis would have been 17 and Anne, probably only 14.

After a preamble in Latin by the Notary, giving the date as 3 July in the thirteenth (decimo tertio) year of the reign of the Queen, the bond reads in English as follows:

The Condition of this obligation is such that if Francis Throckmorton Esquire and Anne Sutton als Dudley and either of them be at the day of the date of this obligation above written, free from all other persons, from all contracts of matrimony and do also upon his now proper roster and expense defend and swear here unto the Right Reverend Father in God Lord Nicholas Bishop of Worcester and the xxx named John Langford his Vicar General and William Warrington his registrar of the said diocese and any of them always and all times against all manner of persons for licensing the the said Francis and Anne to marry together which ones asking of the banns of matrimony between them and for all other causes which may ensue by reason or occasion thereof that then this obligation above written to be void and of no effect or else to stand and abide in his full strength power and force. [signed] William Bell.

This document needs to be taken in context with the prenuptial agreement signed between the two families dated 1567 (Dudley Archives DE/2/8). Given the wording of this bond it might appear to suggest that the reading of banns and subsequent wedding were imminent. This would put the wedding a lot earlier than the supposed latest estimate of 1576. Francis Throckmorton was well occupied at this time with his studies at Oxford and building up contacts that would lead to his extensive travels abroad,

Both the Throckmorton and Sutton families were, at this time, ambiguously Catholic as suited Elizabeth’s religious settlement. This was a tricky and ultimately dangerous game for them to play.

Bishop Nicholas, a married man, who had suffered and survived under Queen Mary, was an embodiment of this settlement.

Sources and Notes

  • Marriage Bond and Allegation, Worcester Archives
  • Abstract from Dudley Archives DE/2/8 Pre-Nuptial Articles of Agreement 24 Apr 1567
    • i) Edward Sutton, Kt, Lord of Dudley ii) Sir John Throckmorton Anne Sutton alias Anne Dudley, daughter of i) and Lady Katherine Dudley to marry Frances Throckmorton, son of ii), within 5 years of becoming 12: if Frances dies before, or after, their marriage, Anne will marry whichever of ii)’s sons is then his heir; i) will bring Anne to Ripford, Worcs., within 2 months of Holy Trinity next to be brought up by Jane Margery, the wife of ii); i) will pay to ii) 20 per annum for Anne’s keep and education until the marriage and 50 p.a. afterwards; after i)’s decease, Anne will inherit the Manors of Sedgley, Himley, Swynford [Swinford] and the parks of Ettingshall, Sedgley and Himley, the chases of Ashwood and Chaspell and all other lands granted to i) by Philip and Mary, unless i) shall assure lands in Warwicks., Worcs. and Staffs. with a yearly value of 300 marks clear, to Thomas Stanley, Sir Edward Stanley, Thomas Throckmorton (son and heir apparent of Robert Throckmorton) and Anthony Throckmorton. Consideration: marriage Signed and sealed by i) [red wax] and witnessed. Endorsed: ’16/20′
  • Nicholas Bullingham had been appointed Bishop of Worcester on 21 Jan 1571
  • Anne Sutton’s ancestry has multiple threads back to court and royalty. See here.
Last updated on 19 March 2023 by JJ Morgan