Dr. Nicholas WOTTON

Dean of Canterbury and York

Born: ABT 1497

Died: 26 Jan 1567, London, Middlesex, England

Father: Robert WOTTON of Boughton Malherbe (Sir)

Mother: Anne BELKNAP


English diplomatist, was a son of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, and a descendant of Nicholas Wotton, lord mayor of London in 1415 and 1430, and Member of Parliament for the city from 1406 to 1429. He early became vicar of Boughton Malherbe and of Sutton Valence, and later of Ivychurch, Kent; but, desiring a more worldly career, he entered the service of Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London. Having helped to draw up the Institution of a Christian Man, Wotton in 1539 went to arrange the marriage between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves and the union of Protestant princes which was to be the complement of this union. He crossed over to England with the royal bride, but, unlike Thomas Cromwell, he did not lose the royal favour when the king repudiated Anne, and in 1541, having already refused the bishopric of Hereford, he became dean of Canterbury and in 1544 dean of York. In 1543 he went on diplomatic business to the Netherlands, and for the next year or two he had much intercourse with the Emperor Carlos V. He helped to conclude the treaty of peace between England and France in 1546, and was resident Ambassador in France from 1546 to 1549. Henry VIII made Nicholas and Edward Wotton an executors of his will, and left Nicholas 300, and in 1549, under Edward VI, he became a Secretary of State, but he only held this post for about a year.

In 1550 he was again sent as envoy to Carlos V, and he was Ambassador to France during the reign of Mary, with Sir Thomas Chaloner and Sir William Pickering, doing valuable work in that capacity. He left France in 1557, but in 1558 he was again in that country, helping to arrange the preliminaries of the treaty of Cateau Cambresis. In 1560 he signed the treaty of Edinburgh on behalf of Elizabeth, and he had again visited the Netherlands before his death in London.

His sister, Margaret, married Thomas Grey, 2 M. Dorset. Other sister, Mary, married two t imes, first to Sir Henry Guildford, and later to Sir Gawen Carew. His brother, Sir Edward Wotton (b. 1489 - d. 1551), was made treasurer of Calais in 1540, and was one of those who took part in the overthrow of the Protector Somerset. Sir Edward married first to Dorothy Read, and secondly to Ursula Dymoke. His son Thomas (b. 1521 - d. 11 Jan 1587) married first Elizabeth Rudston, and secondly Eleanor Finch, and by her was the father of Sir Henry Wotton, the poet and diplomat.

to Bios Page

to Home Page