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His father was of a respectable family in the county,5 and belonged to the class of small landed proprietors from which have sprung so many eminent and learned men, but which has well nigh passed away. and 1st Elizabeth, Thomas Norton sat as member for Gatton; and in 13th and 14th Elizabeth Thomas Norton, a freeman of the Grocers' Company, sat for the city of London, and was an active member. MSS., 27, 61 (1578), is a pedigree of the Yorkshire " Nortons, the rebels," of whom Christopher and Thomas were executed for high treason at Tyburn 27th May, 1570.
Thomas Norton was the eldest son by his first marriage; the mother dying, the father, when advanced in life, married a second wife—a lady who had been brought" et amplius," in March, 1582-3. m., taken at Luton 27th December, 26th Elizabeth, on his father's death. There is reason to suppose that he was our author's father. They were connected by marriage with the Plumptons, Mortons, Thurlands, Tanckerdes of Boroughbridge, and other Soman Catholics of the North.
Another knot of such good companie be common rnmor-spreders, of whom the publike fame is, that there be or have bene certaine notable and noted walkers in Paule's and such places of resort, so common that the very usuall places of their being there are ordinarily knowen by the name of saving that I heare say now of late many of them flocke more into the middle isle, which is supposed to be done partly to shunne publike noting, partely for better hearkening, and partely for more commodious publishing.
The suspicion, grudge, and talke goeth among the Quene's good subjectes, how such fellowes be the coyners of newes; in the beginning of the rebellion how lustie they were, how their countenances, their fleering, their flinging paces, their whisperings, shewed their hartes; how they had newes of every encrease, of every going forward, and every avantageable doing of the rebelles; how they have newes out of Fraunce and Flaunders with the soonest, God knoweth what they send thither, and with what reciprocation they requite such newes againe; how they had newes of the late horrible murder ere it was done, as if they had ben accessaries before the fact; how they write letters at home directed to themselves ; how with these pretty letters, while they be fresh bleeding, that is, so scarcely drie that the ink blotteth, with their great countenances, and their wondrous intelligence and great insightes in secrets of princes, as if they were kinges' cousines, and with their offrings of wagers, and such other braggeries, they deface (as men say) all that can be brought or reported never so truly of any good successe to the Quene or her frendes.
They are of different blood, and are the family of Nortons referred to in Strype's up in the family of Sir Thomas More—and by her he had several sons.1 He was still living, though extremely ill when he lost his second wife in the year 1581: and died at Sharpenhoe, 10th March, 1582-3,2 having witnessed nearly all his sons' career. 1741-2 This ancestor of the second branch of the family was one of the leading citizens of the Vineyard and its first representative to the General Court of Mass. He was sheriff of the county in 1699 and was commissioned as Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in 1702.
Of the mode in which he executed his task, and of its success, he has given us3 a full account." I performed my work in the house of my friend Edward Whitchurch." He says he determined " to follow the words so neere as the phrase of the English tongue would suffer me." * * " All that I wrote, the grave, learned, and vertuous man, Mr.
When that prelate contemplated an answer to " An admonition to the parliament," Norton took it upon himself to address to him a long letter, dated 20th October, 1572,2 to dissuade him from the work—doubting whether it were not " best policy to let the matter die quietly ;" declaring that it was " good to contain controversies within schools, and not to carry them to Paul's Cross and elsewhere abroad ;" referring to the hurt which the division of the Lutherans and Zuinglians had done; and recommending the " Good Mr.
Doctor, before he went any further with the book, to confer with some grave, wise men, and especially such as have been rather beholders than actors in this tragedy." Whitgift combated his views, and the other side continuing to write, Norton changed his opinion.
These and such like expressions falling from him, having long before this given some jealousies to the Archbishop, Norton now, to set himself right with his Grace, assured him that he would be no disturber of the peace of the Church, nor did dislike the constitution of it; but that he disliked the defect in the ministration of justice, and that good laws made for the good state of religion were not put in force as they should be : which gave licence to the open adversaries of it. So that the Archbishop seemed to dismiss him with good satisfaction.
But now Whitgift's book being yet hardly out of the press, a report came to the Archbishop's ears, that Norton was framing, or did intend to frame, an answer thereunto.
Thomas Norton, of Sharpenhoe, a manor and hamlet in the parish of Streatley,1 Bedfordshire, was a native of that county, and born in 1532.