JOB THROKMORTON (1545-1601) was a well-connected Warwickshire gentleman from a
prominent family (see ODNB; Hasler, ed., History of Parliament, III, 492–94; Carlson, Martin
, 95-131). He graduated from Oxford in 1566 and made his first appearance on the
national stage in 1572, when Edward Manners, third earl of Rutland (1549-87), arranged for his
election to parliament as a member for East Retford, Nottinghamshire. Throkmorton was related
to the earl through his mother, and Manners would have been a powerful patron: devoted to Elizabeth, Rutland held many offices and was Lord Chancellor designate at his death.
Throkmorton appears to have kept a low profile in the 1572 parliament: he is scarcely mentioned
in any of the extant records. Leland Carlson, however, has argued that Throkmorton was already
playing an important, if behind-the-scenes, role in the reform movement, attributing to him
several texts in the campaign that followed the publication of Admonition to the Parliament
(1572). While Carlson’s attributions are plausible, they are based entirely on stylistic parallels
and remain, in the absence of other evidence, unproven (Carlson, Martin Marprelate, 314-32).

The death of his father in 1573 left Throkmorton the lord of the family manor in Haseley,
Warwickshire, and he seems to have spent the next decade leading the quiet existence of a
country squire. But this primarily local life ended with the calling of the 1586 parliament.
Throkmorton’s election as a burgess for Warwick has attracted the attention of historians,
because it is an unusually well-documented example of the political maneuvering that took place
in some parts of the country to elect MPs sympathetic to the cause of church reform. After a
controversial campaign, and with the support of neighboring gentry such as Sir John Harington
and Fulke Greville, Throkmorton was elected over the opposition of prominent local officials. As
it happens, Throkmorton’s parliamentary career lasted only a few months, though this proved
time enough for him to cause an international diplomatic incident and to deliver three speeches
that provide stylistic evidence for his authorship of the Marprelate tracts. Throkmorton delivered
his first speech in early November, the first week of the parliament. Addressing the succession
question, Throkmorton called for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, whom he denounced
with eloquent vituperation (printed in Hartley, ed., Proceedings, 2:228-32). His second speech,
delivered on February 23, 1587, was an equally impassioned appeal for English support for the
Low Countries in its fight against Spain (Hartley, ed., Proceedings, 2:277-89). His criticism of
James VI prompted an admonishment from Christopher Hatton, the Lord Chancellor, and
complaints from the Scots led Burghley to promise that Throkmorton would be imprisoned in the
Tower. Throkmorton eventually offered an apology of sorts, explaining in a letter to Burghley
that “The privilege of the place [was] apt enough to bring a young head into a distemperature”
(Hasler, ed., History of Parliament, 3:493-94).

Throkmorton would avoid the Tower by fleeing the city, but he managed one parting shot
before he left the House. His final speech, delivered February 27, 1587, was an eloquent defense
of “puritanism” (Hartley, ed., Proceedings, 2:311-19). This debate on the state of the church was
the high-water mark of Elizabethan Presbyterianism as a movement with a political voice on the
national scene. For Throkmorton as well as John Penry, it also marked the end of their efforts to
use official channels, such as legitimate printing or parliamentary debate, to publicize the cause
of reform. Over the next year they joined forces to continue the reform campaign by other
means: see Marprelate Press: A Chronological Narrative for their activities during this
collaboration. After the discovery of the press and Penry’s flight to Scotland, Throkmorton
managed for a few months to avoid being implicated in the project. But by early 1590 his name
starts to appear in official records as a suspect, and in October of that year he was indicted in
Warwick for being Martin Marprelate; he was eventually released, possibly due to a legal
technicality. A year later, Throkmorton, like Penry, became tangentially involved with the
Coppinger-Hacket conspiracy, and would defend himself from this association in a print
exchange with Matthew Sutcliffe, dean of Exeter (see document 18). Apart from this last
skirmish, however, Job Throkmorton lived out his last decade as a prosperous country squire,
enlarging and improving his estate at Haseley to pass on to his children. He makes his last
appearance in contemporary records in early December 1600, shortly before his death in February 1601: the puritan diarist Lady Margaret Hoby lists Throkmorton among the social and
political elite she met during a stay in London (Hoby, Diary, ed. Moody, 127–28).