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Nicholas Vaux
1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden
Personal details
Born c. 1460
Died 14 May 1523 (aged 62–63)
Spouse(s) Elizabeth FitzHugh
Anne Green

Arms of Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden: Chequy argent and gules, on a chevron azure, three roses or.

Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (c. 1460 – 14 May 1523) was a soldier and courtier in England and an early member of the House of Commons. He was the son of Lancastrian loyalists, Sir William Vaux of Harrowden and Katherine Penyson (or Peniston as she is sometimes called in later sources), a lady of the household of Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of the Lancastrian king, Henry VI of England. Katherine was daughter of Gregorio Panizzone of Courticelle (modern Cortiglione), in Piedmont, Italy which was at that time subject to King René of Anjou, father of Queen Margaret of Anjou, as ruler of Provence.[1][2][3][4] He grew up during the years of Yorkist rule, and later served under the founder of the Tudor dynasty, Henry VII.


Nicholas Vaux's mother, Katherine, an attendant on Margaret of Anjou, remained constant to her mistress when others forsook the Lancastrian cause. Katherine's husband, Sir William Vaux, whom she had married not long before she obtained her letters of denization, was attainted in 1461[5] and later slain at the Battle of Tewkesbury.[6] Despite her husband's misfortune, Katherine Vaux remained loyal to her mistress: she stayed by the Queen during her imprisonment in the Tower of London, and on Margaret's release in 1476 went with her into exile (as she had done earlier in the 1460s), living with her until her death six years later. Katherine's two children did not share either her confinement or her travels abroad; instead, Nicholas Vaux and his sister Joan, were brought up in the household of Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII), without charge, even though Edward IV restored two manors to the family for the maintenance of him and his sister.

Katherine's devotion was rewarded after the triumph of Henry VII at Bosworth, where Nicholas Vaux, as a protégé of Lady Margaret Beaufort, probably fought under her husband Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby; the petition for the reversal of the attainder on Vaux's father and the forfeiture of his property was accepted by the King in the Parliament of 1485, and not long after Vaux was named to the commission of the peace for his home county.


He fought for Henry VII at Stoke and Blackheath, being knighted on the field for his service in both battles. Not only was he active and diligent in local government but he was also frequently at court attending all the great state occasions at home and abroad until his death; in 1511 he entertained Henry VIII at Harrowden. It was as a soldier and diplomat, however, that he made his mark. Given the important command at Guisnes, he distinguished himself during the Tournai campaign in 1513 and then in the missions (he had had some earlier experiences in negotiating, chiefly with Burgundy) to the French King about the English withdrawal and the several royal marriage treaties. Later, he was one of the devisers of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. His sister, Joan, had also benefited from the change of dynasty: she entered the royal household, became governess to Henry VII's daughters and married successively Sir Richard Guildford and the father of Sir Nicholas Poyntz, Sir Anthony Poyntz.

Vaux was a natural candidate for election to Parliament, although in the absence of so many returns for the early Tudor period he is known to have been a Member only in 1515 when he and Sir John Hussey took a memorandum on certain Acts from the Commons up to the Lords. Presumably, he sat for his own shire on this occasion as he was afterwards appointed to the Northamptonshire commission for the subsidy which he had helped to grant.

Family and Succession[]

Vaux married firstly Elizabeth FitzHugh, widow of Sir William Parr of Kendal, daughter of Sir Henry, 5th Baron FitzHugh of Ravensworth, and Lady Alice Neville.[7][8] The wedding took place most likely after Richard III was defeated by Henry Tudor (later King Henry VII). The marriage was most likely to secure the allegiance of Elizabeth and her family to the Tudor dynasty. Elizabeth's mother was a niece of Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, so the new queen consort Elizabeth of York was a blood relation. By Elizabeth, Vaux had three daughters; Katherine, Alice, and Anne. Elizabeth died on 29 January 1508.

Shortly after the death of his first wife, Lord Vaux married, secondly, Anne Green, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas Green of Boughton and Green's Norton, Northamptonshire, and Jane Fogge, by whom he had two sons and three daughters. Anne was the sister of Maud Green, mother of Henry VIII's sixth wife, Catherine Parr. On 4 September 1514, Anne accompanied her husband on his journey to bring the King's sister, Princess Mary, to her wedding to Louis XII of France in Abbeville, France.[9] Both were present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 where they attended upon the King and Queen. The two were joined by Sir Thomas Parr, his wife Maud Green, and Thomas's brother, Sir William Parr of Horton.[10] Anne predeceased Lord Vaux.


By Elizabeth he had three daughters:

  • Katherine Vaux (c. 1490 - c. 1571), married Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton and had issue.[11]
  • Alice Vaux (d. 1543), married Sir Richard Sapcote c. 1501. No issue.[11][12]
  • Anne Vaux, married Sir Thomas Le Strange (1493–1545) and had issue.[11][13]

By Anne Green he had two sons and three daughters:

  • Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron Vaux of Harrowden (1510 – Oct 1556). Married Elizabeth Cheney (1505 – 20 November 1556) c. 1523, daughter of Sir Thomas Cheney, of Irtlingburgh and Anne Parr, daughter from his father's first wife, Elizabeth FitzHugh, by her first husband William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal. The two had issue.[11]
  • William Vaux[11] (d. May 1523), never married, no issue.
  • Margaret Vaux, married Sir Francis Pulteney of Misterton[11] (1502 – c. 17 May 1548). Had issue. Their son, Sir Gabriel Pulteney of Knowle Hall (d. 31 August 1599) married Dorothy Spencer, daughter of Sir William Spencer of Althorp.[14]
  • Bridget Vaux, married Maurice Welsh c. 1538.[11]
  • Maud Vaux (d. 14 April 1569), married Sir John Fermor of Easton Neston.[11] Had issue. Their daughter, Katherine Fermor, married Sir Henry Darcy, son of Sir Arthur Darcy and Mary Carew. Sir Arthur Darcy was a descendant of the Barons Darcy of Knaith.

In popular culture[]

Sir Nicholas Vaux is an important character in William Shakespeare's Henry VIII.



  1. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., volume XII/2, page 216.
  2. The visitations of Northamptonshire made in 1564 and 1618-19 : with Northamptonshire pedigrees from various Harleian mss by Harvey, William, d. 1567; Vincent, Augustine, 1584?-1626; Metcalfe, Walter C; England. College of arms. Published 1887. See p.51
  3. Richardson III 2011, pp. 289–90.
  4. Niebrzydowski 2011, p. 89.
  5. CPR, 6 E4 Part II, pg 551, 29 Nov 1466 "Licence for Roger Corbet of Moreton, knight, and Elizabeth, his wife, kinswoman and one of the heirs of William Lucy, knight, viz., daughter of Eleanor, one of his sisters and heirs, to enter freely into a moiety of all the lordships, manors, lands and other possessions which Margaret, late the wife of the said William, held on the day of her death for life or in fee tail or in dower or otherwise, and a moiety of all the lordships manors, lands and other possessions which the said William held on the day of his death in fee tail within England and the marches of Wales and which on their death came into the King's hands and ought to descend to her, to hold from 4 November last although the other moieties of the same belong to the King by the forfeiture of William Vaux, knight, attainted of high treason by an Act in Parliament at Westminster 4 November 1 Edward IV, who was the other heir of the said William Lucy, viz., son of Matilda, late his other sister, By privy seal."
  6. Collen 1811, p. 737.
  7. The Peerage of England, A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe.
  8. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, page 17. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.
  9. Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography: Nicholas Vaux, First Lord Vaux of Harrowden (d.1523), Vol LVIII, Macmillan Company, London, 1899. pg 192-94.
  10. The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558: PARR, Sir William (by 1484-1547), of the Blackfriars, London and Horton, Northants., ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982. History of Parliament Online
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham. Magna Carta ancestry: a study in colonial and medieval families pg 639.
  12. Douglas Richardson. Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 657.
  13. S.T. Bindoff. The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558: LESTRANGE (STRANGE), Sir Nicholas (1511/13-80), of Hunstanton, Norf., Boydell and Brewer. 1982. History of Parliament Online
  14. [1], Chapter: Duke of Marlborough pg. 383.


  • Collen, George William (1811). Debrett's Peerage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: William Pickering. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  • Niebrzydowski, Sue, ed. (2011). Middle-Aged Women in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G.. ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 144996639X. 
  • Throckmorton family history: being the records of the Throckmortons in the United States of America with cognate branches, emigrant ancestors located at Salem, Massachusetts, 1630, and in Gloucester county, Virginia, 1660
  • Ancestral roots of certain American colonists who came to America by Frederick Lewis Weis, Walter Lee Sheppard, David Faris.
  • Catholic gentry in English society: the Throckmortons of Coughton by Peter Marshall
  • Women and politics in early modern England, 1450–1700 By James Daybell
  • The Magna Charta sureties, 1215: the barons named in the Magna Charta, 1215 by Frederick Lewis Weis
  • The Family Forest Descendants of Lady Joan Beaufort by Bruce Harrison
  • The House of Commons: 1509 – 1558 ; 1, Appendices, constituencies, members A – C, Volume 4
  •  Lee, Sidney, ed (1899). "Vaux, Nicholas". Dictionary of National Biography. 58. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  • Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey
  • Katherine, the Queen by Linda Porter
  • Kateryn Parr: the making of a queen by Susan E. James
Peerage of England
Vacant Baron Vaux of Harrowden
27 April 1523 – 14 May 1523
Succeeded by
Thomas Vaux

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