Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron Vaux of Harrowden

Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron Vaux of Harrowden
Portrait of Thomas, Lord Vaux, circa unknown.
Portrait of Thomas, Lord Vaux, circa unknown.
Born 25 April 1509
Died 15 October 1556(1556-10-15) (aged 47)
Occupation Poet, dramatist, essayist, novelist
Alma mater Cambridge University
Spouse Elizabeth Cheney (m. 1523–1556; his death)

Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron Vaux of Harrowden KB (25 April 1509[1] – October 1556), English poet, was the eldest son of Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux and his second wife, Anne Green, daughter of Sir Thomas Green, Lord of Nortons Green, and Joan Fogge.[2][3] He was educated at Cambridge University.[4] His mother was the maternal aunt of queen consort Catherine Parr, while his wife, Elizabeth Cheney, was a first cousin of the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII.


In 1527, he accompanied Cardinal Wolsey on his embassy to France. Vaux privately disapproved of King Henry VIII's divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. In 1531, he took his seat in the House of Lords. In 1532, he attended Henry VIII to Calais and Boulogne and was made Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Anne Boleyn.[5] He was Lieutenant Governor of Jersey in 1536. Schism from Rome caused him to sell his offices; he did not attend Parliament between 1534 and 1554.[6] Instead, Vaux retired to his country seat until the accession of Mary I, when he returned to London for her coronation.[6] Vaux was the friend of other court poets such as Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.[6]

Family and issue

Elizabeth, Lady Vaux. Black and coloured chalks; Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.

Thomas's father, Nicholas, had been previously married to Elizabeth FitzHugh, daughter of Henry FitzHugh, 5th Lord FitzHugh of Ravensworth Castle and Lady Alice Neville, as her second husband.[3] From that marriage, Vaux had three older paternal half-sisters; Katherine Throckmorton; Alice Sapcote; and Anne Strange.[3] By Elizabeth's first marriage to Sir William Parr, she was the mother of Anne Parr, the mother of Thomas' wife, Elizabeth Cheney.[3] Elizabeth FitzHugh was also the mother to Sir Thomas Parr, thus making her the paternal grandmother of Queen Catherine Parr.[3] After the death of Elizabeth in about 1507, his father married secondly to Anne Green, who was the older sister of Maud Green who had married Sir Thomas Parr; thus making Vaux a first cousin to queen Catherine.[3]

On 6 May 1511, Sir Thomas, aged two, was contracted to marry Elizabeth Cheney.[3] Thomas married Elizabeth between 25 April 1523 and 10 November 1523.[3] They had three children.

Thomas Vaux died in October 1556. Sketches of Vaux and his wife by Holbein are held at Windsor Castle and a finished portrait of Lady Vaux at Hampton Court.[5]


Two of his poems were included in the Songes and Sonettes of Surrey (Tottel's Miscellany), published in 1557: "The assault of Cupid upon the fort where the lover's hart lay wounded, and how he was taken," and the "Dittye ... representinge the Image of Deathe," which the gravedigger in Shakespeare's Hamlet misquotes.[5]

Thirteen pieces in the Paradise of Dainty Devices, published in 1576, are signed by him. These are reprinted in Alexander Grosart's Miscellanies of the Fuller Worthies Library (vol. iv, 1872).[5]

See also


  1. ^ George Edward Cokayne. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. XII/2, pp. 219-221.
  2. ^ Unknown author, David Faris. Plantagenet Ancestry of 17th Century Colonists, p. 39.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, pp. 326, 561–562 and 566.
  4. ^ Dominic Head. The Cambridge Guide To Literature in English, Cambridge University Press, 26 January 2006. p. 1151.
  5. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  6. ^ a b c John Saward, John Morrill, Michael Tomko. Firmly I Believe and Truly: The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England, Oxford University Press, 15 November 2011. p. 92.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Vaux of Harrowden, Thomas Vaux, 2nd Baron". Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 962.
  • Lee, Sidney, ed. (1899). "Vaux, Thomas" . Dictionary of National Biography. 58. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  • Woudhuysen, H. R. "Vaux, Thomas, second Baron Vaux (1509–1556)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/28163. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • This article contains text from A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland: Extinct, Dormant, and in Abeyance, Vol. VIII, by John Burke, 1831, now in the public domain Burke, John (1831). A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland: Extinct, Dormant, and in Abeyance. H. Colburn & R. Bentley. Retrieved 28 November 2008.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Darcy
Lieutenant Governor of Jersey
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
Preceded by Baron Vaux of Harrowden
Succeeded by

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