Naunton, Sir Robert

, a statesman in the reign of James I. was of an ancient family in Suffolk, and educated a fellow-commoner of Trinity-college, Cambridge, whence he removed to Trinity -hall, and was chosen a fellow. When his uncle, William Asriby, esq. was sent ambassador from queen Elizabeth into Scotland in 1589, he accompanied him, probably in the office of secretary; and was sometimes sent by him on affairs of trust and importance to the court of England, where we find him in July of that year, discontented with his unsuccessful dependance | on courtiers, and resolved to hasten back to his uncle, to whom he returned in the beginning of the month following, and continued with him till January 1589, when Mr. Ashby was succeeded in his embassy by Robert Bowes, esq. Mr. Naunton was in France in 15.96 and 1597, whence he corresponded frequently with the earl of Essex, who does not appear to have had interest enough to advance him to any civil post; for which reason it is probable that, after his lordship’s disgrace, Mr. Naunton returned to college, and, in 1601, was elected public orator of the university. Lloyd observes, that his speeches, “both while proctor and orator of Cambridge, discovered him more inclined to public accomplishments than private studies.A speech which he had to deliver before James I. at Hinchinbroke, is said to have pleased the king very much, and paved the way to his obtaining employment at court. Accordingly he was first made master of the requests, then surveyor of the court of wards, by the interest of sir Thomas Overbury and sir George Villiers, and, in January 1618, was advanced to be secretary of state. He was lastly promoted to be master of the court of wards, which office he resigned in March 1635, and died in the same month. He was buried in the church of Letheringham in Suffolk.

Sir Robert Naunton, for so he was created by James I. was a man of considerable learning, and well qualified for political affairs; and his letters contain many curious facts and just observations on the characters and parties of his day. His “Fragmenta Regalia” continues to preserve his memory. This tract, printed first in 1641, 4to, contains some interesting observations on queen Elizabeth, and her principal courtiers, apparently written with impartiality; but in an uncouth and rugged style. 1


Birch’s Memoirs of queen Elizabeth.—Lloyd’s Memoirs.—Fuller’s Worthies.—Nichols’s Leicestershire.