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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.
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.
The opportunity was too tempting, and Norton1 addressed an eloquent letter, published by Henry Bynneman " To the Queene's Maiestes poore decey ved subiectes of the north countrey, drawen into rebellion by the Earles of Northumberland and Westmerland."2 They had " purified Durham Cathedral" by burning the versions of the Bible and the books of public devotion, and for this they are soundly rated: " Christians I cannot term you, that have defaced the communion of Christians, and, in destroying thebooke of Christes most holie testament, renounced your partes by his testament bequethed vnto you." This tirade did not suffice; and in 1570 Norton published, at John Daye's,1 his " Warning against the dangerous practices of the Papists, and specially the Partners of the late rebellion;" and in it he gave a curious but evidently exaggerated account of the diligence of the disaffected in spreading rumours and news. 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. 2 Wood not inaptly calls him " a forward and busy Calvinist, and noted zealot;" but Strype incorrectly describes him as " a minister of good parts and learning," 3 conferring upon him the unattained degree of D. : a mistake into which the style and subjects of Norton's writings might well have led men more accurate than Strype. Which is the fault of men, and may without slander of our Church, but rather with honour thereof, be reformed. God keep the Church from being troubled with greater things. And yet these very reformations, which your grace desired as much as any man, are not to be sought in such manner as they do ; but in such sort as may be hopeful to prevail. Professional business grew upon him apace, and left him no leisure for any further publications, or for revising the editions of those works, which he had already published. Norton and I, were with the Master of the Rolles, occupied in passing Mrs.