CHALONER, SIR THOMAS (1521–1565), English statesman and poet, was the son of Roger Chaloner, mercer of London, a descendant of the Denbighshire Chaloners. No details are known of his youth except that he was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge. In 1540 he went, as secretary to Sir Henry Knyvett, to the court of Charles V., whom he accompanied in his expedition against Algiers in 1541, and was wrecked on the Barbary coast. In 1547 he joined in the expedition to Scotland, and was knighted, after the battle of Musselburgh, by the protector Somerset, whose patronage he enjoyed. In 1549 he was a witness against Dr Bonner, bishop of London; in 1551 against Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester; in the spring of the latter year he was sent as a commissioner to Scotland, and again in March 1552. In 1553 he went with Sir Nicholas Wotton and Sir William Pickering on an embassy to France, but was recalled by Queen Mary on her accession. In spite of his Protestant views, Chaloner was still employed by the government, going to Scotland in 1555–1556, and providing carriages for troops in the war with France, 1557–1558. In 1558 he went as Elizabeth’s ambassador to the emperor Ferdinand at Cambrai, from July 1559 to February 1559/60 he was ambassador to King Philip at Brussels, and in 1561 he went in the same capacity to Spain. His letters are full of complaints of his treatment there, but it was not till 1564, when in failing health, that he was allowed to return home. He died at his house in Clerkenwell on the 14th of October 1565. He acquired during his years of service three estates, Guisborough in Yorkshire, Steeple Claydon in Buckinghamshire, and St Bees in Cumberland. He married (1) Joan, widow of Sir Thomas Leigh; and (2) Etheldreda, daughter of Edward Frodsham, of Elton, Cheshire, by whom he had one son, Sir Thomas Chaloner (1561–1615), the naturalist. Chaloner was the intimate of most of the learned men of his day, and with Lord Burghley he had a life-long friendship. Throughout his busy official life he occupied himself with literature, his Latin verses and his pastoral poems being much admired by his contemporaries. Chaloner’s “Howe the Lorde Mowbray . . . was . . . banyshed the Realme,” printed in the 1559 edition of William Baldwin’s Mirror for Magistrates (repr. in vol. ii. pt. 1 of Joseph Haslewood’s edition of 1815), has sometimes been attributed to Thomas Churchyard. His most important work, De Rep. Anglorum instauranda libri decem, written while he was in Spain, was first published by William Malim (1579, 3 pts.), with complimentary Latin verses in praise of the author by Burghley and others. Chaloner’s epigrams and epitaphs were also added to the volume, as well as In laudem Henrici octavi . . . carmen Panegericum, first printed in 1560. Amongst his other works are The praise of folie, Moriae encomium . . . by Erasmus.... Englished by Sir Thomas Chaloner, Knight (1549, ed. Janet E. Ashbee, 1901); A book of the Office of Servantes (1543), translated from Gilbert Cognatus; and An homilie of Saint John Chrysostome . . . Englished by T. C. (1544).
See “The Chaloners, Lords of the Manor of St Bees,” by William Jackson, in Transactions of the Cumberland Assoc. for the Advancement of Literature and Science, pt. vi. pp. 47-74, 1880–1881.