Thomas Wriothesley was born in 1505. He served both Thomas Cromwell and Stephen Gardiner, and through them, Henry VIII, for which he was rewarded at the Dissolution with extensive properties in Hampshire. Among them was the former Titchfield Abbey, which he converted into Place House, as a country residence. Wriothesley survived the fall of Cromwell and eventually became Lord Chancellor and 1st Earl of Southampton.
The letter from Anthony Roke to Wriothesley mentions that Wriothesley’s wife and servants have been celebrating Christmastide with plays and masques, while Wriothesley himself was away, possibly in Brussels, where he was serving as the king’s ambassador at this time.
Henry Wriotheseley, Thomas’ grandson and third Earl of Southampton, was the dedicatee of Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. Many other connections between the two men have been suggested, including performances of Shakespeare’s plays at Place House, but no evidence survives to support these theories.