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Observations placeholder

Wotton, Nicholas - The prophetic dream of his nephew Thomas Wotton’s involvement in a scheme that would ruin the Wotton family



Type of Spiritual Experience


Part dream, part telepathy and part prophecy

A description of the experience

Premonitions: A leap in to the future – Herbert Greenhouse [1971]

Nicholas Wotton, Dean of Canterbury, dreamed in the year 1553 that his nephew Thomas Wotton was going to be involved in a scheme that would ruin the Wotton family and cost the young man his life.

The Dean was at first inclined to dismiss the dream, but it was one of the recurrent kind. He had the same dream the following night. Being a thoughtful man, he decided that this phenomenon should not be ignored.

Any other man would have taken direct action, that is, he would have pleaded with his nephew to abandon his plans. But nephews, like most other people, are headstrong and if his particular future was to be one of disgrace and death, something would have made him continue regardless of his uncle's entreaties. Nicholas Wotton realized this and decided on an ingenious trick that would change Thomas' future in spite of himself.

He wrote to Queen Mary of England and suggested that she "cause his nephew, Thomas Wotton, to be sent for out of Kent; and that the Lords of her Council might interrogate him in some such feigned questions, as might give a colour for his commitment into a favourable prison; declaring that he would acquaint her Majesty with the true reason of his request, when he should next become so happy as to see and speak to her Majesty."

Today uncles and other adults are not held in the same high regard as they were four hundred years ago, and it is not easy to arrange for a nephew's confinement in jail.

Nicholas Wotton, however, was also ambassador to France and was respected by the Queen. Accordingly, Thomas Wotton, for his own good, was hustled off to prison.

The Queen soon learned of a plot to prevent her forthcoming marriage to King Philip of Spain. Among those opposing the marriage was Thomas Wotton, but during the plotting he was in jail. The conspirators, including their leader Sir Thomas Wyatt of Boxley Abbey, were apprehended, taken into custody, and executed.

Thomas Wotton, chafing in jail, was therefore saved from the gallows by the Dean of Canterbury's ingenuity. He realized that he too would have died if his uncle had not "so happily dreamed him into prison."

The source of the experience

Wotton, Nicholas

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Dreaming and lucid dreaming