Sir Francis Walsingham

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Walsingham, Sir Francis

(wôl`sĭng-əm), 1532?–1590, English statesman. A zealous Protestant, he went abroad during the reign of Queen Mary I but returned on the accession (1558) of Elizabeth I. He entered Parliament (1559) and soon was employed by William Cecil, Baron BurghleyBurghley or Burleigh, William Cecil, 1st Baron
, 1520–98, English statesman.
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, in obtaining intelligence from abroad. Joint secretary of state after 1573, he built up an elaborate and effective spy system, which later implicated the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots in a conspiracy against Elizabeth (1586) and led to her execution. His system in 1587 also provided England with minute details of the impending attack of the Spanish Armada. Walsingham, as a Protestant, favored an alliance of England, France, and the Netherlands against Spain. But, although he was employed on numerous missions and knighted in 1577, he was never able to persuade Elizabeth to adopt his policies of militant Protestantism. The responsibility for the debts he assumed (1586) at the death of his son-in-law, Sir Philip Sidney, put him in financial difficulties, and he died in debt.


See C. Read, Mr. Secretary Walsingham and the Policy of Queen Elizabeth (3 vol., 1925, repr. 1967).

References in periodicals archive ?
Thankfully, the Queen's spymaster general Sir Francis Walsingham (Laurence Rickard) has a nose for trouble and sniffs out treachery in the ranks.
Kit, an apprentice falconer, becomes embroiled in the complicated politics of Elizabethan England when he is forced to work for Sir Francis Walsingham, the Spymaster.
SAID to have been worn by Queen Elizabeth I, these extravagant 16th-century shoes most likely belonged to her lady in waiting, Frances, daughter of Elizabeth's spy master, Sir Francis Walsingham.
The Queen's Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth L John Cooper.
THE QUEEN'S AGENT: FRANCIS WALSINGHAM AT THE COURT OF ELIZABETH I by John Cooper (Faber and Faber, pounds 20) THE first Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham (c1532-1590) was one of the most powerful men in England, but has remained a shadowy figure until now.
6/10 NON-FICTION [bar] The Queen's Agent: Francis Walsingham At The Court Of Elizabeth I by John Cooper is published in hardback by Faber and Faber, priced pounds 20.
STEPHANIE MURRAY The Queen's Agent: Francis Walsingham At The Court Of Elizabeth I by John Cooper is published in hardback by Faber and Faber, pounds 20.
In March he dispatched the Portuguese pilot Simao Fernandez, now under the employ of Francis Walsingham, to search for a colony site, and by 1582 large scale preparations were under way.
Throughout Mary's imprisonment, many plots to murder Elizabeth were uncovered by the Queen's ministers, especially her Secretary, Sir Francis Walsingham.
It also includes a series of letters by Queen Elizabeth I, the Earl of Leicester and the spy Francis Walsingham relating to the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots.
Francis Walsingham ran well for a long way on his first run for a long time at Bath last month and, drawn 13 of 16, he makes each-way appeal if all the horses take part.