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 ?
Budiansky describes the intelligence successes of Sir Francis Walsingham, first as ambassador to France and later as Principal Secretary to the Privy Council of Queen Elizabeth I.
In the film, after Mary (Fanny Ardent) sends Elizabeth a poisoned gown that fatedly takes the life of an all-too-curious servant instead of the queen's, Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) visits Mary and convinces her that he will betray Elizabeth.
1573 Sir Francis Walsingham is appointed principal secretary.
Stove's chronicle commences with Sir Francis Walsingham, secretary of state and gatherer of intelligence for Elizabeth I, who engineered the execution of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587.
There are bargains and then there are bargains: In David Grimm's Kit Marlowe, the eponymous Elizabethan playwright is seduced into a Faustian bargain by Sir Francis Walsingham.
Aided by Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush) she manages to kill all her enemies and win public admiration as the "Virgin Queen".
Sir Francis Walsingham created The Queen's Men in 1583, in consultation with Edmund Tilney, Master of the Revels, by skimming off the best actors at work in other acting companies, including Richard Tarlton, Robert Wilson, John Adams, John Bentley, John Singer, and John Lanham.
The Earl of Leicester and Sir Francis Walsingham were the key
Aided by a master spy, Sir Francis Walsingham (Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush, who received an Oscar nomination for ``Shakespeare''), Elizabeth realizes that her only chance of survival is to assert herself and not subjugate herself to any man.
50) Sir Thomas Stafford to Sir Francis Walsingham, 9 February 1586, CSP Foreign, XX, 363.
Because the plots were so frequent and yet so dangerous, and because Elizabeth's principal councillors wanted to put an end to them, several members of the queen's Privy Council, particularly Sir Francis Walsingham, created counter-intelligence systems to gather information about such plans and to entrap participants.
Elizabeth's three chief principal secretaries, Sir William Cecil (1558-72 and 1590-96), Sir Francis Walsingham (1573-90), and Sir Robert Cecil (1596-1612), found that their most arduous and time-consuming tasks were selecting, training, and directing the diplomatic corps, processing foreign correspondence and intelligence, accumulating and maintaining reliable archives, and safeguarding the territorial and religious integrity of an England whose interests they believed to be increasingly threatened by the Counter Reformation.