Walsingham, Sir Francis

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Walsingham, Sir Francis (c.1532–90). Walsingham matriculated at King's College, Cambridge, in 1548 and was taught by the prominent humanist (and Cecil's father-in-law) Sir John Cheke. He travelled abroad 1550–2, began common law training at Gray's Inn in 1552, and studied civil law at Padua from 1555. He became privy counsellor and principal secretary in 1571 and held the post until his death. Walsingham was a strong protestant, watchful against catholic plots and anxious for a European coalition of protestant powers. He helped to draft the ‘bond of Association’ in 1584 to protect Elizabeth from conspiracies, though Cecil had developed the idea in 1569. Walsingham had a reputation as an intelligence expert and in 1568 warned of a European plot to free Mary Stuart. One of his lines should stand as his epitaph: ‘there is less danger in fearing too much than too little.’

John F. C. Harrison

Walsingham, Sir Francis

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Walsingham, Sir Francis (1532–90) English statesman, a leading minister of Elizabeth I. He was a zealous Protestant, who set up an efficient intelligence system, based on bribery, to detect Catholic conspiracies. He produced the evidence that led to the conviction and execution of Mary.

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Sir Francis Walsingham

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