Sir Ralph Sadler

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Sadler, Sir Ralph (1507–87). Sadler spent much of his life among the Scots, a nation he thought ‘unreasonable, rude, beastly and inconsistent’. But at least he was rewarded and died a wealthy man. His career began under the patronage of Thomas Cromwell. He was made a gentleman of the privy chamber in 1536, knighted in 1538, and appointed a secretary of state in 1540. Though he served in most of the parliaments during his lifetime, he was not of the first rank as a speaker. He was employed in several missions to James V of Scotland and after his death in 1542 returned to try to negotiate a future marriage between Prince Edward and Mary, queen of Scots. When this went wrong and resulted in war, Sadler took the field. A strong protestant, he was under a cloud in Mary Tudor's reign but on Elizabeth's accession was sent back to Scotland to foster the reforming party. In 1568 he negotiated with the Scots over Mary and forwarded the incriminating Casket Letters. In 1569 he helped to suppress the rising of the northern earls. His last active service was to have charge of Mary, 1584–5. From 1568 he was chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. Small in stature, he was reputed competent and honest.

J. A. Cannon