Elizabethan Espionage

Plotters and Spies in the Struggle Between Catholicism and the Crown


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About the Book

In the wake of the 1588 destruction of the Spanish Armada, English Catholics launched an ingenious counterespionage effort to undermine the Tudor government’s anti–Catholic machinations. This Jesuit-connected network secretly transmitted intelligence to Brussels, Antwerp, Madrid and Rome. Its central figure was William Sterrell, a brilliant Oxford philosopher. Sterrell moved at the highest levels of government, working for the ill-fated Earl of Essex and for the powerful 4th Earl of Worcester, secret sponsor of the Jesuits. This is the story of Sterrell’s secret network—undetected for 400 years—brought to life in vivid detail, based on close examination of hundreds of original letters and documents never before transcribed or published.

About the Author(s)

Patrick H. Martin taught at the LSU Law Center from 1977 to 2011. Prior to joining the faculty at LSU, Professor Martin taught at the University of Tulsa Law School and at the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal), Durban, South Africa. He has numerous publications in history, law, and legal philosophy. He lives in Clinton, Louisiana.

Bibliographic Details

Patrick H. Martin
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 368
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6255-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2359-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
1. The Persons-Campion Jesuit Mission of 1580–1581 5
2. Tainted in Blood 16
3. A Wolf by the Ears 21
4. The MP from Morpeth: Gentleman Pensioner and Assassin 29
5. Persecution of Catholic Gentry 38
6. Aboard the Ambassador’s Boat 45
7. Mary Stewart and the Theatre of the World 50
8. The Spanish Armada and English Catholics 67
9. The Essex, Phelippes and Bacon Intelligence Initiative 79
10. In Spanish Lands: The ­Bisley-Moody Plot 95
11. The Parliament of 1593: Sterrell and Marlowe 107
12. Who Can Protect the Queen? A Rivalry over Assassins 120
13. The General Factor and Arbella Stewart 129
14. Co-opting the Privy Council 140
15. Trustworthy Men at the Fountainhead in the Council 147
16. The Network at Work: Tricks of Strong Imagination 161
17. Charles Paget, Meet Monsieur Boulant 167
18. Treaty Negotiations and Burgundian Jewels 175
19. Essex’s Dismal Tumult 186
20. The War between the Priests 193
21. Scenes of a Dying Queen 208
22. Transitions and Treasons, 1603 218
23. From Intelligence to Entertainment 238
24. Measure for Measure: A Sermon to a King 249
25. Cecil’s Interrogations: Phelippes’s Lies and Sterrell’s Equivocations 263
26. A Stir in Wales—The Whitsun Commotion, 1605 271
27. The Gunpowder Treason 275
28. Conclusion: The State of the English ­Counter-Reformation after Gunpowder 288
Chapter Notes 291
Bibliography 344
Index 353

Book Reviews & Awards

“exhaustively researched”—British Catholic History; “valuable”—Journal of Jesuit Studies.