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WALSINGHAM Sir Francis and Elizabethan Privy Council - Letter Signed 1583 confiscating the goods of a plotter

  • £4,500.00

Sir Francis WALSINGHAM (1532-1590) and Elizabethan Privy Councilors

Privy Council Letter Signed (“Bromley canc[ellarius]”, “W[illiam] Burghley”, “E[dward] Lyncoln”, “F[rancis] Bedford”, “Chr[ristopher] Hatton” and “Fra[ncis] Walsyngham”), to Thomas Griesley, sheriff of Staffordshire, ordering the seizure of all Lord Paget’s goods in the county.
1 page folio with panel of address leaf tipped onto the verso, tipped into boards together with reproductions of engravings of Sir Thomas Bromley, Francis Russell Earl of Bedford, Clinton Earl of Lincoln also tipped in. St. James’ [Palace], 6 December 1583. 
“. . . Where it is informd that there is certen stuffe and other goods of the Lorde Pagete at and about his howses at Burton, Beaudesert, and other places in that county of Stafford within the Bayliswike, All which for special causes the Queens Majestie willith shalbe furthcoming at her hyghnesses pleasure. These are therefore in accomplishment of her Majesties order, to will and require you Immediately upon the sight herof to resort to the said houses and other places of his within that county And to make seasure of all suche goods as you shall fynd there and in any other place likely to be his. Admitting no color of any other mans clayme, until trial shalbe made, And to reteyn the same goods in your owne custody Or ells bestow them all by Inventory in some convenyent rooms of those howses and other places according to the natures thereof, in the safe custody and charge of sufficient and answerable persons, upon the view thereof by your self and other Indifferent persons, Until upon your advertisement hither, further order may be taken therin. You shall also inform your self by all good meanes, Whether any goods or Chattels of his have been lately conveyed unto any other place within your rule, or unto any other place out of it. And upon tryall thereof you shall also get the same into your handes and bestow them in lyke safety, if they be within the shire, If not, then to be further ordrd upon your advertisement. We pray you also to lock up safely all suche wrytinges as you shall fynde in any of those howses, without disordring any of them. And of your doings herein to advertise us with speede in particularities. . .”
Thomas Paget, 4th Baron Paget, came from a noted Catholic family; his father had been one of Mary I’s ministers. Thomas’ younger brother, Charles, moved to Paris in the early 1580’s, perhaps to find the freedom to exercise the Catholic faith, but at the same time he acted as agent for Mary Queen of Scots. Thomas himself had arranged for the Jesuit priest Edmund Campion to preach in London in 1580. Walsingham, Elizabeth I’s great spymaster, had both brothers under close surveillance.
It was in this very dangerous atmosphere that the Throckmorton Plot, which aimed to place the imprisoned Catholic Mary Queen of Scots on the throne of England, with the help of a French invasion under the Duc de Guise, was uncovered. Thomas immediately fled to join his brother in France, although there was no concrete evidence that he was implicated. However, his brother’s close, and well-known connection with Mary, Thomas’ own Catholicism and the fact that many of the plotters came from the Midlands, as he did, evidently convinced him that it would be prudent to leave England, at least for the time being. He claimed that he was travelling in order to find a cure for his gout, a plausible, if feeble, excuse.
England sought his extradition from France, without success, and his estates were seized by the government. Four years later, after the discovery of the Babington Plot, he was convicted of treason.
While serving Mary I, Thomas Paget’s father had been in favour with Mary’s husband, Philip II of Spain, and it was now Philip who granted Paget a pension, allowing him to live in some comfort on the continent. He moved to the Spanish Netherlands, where he died, in Brussels, in 1590.
The signatories of this document are among the most important and interesting figures of the Elizabethan era. Francis Walsingham, generally remembered as Elizabeth’s spymaster, was also a great diplomat; William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth’s Secretary of State was probably her closest and most trusted advisor; Sir Christopher Hatton, trusted favourite of Elizabeth was among those who found Mary Queen of Scots guilty of treason; Sir Thomas Bromley, Lord Chancellor who, three years later, was to apply the Great Seal to the death warrant of Mary Queen of Scots; Edward Fiennes de Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, Lord High Admiral; and Francis Russell, Earl of Bedford.
The letter, tipped in to boards together with portraits of some of the signatories, is frayed at the right edge, with no loss of text, and has some visible foxing, particularly over the top half of the letter, but the text remains entirely legible.

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