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Tudor Minute April 6, 1590: Francis Walsingham Dies

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for April 6.

Today we mark the death, in 1590, of Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s private secretary, and the man who developed her extensive spy network, catching Catholics, and anyone suspected of having loyalties to anyone other than Elizabeth (this includes Mary Queen of Scots).

Walsingham was born into a Protestant family, and had to flee to Switzerland during the reign of Mary I, returning after Elizabeth became Queen. He was elected to Parliament, and served in the Parliament that confirmed Henry’s break with Rome, and created the Religious Settlement. He was deeply affected by the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in France when Protestants were killed throughout the country in a weeks-long spree by Catholics. He worked for Cecil, and together the two men worked to bring down anyone who had suspected loyalties.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at, where there is an episode on Walsingham.


Episode 027: Francis Walsingham