(Sir Francis Walsingham features fictitiously in the novel, When the Time is Ripe by Tony Thistlewood. Walsingham fears for the Queen's safety when Lord Burghley employs a young orphan of unknown parentage as his assistant secretary. Sir Francis sets his spies to find out everything about this upstart.)
Sir Francis Walsingham will always be remembered as the founder of what eventually became the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service.
When, in July 1553, Queen Mary I ascended the throne and started burning traitors and Protestants at the stake, Sir Francis Walsingham, being an ardent Protestant, sensibly left England. He travelled throughout Europe making many useful contacts that would serve him well in later years. During this time, Walsingham became enamoured with the political philosophy of that infamous Florentine, Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.
After Queen Mary’s death in November 1558, Sir Francis Walsingham returned to England and entered politics as the Member of Parliament for Banbury. His talents were soon recognised by Lord Burghley. After a two-year spell as Ambassador to France, Lord Burghley brought Walsingham home and promoted him to the position of Queen Elizabeth's Principal Secretary for the South.
The office of Principal Secretary, sometimes referred to as Secretary of State although that term was probably never used in sixteenth century England, eventually became the Foreign Office. To this day, the Foreign Office is responsible for the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI-6.
Snapshot Bio of Sir Francis Walsingham
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Date of Death:
* Dates are unknown because many
records were lost when the Palace of Whitehall, the largest palace in
Europe, was destroyed by fire in 1698. The Banqueting House is all that
remains today of the original buildings.
1566 Ursula St Barbe, (d. 1602), widow of Sir Richard Worsley.
Barne Elms, Barnes, London. This house no longer exists.
Sir Francis Walsingham features fictitiously in Tony Thistlewood's historical novel:
Back to Home from Historical Characters - Sir Francis Walsingham
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