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The Ruthless 16th-Century Spy Network That Kept Queen Elizabeth Safe

The Ruthless 16th-Century Spy Network That Kept Queen Elizabeth Safe

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In late 16th-century England, Queen Elizabeth was a Protestant royal who faced perpetual threats to her life and reign. Real enemies and exaggerated fears led to paranoia—and the royal court responded with a secret war.

In what would become England’s first great brush with espionage, spies and even kidnappers were deployed to keep the queen safe.

Threats From Spain and Mary Queen of Scots

The threats facing late Tudor England came from both home and abroad. Decades of hostility between Spain and England were exacerbated by England’s provocative policy of letting privateers raid Spanish treasure fleets. As the Spanish King Philip II lost patience with his piratical neighbors, the English rightly feared invasion. In 1588, Spain dispatched a 130-ship naval fleet as part of a planned invasion of England. The Spanish Armada ultimately failed, but it fueled paranoia about Spanish intrusions.

Within England, meanwhile, Mary Queen of Scots, a rival for Elizabeth’s throne, was living under house arrest. Some Catholics hoped to overthrow Elizabeth and replace her with Mary. Catholic priests such as Edmund Campion were smuggled into England, where they preached to secret congregations. To some, they were upholders of true faith. To Elizabeth, they were secret agents stirring up treason.

Fear and anxiety riddled the English court. “It’s the same sort of thing that the U.S. went through with communism in the 1950s,” says Patrick Martin, historian and author of Elizabethan Espionage.

Elizabethan Spies in Action

The first significant covert operation was the kidnapping of John Story in 1570. An English Catholic, Story had fled to the Low Countries, where he plotted against Elizabeth while working for the Spanish. Sir William Cecil, one of Elizabeth’s chief advisors, ordered agents to kidnap Story and bring him home for questioning. Cecil’s agents tricked Story into searching their boat, trapped him onboard, and whisked him away.

Another of Elizabeth’s advisors, Sir Francis Walsingham, built up an ongoing spy network. A man of incredible intelligence and cunning, Walsingham used merchants to gather intelligence from across Europe.

“Merchants were very useful in moving secret information about,” says Stephen Alford, professor of early modern British history at the University of Leeds. “Merchants and their factors and agents are used to moving around Europe relatively easily.”

Walsingham’s men infiltrated Catholic circles at home and abroad. The letters of foreign ambassadors and nobles were copied by English agents while the names and movements of English rebels were carefully gathered.

Cyphers Break the Babington Plot

The spies had a few special tricks up their sleeves. “They practiced secret inks,” explains Alford. “Quite a lot of use of code and cypher, which to our eyes looks relatively unsophisticated, although it develops an increasing sophistication.”

Cyphers became particularly important during the infamous Babington Plot, when Walsingham’s agents decrypted letters to and from Mary Queen of Scots. This provided evidence that Mary was conspiring against Elizabeth, leading to Mary’s trial and execution.

The unravelling of the Babington plot was a dramatic success, but it was far from the only one. Several of the dreaded priest infiltrators were found by an agent named George Eliot, who had infiltrated Catholic households as a servant. These priests were arrested and put on trial.

Between 1593 and 1594, agents uncovered an alleged plot by the Queen’s own physician, Dr. Rodrigo Lopez. Lopez had been in secret contact with the Spanish court and was accused of scheming to assassinate Elizabeth. In 1588, Spain had dispatched a 130-ship naval fleet as part of a planned invasion of England. The invasion failed, but with the invasion fresh in people’s minds, it was easy to imagine that the accusations against Lopez were true. Despite Lopez’s protestations of innocence, he was executed for treason.

In addition to thwarting Catholic plots at home, the Elizabethan spy network gathered intelligence on foreign schemes. This included military and political plans, as well as the identities of Catholic agents being prepared in Rome.

Francis Walsingham's Death Leads to Unraveling

Walsingham died in 1590 and since there was no structure in place to maintain the spy network, much of his work was lost. The Earl of Essex and Sir Robert Cecil both tried to take Walsingham’s place as spymaster, using their achievements to compete for position at court. But, with no single person in charge, English agents often failed to collaborate.

With time and practice, Cecil became a highly effective spymaster, running a network of agents through his secretariat. Still, the lack of cooperation between him and Essex meant that information fell through the gaps. Spies provided no advance warning of the second and third Spanish armadas, and if these fleets had not been scattered by storms then England would have been exposed to attack.

Christopher Marlowe Clad in Mystery

The nature of spying means that evidence for it is incomplete. Little is known about Spanish spies against England, while mystery hangs around the possible role of 16th-century playwright Christopher Marlowe. Some claim that he was a spy for the court, and that this led to his murder in 1593. But without better evidence, historians will never be sure.

England’s first great experiment in government-backed spying network brought down a queen and perhaps a playwright, saw kidnappings, executions and murders. The fact that Queen Elizabeth reigned for 44 years—and died naturally in her sleep—is evidence of its success.

2. Non-Detectable Fragments

The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons bans the use of non-metallic fragment in war because they can’t be found by using X-rays. The fragments are said to cause unnecessary suffering. Surgeons have to go through the body by hand looking for these fragments

Yes, Tony Stark is technically a war criminal.

While plastic itself isn’t prohibited in weapons production, using plastic as the primary effect is.

Online Ballot

If you wish, instead, to download a ballot, print, and mail it back, use this PDF.

Voting closes on 27 December 2019

Gifts appropriate for intelligence officers, colleagues, recruitments, agents, advisors, and family.

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Space War Threats from China, Russia Getting New U.S. Assessment. The U.S. intelligence community is updating its assessment of space warfare capabilities of Russia and China as military commanders express concerns about advances in the adversaries' ability to jam, ram or destroy satellites in orbit.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten requested the National Intelligence Estimate before he left his prior command at the U.S. Strategic Command, and it "is being worked by the IC at this time," said Lt. Col. Christina Hoggatt, an Air Force spokeswoman. Hyten is now the U.S.'s No. 2 military officer.

The new U.S. Space Command will use the updated intelligence estimate "alongside current operations and critical information from our international, civil, and commercial partnerships, to identify and drive" future "training and acquisition requirements," Hoggatt said. [Read more: Capaccio/Bloomberg/11November2019]

Lithuania Vote Paves Way for Large Spy Swap with Russia. Lithuanian lawmakers adopted a bill Thursday that is paving the way for a spy swap with neighboring Russia.

The exchange could include a Norwegian citizen serving a 14-year sentence for espionage in a Russian jail.

Lithuania's parliament voted 76-2 to give the country's president the right to pardon a convict involved in a spy swap deal. [Read more: AP/11November2019]

German Intelligence Agencies Open New Spy School in Berlin. Germany's intelligence agencies are inaugurating a joint spy school in the heart of Berlin, a city that was dubbed the ‘capital of spies' during the Cold War and remains a hotspot of espionage.

The heads of the foreign and domestic spy agencies on Tuesday officially opened the Center for Intelligence Service Training close to where the Berlin Wall once sliced the city in two.

Officials say agents will be taught how to fend off cyberattacks and foil terrorists. The new training center features workshops and chemistry labs.

The spy school is located at the new headquarters of the foreign intelligence agency BND, which was opened earlier this year and provides space for 4,000 staff. It was previously based in a sprawling Nazi-era complex outside Munich. [AP/12November2019]

Pakistan Chief of Spy Agency Visits Afghan Official in Kabul. An Afghan official says a Pakistani delegation is in Kabul to meet Afghan authorities amid increased tensions.

Monday's meeting is the first since the Pakistani Embassy closed its consular section in Kabul earlier this month, citing unspecified security concerns.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have an uneasy relationship. Kabul blames Islamabad for supporting the Taliban in the country's protracted war, a charge Pakistan denies.

The two countries also trade accusations that each side is firing across their shared border. Cross-border clashes killed three Afghan women last month. [Read more: AP/11November2019]

Austrian Army Colonel Charged with Spying for Russia. A retired colonel from the Austrian army is facing up to 10 years in prison on charges of passing on military secrets to Russia. The case has strained diplomatic ties between Vienna and Moscow.

Prosecutors in the Austrian city of Salzburg on Friday charged a 71-year-old former Austrian army colonel with having worked for Russia's military intelligence service for at least a quarter of a century. The case was uncovered a year ago.

The charges brought against the retired colonel included committing espionage to the detriment of Austria, betraying state secrets and the deliberate betrayal of military secrets, according to a statement from police and the prosecutor's office cited in the Kurier newspaper.

The man is accused of having provided comprehensive information on weapons systems and tasks of the army and air force, using radio, satellite communications and special software to transfer data to his handling officer at Russia's GRU intelligence agency. [Read more: Jones/DW/8November2019]

The Most Decorated Soldier in American History. As we look back on American military heroes for Veteran's Day, the list includes generals, West Point graduates and famous politicians. The most decorated veteran of all time, however, is a lawyer who went on to become the person widely considered the father of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In his recent book, "Hope and History: A Memoir of Tumultuous Times," famous 20th-century diplomat Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel described in great detail his years as an aide to William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan. Over the course of the section on Donovan, he describes the military career of a man who is the only American to have won all four of the highest military honors: the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal and the National Security Medal.

Donovan's early life had nothing to do with the military or military intelligence. He was born in Buffalo in 1883. He eventually became a college football star, went to Columbia Law School and entered private practice. [Read more: McIntyre/247wallst/11November2019]

In Cold War Berlin, the Americans had a Tunnel, but the Soviets had a Mole.
This book is really two separate stories. One is about a tunnel, the other about a traitor one embodies ingenuity, the other evil. But they intersect in Berlin during the depths of the Cold War, when the West was petrified that the Soviets would stage an unprovoked and undetected assault. Steve Vogel quotes CIA chief Allen Dulles warning President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953, "The Russians could launch an atomic attack on the United States tomorrow."

That fear of annihilation motivated the United States and Britain to dig a tunnel from the American sector of Berlin into the Soviet sector, where the allies could tap into key telephone lines that ran close to the border and overhear the plans of Russian military and intelligence officers. Richard Helms, later the CIA director, called it "the most elaborate and costly secret operation ever undertaken within Soviet-occupied territory." Costly and risky, but the stakes were enormous. As Vogel writes, "The Berlin tunnel was born of. desperation."

The Soviets were equally desperate. Their goal was to counteract Western power and pressure, and they had a secret weapon - not a missile but a man, a highly placed British intelligence officer named George Blake who had turned against his country years before and was assigned to take minutes at a top-secret meeting that outlined the tunnel project. He gave his Soviet handlers a copy of those minutes and a "simple sketch" of the tunnel's route.

Here is the supreme irony at the core of this tale: The Russians heard about the tunnel before it began, yet did nothing to stop it. [Read more: Roberts/WashingtonPost/8November2019]

In German it was called Operation Rösselsprung, which translates to "Long Jump." Its goal was to kill or kidnap the Allies' "Big Three" leaders - Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt - when they met in Tehran, Iran, in November 1943. That the plan did not succeed is attributable to smart intelligence work, a drunken disclosure, and a bit of good luck.

Perhaps no operation was more audacious or had greater consequences to the war's outcome if it had succeeded than Long Jump. Former Soviet Lieutenant General and KGB intelligence officer Vadim Kirpichenko said, "The first secret report that this act was being planned came from Soviet intelligence officer Nikolai Kuznetsov, who learnt about it during a conversation with SS-Sturmbannführer Ulrich von Ortel. Ortel was the chief of the sabotage group in Copenhagen, which was preparing the operation. While drunk, the senior German counterintelligence officer blurted out that preparations were underway to assassinate the Big Three. Later the Soviet Union and Britain discovered other facts confirming that preparations had been made to assassinate Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt." [Read more: WarfareHistoryNetwork/9November2019]

Anthony Blunt: The True Story of the Queen's Art Adviser and a Soviet Spy Featured in The Crown. Netflix's The Crown is set to delve into the murky tale of a Soviet spy working within the walls of Buckingham Palace.

Anthony Blunt was once part of the infamous Cambridge Five spy ring - and admitted as much - but how did he come to be Queen Elizabeth II's art advisor?

Despite confessing to being a mole, deep inside British intelligence his secret was kept closely guarded for decades before a certain prime minister ended the 15-year cover up.

How did Anthony Blunt become a spy? [Read more: Alibhai/iNews/11November2019]

Vietnam Veteran: 'Take Better Care of our Veterans.' Retired United States Army Col. Richard "Dick" Moore on Monday said it had been more than 50 years since he last stood at a podium on the University of Lynchburg's campus.

"A lot has changed since then," said Moore, a 1963 graduate of Lynchburg College. "But a lot also has remained the same."

Since his graduation in 1963, Moore served two combat tours in Vietnam - one with the 101st Airborne Division and another with the 23rd Infantry Division - and served 31 years in all three of the major U.S. intelligence agencies - the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and Central Intelligence Agency.

"I've traveled a long road between then and now," Moore said. [Read more: Keith/NewsAdvance/11November2019]

The Ruthless 16th-Century Spy Network That Kept Queen Elizabeth I Safe. In late 16th-century England, Queen Elizabeth was a Protestant royal who faced perpetual threats to her life and reign. Real enemies and exaggerated fears led to paranoia - and the royal court responded with a secret war.

In what would become England's first great brush with espionage, spies and even kidnappers were deployed to keep the queen safe.

The threats facing late Tudor England came from both home and abroad. Decades of hostility between Spain and England were exacerbated by England's provocative policy of letting privateers raid Spanish treasure fleets. As the Spanish King Philip II lost patience with his piratical neighbors, the English rightly feared invasion. In 1588, Spain dispatched a 130-ship naval fleet as part of a planned invasion of England. The Spanish Armada ultimately failed, but it fueled paranoia about Spanish intrusions.

Within England, meanwhile, Mary Queen of Scots, a rival for Elizabeth's throne, was living under house arrest. Some Catholics hoped to overthrow Elizabeth and replace her with Mary. Catholic priests such as Edmund Campion were smuggled into England, where they preached to secret congregations. To some, they were upholders of true faith. To Elizabeth, they were secret agents stirring up treason. [Read more: Knighton/History/6November2019]

How Codebreakers Helped Secure U.S. Victory in the Battle of Midway. In May 1942, U.S. and Australian naval and air forces were facing off against the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Battle of the Coral Sea in the South Pacific. But in a windowless basement at Pearl Harbor, a group of U.S. Navy codebreakers had intercepted Japanese radio messages suggesting Japan was planning an entirely different - and potentially far more damaging - operation in the Pacific theater.

Led by Lieutenant Commander Joseph Rochefort, the team of cryptanalysts and linguists made up the U.S. Navy's Combat Intelligence Unit (better known as Station Hypo). By April 1942, they had gotten so good at breaking Japan's main operational code, which they dubbed JN-25b, that they were able to intercept, decrypt and translate parts of Japan's radio messages within hours of when they were sent.

The radio traffic they intercepted that May suggested that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind behind the Pearl Harbor attack, was preparing a major invasion, involving four Japanese aircraft carriers along with many other ships, at a location designated with the initials "AF."

Station Hypo had little doubt as to what "AF" referred to: the U.S. naval and air base on Midway Atoll, two tiny islands located in the central Pacific, around 1,200 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor. Back in March, a Japanese plane reporting weather conditions near the islands had also mentioned "AF," suggesting strongly that the designator referred to Midway.

But not everyone was convinced the codebreakers were right. [Read more: Pruitt/History/7November2019]

Russia's Suspected Internet Cable Spy Ship Appears Off Americas. A controversial suspected spy ship has arrived in the Americas, open source intelligence indicates. According to position tracking data, the Russian Navy's Yantar left her home port about a month ago, and has not been visible on open sources until suddenly appearing in the Caribbean on Friday. That she appeared on ship trackers so suddenly is unusual.

She has gained attention in the past for hovering in the vicinity of the undersea cables which connect the world. Called Submarine Communications Cables (SCC), these crisscross the world's oceans carrying Internet traffic and military communications.

Yantar is a ship of particular interest among Western Navies. According to naval officers familiar with the situation, she is suspected of being involved in placing listening devices on undersea communications.

Yantar stands out because she is specially equipped for these types of mission, with at least three separate systems for conducting seabed warfare. [Read more: Sutton/Forbes/10November2019]

Two Years In, How Has a New Strategy Changed Cyber Operations? By 2013 U.S. networks were already were under constant attack from sophisticated nation-state actors. Hackers stole millions of sensitive records from the Office of Personnel Management, gained access to White House networks and destroyed dozens of computers at Sony Pictures from thousands of miles away.

But the Department of Defense's own cyber teams couldn't hit back or work on enemy networks abroad because, officials said, the rules for such operations were incredibly stringent. In fact, one U.S. senator said DoD didn't conduct an offensive operation for five years. That's not to say the United States sat idly by in cyberspace - experts pointed to covert strikes and intrusions - but it does mean the Pentagon rarely or never used cyber operations as an overt response or to flex its power.

That was then. [Read more: Pomerleau/FifthDomain/11November2019]

Twitter Employee Surveillance For Saudi Arabia Raises Questions About Company's Cybersecurity And Governance. On November 5, the U.S. Justice Department filed a criminal complaint against two former Twitter employees and an accomplice, alleging that they had violated 18 U.S.C. § 951 by acting as agents of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General. The complaint alleges that the former employees, Ali Alzabarah and Ahmad Abouammo, acted at the direction of the Saudi government. Their intermediary, Ahmed Almutairi, is a Saudi citizen who came to the U.S. on a student visa and resided in the U.S. from August 2014 to May 2015. He controls a social media company in Saudi Arabia that performs work for the Saudi Royal Family, including "Royal Family Member-1, presumed to be Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Alzabarah, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, received a computer science degree in the U.S. and worked for Twitter as a site reliability engineer from around August 2013 to December 2015. Abouammo, a U.S. citizen, was a media partnership manager responsible for the Middle East and North Africa regions for Twitter. The Complaint states that both employees had access to proprietary and confidential Twitter information about Twitter users, including email addresses, birthdates, phone numbers, and Internet protocol (IP) addresses. [Read more: Westby/Forbes/12November2019]

Jim Child, Renown NSA Linguist
James Robert Child, 94, a Renown NSA Linguist, died 29 October 2019.
Born in Troy, NY, Jim immediately displayed an astonishing ability in linguistics, which strongly guided the direction of his life. His early acquisition of Chippewa words and phrases (at age 5) during a family vacation in Canada prefaced a longtime fascination with and career in linguistics. He studied German, Russian, Latin, and Greek while at Kent School in Connecticut. After graduating, Jim served in the US Army with the 3rd Infantry Division in Europe from 1944 to 1946, working as an Army interpreter in Germany after the war ended. He graduated from Princeton in 1949 with a major in German language and literature and a minor in Russian language. He subsequently earned a Master's at the University of Pennsylvania before leaving academia for government service.
Jim worked many years for the NSA specializing in theoretical and applied linguistics. He retired in 2001 with 48 years of federal service. He taught reading and grammar, in Bulgarian, Czech, Indonesian, Portuguese, Turkish, German, and Russian. Later in his career, he helped to develop instruments for government communities that measured language learning performance, and standardized methods for translators. During his career, he worked in some 27 different languages. His passion for linguistics meant many hours at his desk at home as well as work, poring over both modern and ancient manuscripts. He spent decades, in particular, analyzing and translating a 15th century handwritten and illustrated codex known as the Voynich manuscript, working with a colleague into his 90s to create and update a website. While teaching a course in Indonesian, he became acquainted with his future wife, Margaret. They shared a profound love of literature and a mutual dedication to their careers in teaching and government service.
They had three children, and Jim was a devoted husband. At home Jim could often be found reciting poetry, in English or some foreign tongue, while washing the dishes or mowing the lawn. His children fondly remember him reading bedtime stories aloud, brilliantly bringing many classic characters to life. They also share fond memories of outdoor adventures with their father: learning to play softball, throw a football, and ride bikes. Always an avid sports fan, Jim was thrilled that the Nationals were in the World Series this October. He was a member of the Phoenix Society
As a man of deep faith, Jim was devoted to the Episcopal church and his faith community at All Souls Episcopal Church in Washington DC. He had a rich spiritual and social life, due to his devotion to study, even temperament, and sincere interest in the lives and well-being of others. He continued to make diverse and new friendships throughout the course of his life.
He is survived by his wife Margaret, a sister, two daughters and other family. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to: 2853 Ontario Rd NW Apt 101, Washington, DC 20009.

John Pierucki, NSA Cryptographer
Ervin John Pierucki, Capt USN (Ret), 95, an NSA cryptographer, died 30 September 2019. John enlisted in the Navy in 1942 at age 18 and was initially assigned to a minesweeper in the Atlantic. Upon completion of a bachelor's degree in Naval Science and commissioning as Ensign, he completed two more shipboard assignments as Navigator and Communications Officer. After Russian language submersion training in Washington. DC from 1948 to 1949, he served in various Naval Security Group HQ and field assignments decrypting and translating Russian naval and air communications. His cryptologic background and Russian language expertise then led him to complete various cryptologic tours of duty at National Security Agency HQ, Ft. Meade, MD as well as at number of overseas field sites. John completed the SERE (survival, escape, resistance, & evasion) course in San Diego prior to beginning a sensitive assignment in Vietnam as the U.S. Defense Department Special Representative under Gen. Abrams. In 1970, John was awarded the Legion of Merit by the U.S. President for his exemplary performance, leadership, and technical support to further U.S. military objectives in the Republic of Vietnam.
After his naval service, John retired to Albuquerque, NM. He was a member of multiple Rotary clubs, most recently Rotary Club of Albuquerque Del Norte, where he was involved in the Club's and in Rotary International's (RI) philanthropic work. c programs worldwide, such as the eradication of polio, disaster relief, and illiteracy.
He is survived by a daughter, a son, a sister, and other family.

Jim Ryba, Senior NSA Official, former Chairman Phoenix Society
James Alden Ryba, 74, Senior NSA Official, former Chairman Phoenix Society, died 3 November 2019 of complications from Corticobasal Degeneration, a rare neurodegenerative disorder.
Jim spent his early years in Euclid, OH. Later, the family moved to Lake Lucerne, in Chagrin Falls, OH. He attended Muskingum College and upon graduation accepted an entry-level position with the National Security Agency and moved to the Washington DC area. Jim's career with the NSA spanned nearly four decades and entailed tours of duty in England and Hawaii, a rise to the ranks of the Senior Executive Service, and the receipt of multiple awards for service, including both the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1989 and the Exceptional Civilian Service Award in 2001. He retired in 2001 and happily spent many of his post-retirement days on the golf course. Aside from golfing, he loved spending time with lifelong friends, traveling the world with Barb, and solving the computer problems of anyone in need.
He enjoyed photography. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara, two daughters, and other family.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to his family at: 10351 Sawmill Parkway Apt #152, Powell, OH 43065

E3 Sentinel based in DC-area has unique opportunity for someone with strong communications and/or consulting skills and an interest in the homeland security space. The person who ends up in this role will be working directly with some senior federal clients to help design and implement a communications strategy for their agency. If interested in learning more, contact Rosanna Minchew at [email protected] More about E3 Sentinel is available here.

Explore the many career and contractor intelligence jobs available here. Jobs openings in Cyber Security include - Advisory, Architecture, Digital Forensics & Incident Response, Penetration Testing, Threat Research. They positions are needed here: New York, Chicago, Manila, Reston, Dallas, Atlanta, Suitland, Singapore, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Doha, Stockholm, London, Milpitas, multiple cities in Australia, Washington, Indianapolis, Tampa, Santiago, Alexandria, Seattle, Carlsbad, Houston, San Francisco, Arlington, Dubai, Amsterdam, Ft Belvoir, Minneapolis, Mexico City, San Diego, Boston, El Segundo, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Chiyoda, Ft Huachuca, Ft Gordon, Ft Meade, Ft Shafter, Kuwait City, Seoul, Sttutgart, Salt Lake City, Austin, Dublin, Bangalore, Cork, Colorado Springs. Explore the many career and contractor intelligence jobs available here.

Faculty Opportunities: Cybersecurity faculty, professionals, and Master's or PHD Graduates can find jobs for CAE designated institutions through the listings below. Listings are by University with the most recent at the top.

  • Department of Information and Decision Sciences (IDS)
    Cybersecurity - Assistant Professor Tenure Track - California State University, San Bernardino
  • College of Applied Science & Technology - University of Arizona
    Assistant Professor of Practice – Cyber Operations (Multiple Positions)
  • Fordham University, New York, NY: Arts & Sciences: Computer and Information Science
    Faculty position in Cybersecurity
  • CSU San Bernardino and Palm Desert Campus, CA
    Department of Information and Decision Sciences (IDS)
    Cybersecurity - Assistant Professor Tenure Track

Dear AFIO Members - I am a lawyer working in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I work in the area of immigration and refugee law, and am working on the case of an older Syrian man who is trying to be admitted to Canada.
I am looking to obtain written (paid) expertise (3-5 pages) on various subjects with respect to the Syrian Military Intelligence ('SMI'), between 1977 and 1982.
We are wondering if you or a colleague to whom you can refer this request, would be able to provide answers to a series of questions? We are willing to compensate this expert (or multiple experts). Please provide, in advance, what your fee would be.

If you would rather speak on the phone, please let me know.

Please reply to: Peter Shams, Avocat • Lawyer, [email protected] or call him at (Voice) 514.439.0800 (Fax) 514.439.0798. Address:
Hadekel Shams s.e.n.c.r.l./LLP, 305, rue Bellechasse est, bureau 400A, Montréal (Québec) H2S 1W9, Canada.

Speaker Tom Dyble will provide Part 2 of his presentation on "Chaos in Cairo: Arab Spring in Egypt" based on David D. Kirkpatrick's book "Into the Hands of the Soldiers: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East".
Location of event: "Sunnyside Up Cafe" formerly the "The Egg & I" restaurant on Menaul just east of Louisiana, next door to Chili's.
6909 Menaul Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87110, (505) 888-3447
Fee to attend: Meeting is Free.
11:00 AM (Arrive, Order Lunch - available at separate cost), 11:30 AM (Call To Order), 1:00 PM (Adjourn)

Our meetings are normally open to present and former members of Federal, Military (uniformed and civilian), State and Local Agencies and selective others who support the Intelligence Community.

If you desire further information, please contact one of the following:
Sam Shaw - Phone: 505-379-3963 e-mail: [email protected]
Tom Dyble - Phone: 505-299-3242 e-mail: [email protected]

Dr. Matthew Brazil, a non-resident Fellow at The Jamestown Foundation, worked in Asia for over 20 years as a U.S. Army officer, American diplomat, and corporate security manager. He is the co-author of Chinese Communist Espionage: An Intelligence Primer (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, Nov 2019)
Hitherto, almost all writings about Beijing's espionage and influence operations have focused on individual cases that shed little light on the actual nature of their organs of state security. Dr. Brazil will speak about how he and his co-author researched original sources in Chinese and unearthed new insights into Beijing's most secret operations at home and abroad.

RSVP: Your registration via Eventbrite may be quickly completed here.

Synopsis: This presentation by Edin Mujkic discusses Russian interference in Balkan politics, the American and European role in the Balkans, as well as the potential for escalation of the situation toward violence. From interference in the United States domestic politics to support of some of the most brutal regimes in the world, Russia is again the focus of attention. Whether it is media attention, or attention of intelligence and national security professionals, there is a consensus that Vladimir Putin is engaged in a campaign of undermining the post-World War II international theater and generally the Western democracies. While attention where Putin's next move will be, is usually focused on the Baltics or the Middle East, the situation in the Balkans is not generating much attention. The Balkans, always on the periphery of European politics, until it explodes, is fertile ground for Vladimir Putin to exploit its weaknesses and complicate European and world affairs. The political quagmire in Bosnia and Herzegovina that does not have a government since elections in the Fall of 2018, relations between Serbia and Kosovo, the role of Croatia, a NATO member, in internal affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are not only exploited, but directly influenced by Moscow.

Biography: Edin Mujkic is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Affairs for University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He is also a UCCS Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Faculty Fellow for 2017-2018. Edin received his BA from Auburn University Montgomery, majored in Political Science, with a minor in Criminal Justice. Edin followed up his Bachelor's Degree with a Master's in International Relations (2008) and was a Prince Khalid bin Sultan fellow. Upon completing his Master's degree, Edin entered the Public Administration and Policy Ph.D. program at Auburn University graduating December 2012. While earning his PhD, Edin furthered his education studying Strategic Leadership and National Security at Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. Edin is continuing his research focusing on national security, defense, homeland security and U.S. foreign policy.

For more information, please contact: [email protected]

Partisan political activism by current and former intelligence officers since mid-2016 is the largest and most significant politicization of intelligence by intelligence officers in U.S. history. This presentation will explore the causes and the wholly negative consequences of this new form of politicization for the IC and the country.

Dr. John A. Gentry was for 12 years an intelligence analyst at the CIA, where he worked mainly economic issues associated with the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries for two of those years he was senior analyst on the staff of the National Intelligence Officer for Warning. He is a retired U.S. Army Reserve officer, with most assignments in special operations and intelligence arenas. On active duty, he was executive officer of a special forces operational detachment. As a reservist, he was mobilized and spent much of 1996 as a civil affairs officer in Bosnia. Dr. Gentry also is an adjunct associate professor with the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. He formerly taught at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, at the National Intelligence University, and at George Mason University. His research interests primarily are in intelligence and security studies. He publishes frequently in Intelligence and National Security and International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence. Georgetown University Press published his co-authored book, Strategic Warning Intelligence: History, Challenges and Prospects, in early 2019. He is a member of the Editorial Committee of the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence. He is adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

Location: Society of Illustrators, 128 E 63rd St (between Park and Lexington), New York, NY 10065.
Timing: Registration starts at 5:30 pm, Speaker presentation starts at 6 pm. Fee: $50/person. Payment at the door only. Cash or check. Full dinner, cash bar.
RSVP: Strongly recommended that you RSVP to ensure space at event. Call or Email Chapter President Jerry Goodwin at [email protected] or 646-717-3776.

Dr. John Gans will be the guest speaker for the Los Angeles Chapter of AFIO and discuss key topics of his newly published book White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War, which covers the people and power of the National Security Council staff.
Gans is Perry World House's Director of Communications and Research. In addition to leading Perry World House's Graduate Associates program, he teaches Penn undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to joining Perry World House, he was the chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at the Pentagon. In addition to leading the writing team at the Defense Department, Gans served as senior speechwriter for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew.
In 2019, Gans published White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War, which the Wall Street Journal said was a "bottom-up history," The New Republic called "enlightening," and Lawfare concluded it was "rollicking and compellingly told." Gans earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

We look forward to your attendance. Please mark your calendar and your spouse or other guests are welcomed.

Event Location: 5651 W Manchester Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045. Map or Directions here.
Full refreshments served
RSVP: [email protected]
Questions to Vincent Autiero, President, AFIO-Los Angeles Chapter, at [email protected]

Jonna Mendez (Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations That Helped Win the Cold War), share (with late husband Tony Mendez) their experiences as spies in Moscow during the height of the Cold War in the mid-1980s. The authors begin with the initial list of "the Moscow Rules" and continue to discuss briefly the current state of affairs in Russia under Vladimir Putin, and how they interfered with the 2016 U.S. election. Additional details to follow in coming months.

Location: Society of Illustrators, 128 E 63rd St (between Park and Lexington), New York, NY 10065.
Timing: Registration starts at 5:30 pm, Speaker presentation starts at 6 pm. Fee: $50/person. Payment at the door only. Cash or check. Full dinner, cash bar.
RSVP: Strongly recommended that you RSVP to ensure space at event. Call or Email Chapter President Jerry Goodwin at [email protected] or 646-717-3776.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019, 6:30 pm - Washington, DC - "Agents of Influence" by Henry Hemming at the International Spy Museum

When we talk about outside influence and "fake news" tactics in today's politics, it's surprising to be reminded that foreign intervention in American policy is hardly new. As World War II raged into its second year, Britain sought a powerful ally to join its cause—but the American public was sharply divided on the subject. Canadian-born MI6 officer William Stephenson, with his knowledge and influence in North America, was charged with changing US opinion by any means necessary. Join Henry Hemming, author of Agents of Influence: A British Campaign, a Canadian Spy, and the Secret Plot to Bring America into World War II, as he shares Stephenson's ingenious propaganda efforts from forging documents to thwarting the anti-war "America First" movement.

Agents of Influence will be available for sale and signing at the event.

Tickets: $10 | Members: FREE! Buy tickets here.

This Boston University Event is sponsored by The Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, the BU Police Department & the Metropolitan College of Applied Social Sciences

DNA has been used for criminal justice purposes since the 1980s but current DNA methods are slow and some labs are backlogged by years. The recent development of Rapid DNA has reduced processing time from months to minutes, increasing expediency and accuracy. Learn more about this cutting edge technology with transformational global implications.

Speakers include:
Ed Davis, Former Boston Police Commissioner,
John Boyd, Office of Biometric Identity Management, Department of Homeland Security,
Richard Seiden, M.D., Ph.D., Founder & Chief Scientific Officer, ANDE Corp.

A panel of subject matter experts including:
Prof. Robin Cotton, Ph.D., Director, Biomedical Forensic Science, BU School of Medicine.

The conference chair is Prof. John Woodward, J.D., Pardee School.

Event Location: Barrister's Hall, BU School of Law, 765 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA

There is no conference fee but you must RSVP to: Ms. Madison Sargeant [email protected]

The CAE in Cyber Security Symposium is right around the corner! CAE is Centers of Academic Excellence. If your institution belongs to the CAE-CD, CAE-2Y, CAE-R, or CAE-CO Program, you are eligible to participate. Details to follow several months from now.
Direct your questions to [email protected] What are CAEs? More information here.

Dr. Christopher C. Harmon is the Donald Bren Chair of Great Power Competition at Marine Corps University, where he teaches at schools such as Command and Staff College and the School of Advanced Warfighting.
Some terrorist campaigns are short some last for decades. Most terrorist campaigns do end. but how? The answers not only reveal much about a given terrorist group, they also aid us in identifying good strategies for countering such political violence. Dr. Harmon's work -- from a 2004 think tank report to lectures at the National Counter-Terrorism Center and Interpol headquarters -- has focused on five results: defeat of the terrorists by force arrest or killing of the leader(s) terrorism's turn up a pacific political path defeat via good grand strategy including law enforcement and terrorist success. His lecture will address a dozen important modern groups of varied ideologies and will include Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Long ago stirred by the question of this evening's topic, Dr. Harmon created a rubric and concept of analysis, articulated in many publications from 2004 through 2010, including a book chapter for Cambridge University Press in early 2006. He is lead author or editor of six books, including A Citizen's Guide to Terrorism & Counterterrorism, Toward A Grand Strategy Against Terrorism, and The Terrorist Argument. The latter book's thesis was presented at a Westminster Institute lecture in December, 2017 (
Harmon's most recent essays are in Combating Terrorism Exchange, the geopolitical journal Orbis, and Oxford Bibliographies.
Dr. Harmon wrote his political science dissertation on terrorism in the early 1980s at the Claremont Graduate School in California, where he had also earned his M.A. He continued that work as Legislative Aide for Foreign Policy to a member of Congress and, much later, director of counterterrorism studies programs in Asia and Europe for the U.S. government. A professor at civilian and military graduate schools, including the Naval War College, Dr. Harmon has also taught courses at The Institute of World Politics on terrorism and on counterterrorism.

Reception at 7:00 pm Dr Harmon at 7:30.

Where: The American Legion, 1355 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA

Questions: Contact Robert R. Reilly, Director, The Westminster Institute, 703-288-2885 or at [email protected]

AFIO's 788-page Guide to the Study of Intelligence. Peter C. Oleson, Editor, also makes a good gift. View authors and table of contents here.

Perfect for professors, students, those considering careers in intelligence, and current/former officers seeking to see what changes are taking place across a wide spectrum of intelligence disciplines. AFIO's Guide to the Study of Intelligence helps instructors teach about the large variety of subjects that make up the field of intelligence. This includes secondary school teachers of American History, Civics, or current events and undergraduate and graduate professors of History, Political Science, International Relations, Security Studies, and related topics, especially those with no or limited professional experience in the field. Even those who are former practitioners are likely to have only a limited knowledge of the very broad field of intelligence, as most spend their careers in one or two agencies at most and may have focused only on collection or analysis of intelligence or support to those activities.
For a printed, bound copy, it is $95 which includes Fedex shipping to a CONUS (US-based) address.
To order for shipment to a US-based CONUS address, use this online form,

To order multiple copies or for purchases going to AK, HI, other US territories, or other countries call our office at 703-790-0320 or send email to [email protected] to hear of shipment fees.

Order the Guide from the AFIO's store at this link.

The Guide is also available directly from Amazon at this link.

AFIO's Intelligence Community Mousepads are a great looking addition to your desk. or as a gift for others.
Made in USA. Click image for larger view.

These 2017 mousepads have full color seals of all 18 members of the US Intelligence Community on this 8" round, slick surface, nonskid, rubber-backed mouse pad with a darker navy background, brighter, updated seals. Also used, by some, as swanky coasters. Price still only $20.00 for 2 pads [includes shipping to US address. Foreign shipments - we will contact you with quote.] Order MOUSEPADS here.

Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are commentaries on Intelligence and related national security matters, based on open media sources, selected, interpreted, edited and produced for non-profit educational uses by members and WIN subscribers.

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Cecil was born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, in 1520, the son of Sir Richard Cecil, owner of the Burghley estate (near Stamford, Lincolnshire), and his wife, Jane Heckington.

Pedigrees, elaborated by Cecil himself with the help of William Camden the antiquary, associated him with the Welsh Cecils or Seisyllts of Allt-Yr-Ynys, Walterstone, [3] on the border of Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. [4] Cecil is an anglicisation of the Welsh Seisyllt. Lord Burghley acknowledged that the family was from the Welsh Marches in a family pedigree painted at Theobalds. [5]

The Lord Treasurer's grandfather, David had moved to Stamford. David Cecil secured the favour of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, to whom he was yeoman of the chamber. He was elected Member of Parliament for Stamford five times, between 1504 and 1523. He was Sergeant-of-Arms to Henry VIII in 1526, Sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1532, and a Justice of the Peace for Rutland. [6] He, according to Burghley's enemies, kept the best inn in Stamford. His eldest son, Richard, Yeoman of the Wardrobe (died 1554), married Jane, daughter of William Heckington of Bourne, and was father of three daughters and the future Lord Burghley. [4]

William, the only son, was put to school first at The King's School, Grantham, and then Stamford School, which he later saved and endowed. In May 1535, at the age of fourteen, he went to St John's College, Cambridge, [7] where he was brought into contact with the foremost scholars of the time, Roger Ascham and John Cheke, and acquired an unusual knowledge of Greek. He also acquired the affections of Cheke's sister, Mary, and was in 1541 removed by his father to Gray's Inn, without having taken a degree, as was common at the time for those not intending to enter the Church. The precaution proved useless and four months later Cecil committed one of the rare rash acts of his life in marrying Mary Cheke. The only child of this marriage, Thomas, the future Earl of Exeter, was born in May 1542, and in February 1543 Cecil's first wife died. Three years later, on 21 December 1546 he married Mildred Cooke, who was ranked by Ascham with Lady Jane Grey as one of the two most learned ladies in the kingdom, (aside from another of Ascham's pupils, Elizabeth Tudor, who was later Elizabeth I) and whose sister, Anne, was the wife of Sir Nicholas Bacon, and later the mother of Sir Francis Bacon. [4]

William Cecil's early career was spent in the service of the Duke of Somerset (a brother of the late queen, Jane Seymour), who was Lord Protector during the early years of the reign of his nephew, the young Edward VI. Cecil accompanied Somerset on his Pinkie campaign of 1547 (part of the "Rough Wooing"), being one of the two Judges of the Marshalsea. The other was William Patten, who states that both he and Cecil began to write independent accounts of the campaign, and that Cecil generously contributed his notes for Patten's narrative, The Expedition into Scotland. [4]

Cecil, according to his autobiographical notes, sat in Parliament in 1543 but his name does not occur in the imperfect parliamentary returns until 1547, when he was elected for the family borough of Stamford. In 1548, he was described as the Protector's Master of Requests, which apparently means that he was clerk or registrar of the court of requests which Somerset, possibly at Hugh Latimer's instigation, illegally set up in Somerset House to hear poor men's complaints. He also seems to have acted as private secretary to the Protector, and was in some danger at the time of the Protector's fall in October 1549. The lords opposed to Somerset ordered his detention on 10 October, and in November he was in the Tower of London. [4]

Cecil ingratiated himself with John Dudley, then Earl of Warwick, and after less than three months he was out of the Tower. On 5 September 1550 Cecil was sworn in as one of King Edward's two secretaries of state. In April 1551, Cecil became chancellor of the Order of the Garter. [8] But service under Warwick (by now the Duke of Northumberland) carried some risk, and decades later in his diary, Cecil recorded his release in the phrase "ex misero aulico factus liber et mei juris" ("I was freed from this miserable court"). [4]

To protect the Protestant government from the accession of a Catholic queen, Northumberland forced King Edward's lawyers to create an instrument setting aside the Third Succession Act on 15 June 1553. (The document, which Edward titled "My Devise for the Succession", barred both Elizabeth and Mary, the remaining children of Henry VIII, from the throne, in favour of Lady Jane Grey.) Cecil resisted for a while, in a letter to his wife, he wrote: "Seeing great perils threatened upon us by the likeness of the time, I do make choice to avoid the perils of God's displeasure." But at Edward's royal command he signed it. [9] He signed not only the devise, but also the bond among the conspirators and the letters from the council to Mary Tudor of 9 June 1553. [10]

Years afterwards, he pretended that he had only signed the devise as a witness, but in his apology to Queen Mary I, he did not venture to allege so flimsy an excuse he preferred to lay stress on the extent to which he succeeded in shifting the responsibility on to the shoulders of his brother-in-law, Sir John Cheke, and other friends, and on his intrigues to frustrate the Queen to whom he had sworn allegiance. [4] [11]

There is no doubt that Cecil saw which way the wind was blowing, and disliked Northumberland's scheme but he had not the courage to resist the duke to his face. As soon, however, as the duke had set out to meet Mary, Cecil became the most active intriguer against him, [12] and to these efforts, of which he laid a full account before Queen Mary, he mainly owed his immunity. He had, moreover, had no part in the divorce of Catherine of Aragon or in the humiliation of Mary during Henry's reign, and he made no scruple about conforming to the Catholic reaction. He went to Mass, confessed, and in no particular official capacity went to meet Cardinal Pole on his return to England in December 1554, again accompanying him to Calais in May 1555. [4]

He was elected to Parliament as knight of the shire for Lincolnshire in 1553 (probably), 1555 and 1559 and for Northamptonshire in 1563. [ citation needed ]

It was rumoured in December 1554 that Cecil would succeed Sir William Petre as Secretary of State, an office which, with his chancellorship of the Garter, he had lost on Mary's accession to the throne. Probably the Queen had more to do with this rumour than Cecil, though he is said to have opposed, in the parliament of 1555 (in which he represented Lincolnshire), a bill for the confiscation of the estates of the Protestant refugees. But the story, even as told by his biographer, [13] does not represent Cecil's conduct as having been very courageous and it is more revealing that he found no seat in the parliament of 1558, for which Mary had directed the return of "discreet and good Catholic members". [4]

The Duke of Northumberland had employed Cecil in the administration of the lands of Princess Elizabeth. Before Mary died he was a member of the "old flock of Hatfield", and from the first, the new Queen relied on Cecil. [4] He was also the cousin of Blanche Parry, Elizabeth's longest serving gentlewoman and close confidante. Elizabeth duly appointed Cecil Secretary of State. His tight control over the finances of the Crown, leadership of the Privy Council, and the creation of a highly capable intelligence service under the direction of Francis Walsingham made him the most important minister for the majority of Elizabeth's reign.

Foreign policy Edit

Dawson argues that Cecil's long-term goal was a united and Protestant British Isles, an objective to be achieved by completing the conquest of Ireland and by creating an Anglo-Scottish alliance. With the land border with Scotland safe, the main burden of defence would fall upon the Royal Navy, Cecil proposed to strengthen and revitalise the Navy, making it the centerpiece of English power. He did obtain a firm Anglo-Scottish alliance reflecting the common religion and shared interests of the two countries, as well as an agreement that offered the prospect of a successful conquest of Ireland. However, his strategy ultimately failed. His idea that England's safety required a united British Isles became an axiom of English policy by the 17th century. [14]

Though a Protestant, Cecil was not a religious purist he aided the Protestant Huguenots and Dutch just enough to keep them going in the struggles which warded danger from England's shores. But Cecil never developed that passionate aversion from decided measures which became a second nature to Elizabeth. His intervention in Scotland in 1559–60 showed that he could strike hard when necessary and his action over the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, proved that he was willing to take on responsibilities from which the Queen shrank. [4]

Generally he was in favour of more decided intervention on behalf of continental Protestants than Elizabeth would have liked, but it is not always easy to ascertain the advice he gave. He left endless memoranda lucidly (nevertheless sometimes bordering on the ridiculous) setting forth the pros and cons of every course of action but there are few indications of the line which he actually recommended when it came to a decision. How far he was personally responsible for the Anglican Settlement, the Poor Laws, and the foreign policy of the reign, remains to a large extent a matter of conjecture. [15] However, it is most likely that Cecil's views carried the day in the politics of Elizabethan England. The historian Hilaire Belloc contends that Cecil was the de facto ruler of England during his tenure as Secretary pointing out that in instances where his and Elizabeth's wills diverged, it was Cecil's will that was imposed. [ citation needed ]

Leimon and Parker argue that Cecil was the principal protector of Edward Stafford, the English ambassador to Paris and a paid spy who helped the Spanish at the time of the Spanish Armada. However, they do not claim Cecil knew of Stafford's treason. [16]

Domestic politics Edit

Cecil's share in the Religious Settlement of 1559 was considerable, and it coincided fairly with his own Anglican religious views. Like the mass of the nation, he grew more Protestant as time wore on he was happier to persecute Catholics than Puritans and he had no love for ecclesiastical jurisdiction. [1] His prosecution of the English Catholics made him a recurring character in the "evil counsellor polemics", written by Catholic exiles across the channel. In these pamphlets, polemicists painted a black picture of Burghley as a corrupting influence over the queen. [17] "The Queen will listen to none but unto him", exiled Catholic intelligencer Richard Verstegan wrote, "and somtymes, she is faine to come to his bedsyde to entreat him in some-things." [18] He warmly remonstrated with John Whitgift, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, over his persecuting Articles of 1583. The finest encomium was passed on him by the queen herself, when she said, "This judgment I have of you, that you will not be corrupted with any manner of gifts, and that you will be faithful to the state." [1]

Economic policy Edit

Cecil sought to ensure that policy was commensurate with the royal finances, which often led him advocating a cautious policy. [19] His economic ideas were influenced by the Commonwealthmen of Edward VI's reign: he believed in the necessity of safeguarding the social hierarchy, the just price and the moral duties due to labour. [20] In his economic policy he was motivated by a variety of factors, including those of national independence and self-sufficiency, as well as seeking to balance the interests of the Crown and the subject. [21] Cecil did not believe that economics and politics were separate or that there was a dichotomy between power and plenty. One of his biographers asserted that, for Burghley, "power was for defence from external enemies plenty for security at home. Cecil pursued both power and plenty. They were the foreign and domestic aspects of his economic nationalism". [22] He deplored the reliance on "foreign corn" and during an economic depression sought to ensure employment due to his fears of "tumults". [19] Cecil also used patronage to ensure the loyalty of the nobility. [22]

In Parliament Edit

William Cecil represented Lincolnshire in the Parliament of 1555 and 1559, and Northamptonshire in that of 1563, and he took an active part in the proceedings of the House of Commons until his elevation to the peerage but there seems no good evidence for the story that he was proposed as Speaker in 1563. In January 1561, he was given the lucrative office of Master of the Court of Wards and Liveries in succession to Sir Thomas Parry. [1] As Master of the Court of Wards, Cecil supervised the raising and education of wealthy, aristocratic boys whose fathers had died before they reached maturity. These included Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland. He is widely credited with reforming an institution notorious for its corruption, but the extent of his reforms has been disputed by some scholars. [23]

In February 1559, he was elected Chancellor of Cambridge University in succession to Cardinal Pole he was created M.A. of that university on the occasion of Elizabeth's visit in 1564, and M.A. of Oxford on a similar occasion in 1566. [1] He was the first Chancellor of University of Dublin, between 1592 and 1598. [24]

On 25 February 1571, Queen Elizabeth elevated him as Baron Burghley. The fact that Cecil continued to act as Secretary of State after his elevation illustrates the growing importance of that office, which under his son became a secretary of the ship of state. [1] In 1572 Cecil privately admonished the queen for her "doubtful dealing with the Queen of Scots." He made a strong attack on everything he thought Elizabeth had done wrong as queen. In his view, Mary had to be executed because she had become a rallying cause for Catholics and played into the hands of the Spanish and of the pope, who excommunicated Elizabeth in 1570 and sent in Jesuits to organise a Catholic underground. By 1585–6 these missionaries had set up a secret, but highly effective, underground system for the transport and support of priests arriving from the Continent. [25] [26] [27] Elizabeth's indecision was maddening finally in 1587 Elizabeth had Mary executed. [28]

Treasurer Edit

In 1572, Lord Winchester, who had been Lord High Treasurer under Edward, Mary and Elizabeth, died. His vacant post was offered to Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, who declined it and proposed Burghley, stating that the latter was the more suitable candidate because of his greater "learning and knowledge". [29] The new Lord Treasurer's hold over the queen strengthened with the years. [1]

Burghley House, near the town of Stamford, was built for Cecil, between 1555 and 1587, and modelled on the privy lodgings of Richmond Palace. [30] [31] It was subsequently the residence of his descendants, the Earls and Marquesses of Exeter. The house is one of the principal examples of 16th-century Elizabethan architecture, reflecting the prominence of its founder, and the lucrative wool trade of the Cecil estates. Cecil House was also built by Cecil in the 16th Century, as his London residence, an expansion of an already existing building. [a] Queen Elizabeth I supped with him there, in July 1561, "before my house was fully finished", Cecil recorded in his diary, calling the place "my rude new cottage." [32] It was later inherited by his elder son, Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, and was known as "Exeter House".

A new Theobalds House in Cheshunt was built between 1564 and 1585 by the order of Cecil, intending to build a mansion partly to demonstrate his increasingly dominant status at the Royal Court, and also to provide a palace fine enough to accommodate the Queen on her visits. [33] The Queen visited there eight times, between 1572 and 1596. An entertainment for Elizabeth, the Hermit's Welcome at Theobalds in May 1591 alluded to Burghley's retirement from public life. [34]

Burghley collapsed (possibly from a stroke or heart attack) in 1598. Before he died, Robert, his only surviving son by his second wife, was ready to step into his shoes as the Queen's principal adviser. Having survived all his children except Robert and Thomas, Burghley died at his London residence, Cecil House on 4 August 1598, and was buried in St Martin's Church, Stamford. [1]

Descendants Edit

William Cecil firstly married, Mary Cheke (Cheek), daughter of Sir Peter Cheke of Pirgo and Agnes Duffield, and had issue:

    (born 5 May 1542), who inherited the Barony of Burghley upon the death of his father, and was later created Earl of Exeter.

He secondly married, Mildred Cooke, eldest daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea, Essex and Anne Fitzwilliam, and had the following issue:

  • Frances Cecil (born c. 1556) (born 5 December 1556), who was the first wife of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and served as a Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I before her marriage. (born 1 June 1563), who inherited his father's political mantle, taking on the role of Chief Minister, and arranging a smooth transfer of power to the Stuart administration under King James I of England. He was later created Baron Cecil, Viscount Cranborne, and finally Earl of Salisbury.
  • Elizabeth Cecil (born 1 July 1564), who married William Wentworth of Nettlestead (c. 1555-1582), eldest son of Thomas Wentworth, 2nd Baron Wentworth.

Cecil's descendants include the Marquesses of Exeter, descended from his elder son Thomas and the Marquesses of Salisbury, descended from his younger son Robert. One of the latter branch, Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1830–1903), served three times as Prime Minister under Queen Victoria and her son, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.

William Cecil's private life was upright he was a faithful husband, a careful father and a dutiful master. A book-lover and antiquarian, he made a special hobby of heraldry and genealogy. It was the conscious and unconscious aim of the age to reconstruct a new landed aristocracy on the ruins of the old, Catholic order. As such, Burghley was a great builder, planter and patron. All the arts of architecture and horticulture were lavished on Burghley House and Theobalds, which his son exchanged for Hatfield. [1]

William Cecil's public conduct does not present itself in quite so amiable a light. As his predecessor, Lord Winchester, said of himself, he was sprung "from the willow rather than the oak". Neither Cecil nor Lord Winchester were men to suffer for the sake of obstinate convictions. The interest of the state was the supreme consideration for Burghley, and to it he had no hesitation in sacrificing individual consciences. He frankly disbelieved in toleration "that state", he said, "could never be in safety where there was a toleration of two religions. For there is no enmity so great as that for religion and therefore they that differ in the service of their God can never agree in the service of their country". [35] With a maxim such as this, it was easy for him to maintain that Elizabeth's coercive measures were political and not religious. To say that he was Machiavellian is meaningless, for every statesman is so, more or less especially in the 16th century men preferred efficiency to principle. On the other hand, principles are valueless without law and order and Burghley's craft and subtlety prepared a security in which principles might find some scope. [1]

The most prolonged of Cecil's surviving personal correspondences, lasting from 1566 until 1590, is with Nicholas White, an Irish judge. It is contained in the State Papers Ireland 63 and Lansdowne MS. 102, but receives hardly a mention in the literature on Cecil.

White had been a tutor to Cecil's children during his student days in London, and the correspondence suggests that he was held in lasting affection by the family. In the end, White fell into a Dublin controversy over the confessions of an intriguing priest, which threatened the authority of the Queen's deputised government in Ireland out of caution Cecil withdrew his longstanding protection and the judge was imprisoned in London and died soon after.

White's most remarked-upon service for Cecil is his report on his visit with Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1569, during the early years of her imprisonment. He may have published an English translation of the Argonautica in the 1560s but no copy has survived.

Cecil has been a character in many works of fiction connected with Elizabeth I's reign.

He has long been considered a likely model for the character of the King's calculating minister Polonius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet. [36]

Richard Attenborough depicted him in the film Elizabeth. He was played by Ben Webster in the 1935 film Drake of England. He was a prominent supporting character in the 1937 film Fire Over England, starring Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, and Flora Robson Burghley (spelled Burleigh in the film) was played by Morton Selten. He also appears in the television mini-series Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren, played by Ian McDiarmid was portrayed by Ronald Hines in the 1971 TV series Elizabeth R [37] by Trevor Howard in the 1971 film Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) and by Ian Hart in the 2005 miniseries The Virgin Queen. He is portrayed by David Thewlis in Roland Emmerich's Anonymous. Cecil is also portrayed by Ben Willbond in the BAFTA Award-winning children's comedy television series Horrible Histories in the spin-off film, Bill, he was played by Mathew Baynton. In the BBC TV miniseries Elizabeth I's Secret Agents (2017, broadcast on PBS in 2018 as Queen Elizabeth's Secret Agents), he is played by Philip Rosch.

As a stage character Cecil features prominently in Friedrich Schiller's verse drama Mary Stuart and Robert Bolt's Vivat! Vivat Regina! Bolt portrays him as intelligent, pragmatic, ruthless and entirely driven by the interests of the State and the Crown.

Cecil appears as a character in the novels I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles, The Virgin's Lover and The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory, and is a prominent secondary character in several books by Bertrice Small. He is a prominent character in Legacy, a novel of Elizabeth I by Susan Kay. He also appears prominently in the alternative history Ruled Britannia, by Harry Turtledove, in which he and his son Sir Robert Cecil are conspirators and patrons of William Shakespeare in an attempt to restore Elizabeth to power after a successful Spanish invasion and conquest of England. In addition, he is portrayed as a young man in Lamentation by C. J. Sansom. Burghley also appears in the espionage novels of Fiona Buckley, featuring Elizabeth I's half-sister, Ursula Blanchard.

Guy Pearce portrays Cecil in the 2018 historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, directed by Josie Rourke, which also stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I.

The 'Elizabethan class' Airspeed Ambassador G-ALZU of BEA that crashed in 1958 in the Munich air disaster, was named Lord Burghley. [38] [39]

Tudor spies: Elizabeth I's secret services UNCOVERED in a new BBC documentary

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Top 10 Facts About Elizabeth I

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But it was very different in the 16th century.

In those days candle flames were used to detect communications written in invisible ink made from milk or lemon juice and codebreakers laboured over ciphers.

The fascinating story of how the Tudor court established one of the world&rsquos first secret service in order to protect Queen Elizabeth I from assassination, terror and treason for more than 40 years is told in a BBC documentary series that starts on Monday.

It was a period when the country was divided along religious lines, a tension that could easily have descended into a civil war.

There were plots aplenty and the threats did not just come from internal sources but from malcontents abroad too.

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At his peak his espionage network is said to have numbered 53 spies and 18 agents in foreign courts

Robert Hutchinson - biographer

The father and son team of William and Robert Cecil and later the ruthless Sir Francis Walsingham &ndash also known as Elizabeth&rsquos spymaster &ndash were the men entrusted with the job of protecting Queen and country.

The methods used &ndash intercepting correspondence, deciphering codes, planting agents in the enemy camp and &ldquoentrapment&rdquo plots &ndash are techniques that have been deployed by counterespionage agencies the world over ever since.

At the time Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1558, following the death of her half-sister Mary, her kingdom was in an extremely restless mood.

Mary had restored Roman Catholicism to the country but her rule was marked by persecution of Protestants.

William Cecil (later Lord Burghley), who was to act as the queen&rsquos loyal adviser for the next four decades, and his son Robert gathered intelligence on those who were thought to pose a threat to the realm.

Queen Elizabeth I with Sir Francis pictured in 1586 and Cate Blanchett as the Queen

A new crisis emerged 10 years into Elizabeth&rsquos reign when Mary, Queen of Scots, viewed by many Catholics as the legitimate monarch, crossed the border into England having been forced to abdicate in Scotland.

William Cecil, who already had many other commitments, realised he would not have the time to give intelligence work its due and asked Sir Francis Walsingham to oversee Elizabeth&rsquos embryonic secret service.

Described by biographer Robert Hutchinson as &ldquoone of the great unknown heroes of English history&rdquo, Walsingham embraced his new role with great enthusiasm.

A Puritan he had witnessed the Catholic&rsquos St Bartholomew&rsquos Day massacre of Protestants in France in 1552 and believed that similar events would take place in England were the Queen to be deposed.

For Walsingham the end justified the means &ndash and the use of torture tool the rack to extract information from prisoners was routine while anyone found guilty of treason would be executed.

Walsingham presided over a secret service operation that was the forerunner of today&rsquos MI5.

Queen Elizabeth I from the painting by Zucchero at Hatfield House

&ldquoAt his peak his espionage network is said to have numbered 53 spies and 18 agents in foreign courts,&rdquo writes Hutchinson.

Walsingham&rsquos network of agents reached as far east as Turkey and as far south as North Africa.

At home he employed a team of technical experts to help him snare his prey.

Men such as the brilliant code breaker Thomas Phelippes and the nimble-fingered Arthur Gregory who could open letters and reseal them without any trace.

Walsingham&rsquos workload increased after the Pope declared Elizabeth a heretic in 1570, a move that greatly increased the chances of her being assassinated.

To keep him aware of foreign plots he relied on his agents embedded in the enemy camp.

One such spy was Charles Sledd, employed as a servant at the English College in Rome.

Portrait of William and Robert Cecil

&ldquoHe provided many physical descriptions of those priests and Jesuits who had secretly departed for England to facilitate their arrest,&rdquo says Hutchinson.

On the home front Walsingham set up a spy school to provide training for recruits &ndash who like today &ndash mainly came from Oxford and Cambridge.

In 1569 he foiled a northern rebellion led by Catholics with the aim of deposing Elizabeth and replacing her with Mary.

Two years later there was another plot, this time to assassinate Elizabeth, planned by an international banker called Roberto Ridolfi.

Ridolfi believed that foreign intervention was needed and the plan involved an invasion from The Netherlands.

But Walsingham&rsquos men knew exactly what was going on and explorer John Hawkins pretended to be part of the conspiracy and sent back details of their plans.

Queen Elizabeth I and Secretary of State Sir Francis Walsingham discussing the Babington conspiracy

Ridolfi &rsquos messenger was arrested at Dover and revealed everything under torture.

In 1573 the so-called Throckmorton plot was thwarted following information received by Henry Fagot, an agent of Walsingham&rsquos inside the French embassy.

Over time Elizabeth&rsquos spymaster became convinced that the intrigue would only end with Mary&rsquos execution, a measure that his mistress opposed.

So the wily Walsingham set out to trap Mary.

It took him many years but in the end he got what he wanted.

In 1586 he discovered that Mary, then imprisoned in Staffordshire&rsquos Chartley Castle, was corresponding with a group of Catholics headed by Anthony Babington.

Walsingham knew Mary was wary of the means she used to communicate so he employed a Catholic deacon called Gilbert Gifford to act as a double agent.

Queen Elizabeth I riding a horse as she reviews her troops

After gaining entry to the castle and winning Mary&rsquos confidence Gifford persuaded a brewer who supplied the castle to help him send Mary&rsquos encrypted letters to her supporters in the outside world.

They would be concealed in the watertight casing inside the stoppers of empty beer barrels.

Mary fell for the scheme and so Walsingham was able to read all her letters, which were in decipherable code.

What he needed most of all though was her to give consent to a Babington plot to kill Elizabeth.

When she did just that Walsingham, having read the letter, then used the forgery skills of Thomas Phelippes to add a postscript asking for the names of the other plotters.

Babbington supplied them and the men were arrested.

At last Walsingham had his smoking gun and Mary was arrested and put on trial for treason.

Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I in the 2007 drama Elizabeth: The Golden Age

She had, in the words of historian David Starkey, &ldquosigned her own death warrant&rdquo.

In court Mary was scathing about the methods used by Sir Francis to entrap her.

&ldquoSpies are men of doubtful credit,&rdquo she said, &ldquowho make a show of one thing and speak another.&rdquo

She was in no doubt who had engineered her downfall, crying out: &ldquoAll of this is the work of Monsieur de Walsingham for my destruction.&rdquo

The ruthless Sir Francis had achieved his goal and on February 8 1587 Mary was executed.

But the threat to the Crown did not end with her death.

Through his agent Antony Standen, who had made friends with the Tuscan ambassador to Madrid, Walsingham learnt about plans for a Spanish invasion.

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Series: None – Stand Alone
Publication Date: 8/27/18

Thrilling, exciting, interesting and romantic. This is my first book by this (I think fairly new) author and it definitely won’t be my last. It is well-written and well-plotted and I just couldn’t stop reading. I enjoyed all of the characters, even the villains and that is rare. Another thing I liked is that it wasn’t filled with Dukes, Earls, etc. Just plain folks in the northern region of England in 1569 – well – not plain folks as in farm lab Series: None – Stand Alone
Publication Date: 8/27/18

Thrilling, exciting, interesting and romantic. This is my first book by this (I think fairly new) author and it definitely won’t be my last. It is well-written and well-plotted and I just couldn’t stop reading. I enjoyed all of the characters, even the villains and that is rare. Another thing I liked is that it wasn’t filled with Dukes, Earls, etc. Just plain folks in the northern region of England in 1569 – well – not plain folks as in farm laborers, etc. but people who had nice homes, but weren’t necessarily the aristocracy.

In an exciting opening scene, we have our heroine, Madeline Vernon, riding into battle against the Queen’s army. Why? She wants to avenge her brother Robert’s hanging as a traitor. Actually, he was a traitor, but he never even got to have a trial for any facts to come out – he was just hanged. Those were some dangerous times between England and Scotland – Elizabeth was the Queen of England and Mary was Queen of Scotland. Mary was imprisoned by Elizabeth and the Catholic religion had been outlawed. Everyone was forced into the ‘new’ protestant religion. Naturally, the Catholics didn’t want to give up their religion and many of them went underground while others blatantly defied the law and openly practiced their religion.

The battle does not end well for the rebels lead by Lord Leonard Dacre. They were a rag-tag group armed with dirks and pitchforks – certainly no match for the highly trained and well-armed Royal troops. Many of the rebels were killed and even more were captured. Madeline (Maddy) was one of those captured and she spent six very trying days in prison awaiting her questioning/torture or her hanging. She had no idea which it would be, but she was sure it would be one or the other. She had so many regrets about what she had done – especially dragging two of her friends into the uprising. Then, her jailer comes to take her up for her interrogation – but – that isn’t really what she got. She receives an offer she can hardly refuse – become a spy in the home of someone the Crown believes is a traitor or hang.

Nicholas Ryder, a representative of the Crown, sat and awaited the prisoner’s arrival – and when she did arrive, she was the most bedraggled woman he’d seen in his entire life. The stench was unbelievable, she was injured, and you couldn’t even see her face for the dirt. He makes her an offer – assume the role of companion/secretary in the home of Lady Jane Dacre aunt to Leonard Dacre. Maddy is to spy on the Dacre’s to find out what, if anything, they had to do with any of the uprisings. This branch of the Dacres appear to be loyal to the queen, but there are doubts.

Maddy enters into what appears to be a loyal, protestant household – but there are so many undercurrents. Add in Mr. Vine, who Maddy knew many years ago as someone other than Mr. Vine – and an innocent sixteen-year-old maid who goes missing and you have quite a tale. Is Mr. Vine as evil as Maddy thinks he is? Where is the sweet maid and did Mr. Vine do something to her? Could Lady Dacre, who is kind to Maddy, really be a traitor?

As Maddy carries out her task and reports weekly to Nicholas, their relationship grows and they come to care for each other – but so very many things stand in their way and do their best to keep them apart.

I absolutely loved Nick’s ward – his nephew Daniel. He was a wonderful addition to the book because he was such a sweet and loving little boy – and so troubled. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him grow.

It is a lovely read and I’ll definitely be looking for more books by this author.

"I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."
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Madeleine "Maddy" Vernon is taken prisoner during a failed rebellion attempt. Maddy joined the rebellion to avenge her brother Robert&aposs death, he had been part of the previous uprising and was hanged as a traitor. While imprisoned, Maddy is brought before Nicholas Ryder.

Nicholas needs a spy, he offers Maddy a full pardon in exchange for her cooperation. She will be placed in service to Lady Jane Darce, a suspected sympathizer to Queen Mary of Scotland. Nicholas wants Maddy to find out if Lady D Madeleine "Maddy" Vernon is taken prisoner during a failed rebellion attempt. Maddy joined the rebellion to avenge her brother Robert's death, he had been part of the previous uprising and was hanged as a traitor. While imprisoned, Maddy is brought before Nicholas Ryder.

Nicholas needs a spy, he offers Maddy a full pardon in exchange for her cooperation. She will be placed in service to Lady Jane Darce, a suspected sympathizer to Queen Mary of Scotland. Nicholas wants Maddy to find out if Lady Darce or her step-son have any plans on aiding Queen Mary.

Maddy has no desire to be a spy, but she has even less desire to hang. She agrees to work with Nicholas, but reminds herself that despite her attraction to him, Nicholas is not her friend.

The intrigue starts almost as soon as she arrives, a man from her past is there using a false name, but she doesn't have a chance to tell Nicholas. Later she decides to keep that information to herself. She settles into a routine with Lady Darce and is able to glean a little information.

When she sees Nicholas again, she meets his ward/nephew Daniel. She is taken with the boy and admires Nicholas for his care of his nephew, who stopped speaking after his father's death. She wonders if she misjudged Nicholas. She passes on some of what she has learned, but doesn't tell him everything. Nicholas is fighting his attraction to her and when he learns that her brother is not dead and the Queen has pardoned her, he keeps that to himself - afraid she will leave if she learns the truth.

With danger, secrets, murder and intrigue dogging their every step, is it possible for them to find love?

I thought this book was well written, but I found it to be mediocre and I didn't care for Maddy. I never understood her motivation for keeping information from Nicholas and thought the story lagged a bit in the middle. The love scenes where warm, but I honestly never "felt" the love between them, it was almost as if the author was writing a spy novel and halfway through remembered that it was supposed to be a romance and threw in the required elements. I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book and settled for 3 stars because as an intrigue novel, I would rate this 4 stars, but I would be hard pressed to give it more than 2 stars as a romance.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*


By Fr. Dwight Longernecker

V ery few historical figures have been as hated and admired as England’s Queen Elizabeth I. On the one hand, she is por­trayed as “Gloriana” — Good Queen Bess or the “Virgin Queen.” She is the noble and virtuous heroine who led her country through times of crisis and threat to end her reign victorious, regal, wise, and calm.

On the other hand, Elizabeth is de­spised as the illegitimate daughter of a lecherous king and an adulterous vixen. Hated by Catholics, she is per­ceived as a cruel tyrant who ran a police state — hunting down and ruth­lessly torturing her en­emies before subjecting them to grisly, humiliat­ing public executions.

Like Henry VIII, her father, she is a con­troversial, larger-than-life character whose decisions and actions changed the course of history, the religion of England, and the hearts of her people.


To understand anyone, we must under­stand their family background, and this is never truer than for the tumultuous and troubled characters of the Tudor dynasty.

Henry VIII married the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon. A faithful, Catholic queen, Catherine only had one child who survived — a daughter, Mary. Desperate for a male heir and bewitched by the young lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII divorced Catherine and married Anne.

Anne also bore him only one child — the princess Elizabeth. After Boleyn was executed for adultery, Henry VIII married Jane Seymour, who gave birth to a son named Edward. After Seymour died from complications of childbirth, Henry married, one after another, three other women — none of whom produced an heir. On Henry’s death in 1547, three children remained: the boy Edward and the two princesses, Mary and Elizabeth. Although he was younger than his two half-sisters, Edward became king.

Anne Boleyn, by an unknown English artist, late 16th century. PHOTO: EVERETT – ART/SHUTTERSTOCK, PUBLIC DOMAIN

It might have seemed that the throne was in safe hands and the kingdom stable, but Edward was only 11 and sickly. Furthermore, succession to the throne of England was confus­ing and controversial — not only because the three heirs were from dubious parentage, but also because of religion.

The Seymour fami­ly were Protestant sym­pathizers, so Edward was brought up by the Protestants. Princess Mary, on the other hand, was faithful to her mother’s memory and staunchly Catholic. Elizabeth wavered between the two, and because many considered her il­legitimate, she held her cards close to her chest.

After Henry VIII’s death, events moved rapidly. Under the governance of his advisers, Edward retained and pro­moted his father’s break with Rome. But Edward died in 1553, when he was just 15 years old. This opened the way for Mary Tudor (the daughter of Catherine of Aragon) to succeed him. Catholics re­joiced as Mary brought England back to the Catholic faith. The restoration was not to last long, however. After a reign of just five years, Queen Mary died child­less, leaving Anne Boleyn’s daughter Elizabeth to take the throne.

Would Elizabeth keep England Cath­olic following Mary’s reign or flip the Church back to Protestantism again? Elizabeth and her counselors believed they had found a solution to the religious turmoil.


When her father dissolved the mon­asteries, confiscating their riches and their land (the source of huge incomes), he gave the land to his political allies. Therefore, the newly enriched noblemen had a vested interest in keeping England Protestant. They feared that a Catholic monarch would attempt to confiscate their land and give it back to the Catholic Church, and this is exactly what Queen Mary attempted to do.

When Elizabeth ascended the throne, she knew who held the real reins of pow­er: the rich Protestant noblemen who controlled Parliament and the country’s wealth. Elizabeth was only 25 when she became queen. By then all of her family members had died. She was isolated and aware that many of her subjects consid­ered her illegitimate and not a rightful queen.

Although Elizabeth was sympathetic to the Catholic faith and seems to have been Catholic in her own personal devo­tions, she understood that she could only reign with the support of the Protestant noblemen.

Wanting to be tolerant, howev­er, Elizabeth devised a solution. The Elizabethan Settlement meant that her people could practice a Catholic form of religion, but they would still have to take the oath of allegiance to her as both queen and head of the Church of England.

She permitted the celebration of Mass, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, processions, vestments, candles, pilgrimages, and all the outward signs of Catholicism. The religion under the new queen looked and felt like Catholicism.

There was only one thing missing: the pope.

It was Elizabeth’s clash with the pope that brought her toleration experiment crashing down into one of the most repressive regimes the world has ever known.


In the 16th century it was impossible to sep­arate religion from politics. Elizabeth had to keep England Protestant, but she soon came to realize that Catholics were not satisfied simply with the outward forms of religion being Catholic.

The old religion didn’t die out easily. Pockets of resistance to Protestantism existed throughout the land. Catholics resented the destruction of the monas­teries. They despised Protestantism and feared being ruled by heretics. There were constant rumors of rebellions, such as the Pilgrimage of Grace her father had ruthlessly suppressed some 20 years ear­lier in 1537.

Mary Queen of Scots by Francois Couet, (1558). Public Domain.

The rebels believed that Elizabeth was illegitimate because she was the child of an adulterous union. With the death of Mary, Catholics rallied around Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.

Mary Stuart had married into the French royal family and was the only sur­viving heir of the king of Scotland.

In 1569 the Catholics of northern England rose up in revolt and tried to de­pose Elizabeth and put Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne of England. The re­bellion was crushed by Elizabeth’s forces, and Mary was imprisoned.

Believing that the revolt had been successful, Pope Pius V issued a decree in 1570 that excom­municated Elizabeth and declared that her subjects were no lon­ger bound to obey her. The pope’s decision would prove to be di­sastrous for English Catholics.


The pope had drawn a line in the sand. Elizabeth and her counselors concluded that one could not be a faithful Catholic and a loyal English subject.

The Catholic faith was outlawed. To convert someone to Catholicism was de­clared treason punishable by the death sentence. The Mass was considered an act of treason. Priests were hunted down and killed. Citizens who protected priests were imprisoned, tortured, and executed. A spy network was set up to discover priests, capture them, torture them, and execute them by being hung, drawn, and quartered.

This form of execution was particu­larly gruesome. After being imprisoned and usually tortured, the priest would be dragged through the streets behind a horse on a wooden rack while the pub­lic humiliated him with mockery, rain­ing down excrement and garbage on him.

Once on the gallows, he would be stripped of his clothes and hung by the neck but cut down while still breathing. Then, while still alive, he would be emasculated, and dis­emboweled. Once dead he would be beheaded and cut into four parts. His head and body parts would be dipped in tar and sent to the four cor­ners of the realm. His head would be put on a pike on London Bridge.

Such a reign of terror horrified Catholics across Europe, and the king of Spain planned an invasion of England.

In 1588 the Spanish fleet was defeat­ed, and Protestant England was saved, but the continued attacks by Catholics on the continent hardened Elizabeth’s heart against her Catholic subjects.

The persecution increased, and by 1591 her Catholic citizens were also sub­ject to increased persecution. Attendance at the Church of England was mandatory. Absence was noted, and those who stayed away were interrogated, fined, and if they continued to disobey, had all their proper­ty confiscated. Then they could be impris­oned, tortured, and killed.


From 1570 to her death in 1603, Elizabeth’s police state effectively crushed the Catholic faith in England.

On Elizabeth’s death, the son of her old enemy Mary, Queen of Scots, came south and claimed the English throne. James was raised as a Protestant, but like Elizabeth before him, he attempted reli­gious peace and toleration. However, two years into his reign, a Catholic plot to over­throw James’ government was discovered.

Guy Fawkes attempt­ed to blow up the hous­es of Parliament during the state opening — kill­ing the king and all the members of Parliament. Historians still de­bate the origins of the Gunpowder Plot, with many holding the opin­ion that it was a false flag conspiracy to demolish James’ policy of religious toleration and fuel the anti-Catholic spirit in England.


Elizabeth I reigned for 44 years. During that time the Catholic faith went un­derground, and it wasn’t until 1829 that all restrictions on Catholics in England were finally lifted. The sufferings of English Catholics for nearly 300 years have been largely ignored or forgotten by secular historians.

Their sufferings cannot be forgotten by Catholics, however. Their examples of courage should inspire all Catholics to stand firm in the face of opposition and hold to the faith once delivered to the saints.

Watch the video: Αθανάσιος Μπίντας, Καθηγητής στο Πανεπιστήμιο της Νις: Αυτός είναι ο τάφος της Ολυμπιάδας (May 2022).