Babington Plot

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The Babington Plot was a Catholic plot in 1586 to assassinate Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

, a Protestant, and put Mary, Queen of Scots, a Catholic, on the English throne. It led to the execution of Mary. The long-term goal was an invasion by the Spanish forces of King Philip II and the Catholic league in France, leading to the restoration of the Catholic religion in England. The chief conspirator was Sir Anthony Babington
Anthony Babington
Anthony Babington was convicted of plotting the assassination of Elizabeth I of England and conspiring with the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots...

 (1561–1586), a young Catholic nobleman. The leading Catholics in England were loyal to Elizabeth and rebuffed overtures to support the plot. The actual designers were Don Bernardino de Mendoza
Bernardino de Mendoza
Bernardino de Mendoza was a Spanish military commander, a diplomat and a writer on military history and politics.- Life and works :Bernardino de Mendoza was born in Guadalajara, Spain around 1540...

 in Paris and King Philip II in Madrid.

Mary's imprisonment

Ever since Mary, Queen of Scots, the Catholic claimant to the throne of England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, came under the custody of her cousin, Elizabeth I, a year after her abdication from the throne of Scotland
History of Scotland
The history of Scotland begins around 10,000 years ago, when humans first began to inhabit what is now Scotland after the end of the Devensian glaciation, the last ice age...

 in 1567, she became the focus of numerous plots and intrigues to restore England to the Catholic fold. Because of this threat, she was imprisoned for eighteen years through a series of jailers, for the most part by the Earl of Shrewsbury
George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury
George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, 6th Earl of Waterford, 12th Baron Talbot, KG, Earl Marshal was a 16th century English statesman.-Life:...

. In 1580 her confinement was transferred to Sir Amias Paulet
Amias Paulet
Sir Amias Paulet was an English diplomat, Governor of Jersey, and the gaoler for a period of Mary, Queen of Scots.-Life:...


Because of increasing concern surrounding Queen Elizabeth's safety, in 1584 Elizabeth's Privy Council
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

 had signed a "Bond of Association", which stated that any one within the line of succession to the throne on whose behalf anyone plotted against the queen, even if the claimant is ignorant of the plot, would be excluded from the line and executed. This was agreed upon by hundreds of Englishmen, who likewise signed the Bond. As if to allay the Queen's suspicions, Mary likewise signed. The following year, Parliament passed the Act of Association
Safety of the Queen, etc. Act 1584
The Safety of the Queen, etc. Act 1584 was an Act of the Parliament of England during the English Reformation. It required a tribunal of at least 24 peers and privy councillors to investigate "any open invasion or rebellion" in England, any attempt to injure the Queen or any pretender to the throne...

, which provided for the execution of anyone who would benefit from the death of the Queen if a plot against her was discovered. Whilst Mary had escaped formal reprimand as she had not actively participated in a plot, now she could be executed if a plot was initiated that would lead to her ascending to the throne of England.

However, in the aftermath of the Throckmorton plot
Throckmorton Plot
The Throckmorton Plot was an attempt by English Roman Catholics in 1583 to murder Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with her second cousin Mary, Queen of Scots...

, in January 1586, Mary found herself in the strictest confinement she had experienced in the eighteen years she had been imprisoned by the English. She was confined to Chartley Hall in Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

, placed under strict observation, under the control of Sir Amias Paulet. Paulet was a Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

, and although Mary had been able to win over her previous jailers, Paulet was able to resist her charms and kept her in extremely strict conditions. Having been instructed to watch the comings and goings of servants and visitors to Mary, he stopped all open correspondence.

Although Elizabeth was reluctant to act against Mary, some within the English government feared her status as a figurehead for English Catholics. Sir Francis Walsingham
Francis Walsingham
Sir Francis Walsingham was Principal Secretary to Elizabeth I of England from 1573 until 1590, and is popularly remembered as her "spymaster". Walsingham is frequently cited as one of the earliest practitioners of modern intelligence methods both for espionage and for domestic security...

, Elizabeth I's Secretary of State
Secretary of State (England)
In the Kingdom of England, the title of Secretary of State came into being near the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I , the usual title before that having been King's Clerk, King's Secretary, or Principal Secretary....

 and spymaster
A spymaster is a ring leader of a spy ring, run by a secret service.-Historical spymasters:*Dai Li *Francis Walsingham *James Jesus Angleton *Joseph Peters...

, together with William Cecil
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley , KG was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572...

, Elizabeth's chief advisor, realised that if she could be implicated in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth, then Mary could be executed and the Catholic threat diminished. As he wrote to the Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, KG was an English nobleman and the favourite and close friend of Elizabeth I from her first year on the throne until his death...

"So long as that devilish woman lives neither her Majesty must make account to continue in quiet possession of her crown, nor her faithful servants assure themselves of safety of their lives."

Walsingham's opportunity came when in 1585, a Catholic exile named Gilbert Gifford
Gilbert Gifford
Gilbert Gifford was a double agent who worked for Sir Francis Walsingham and played a role in the uncovering of the Babington Plot. Shortly before his death in Paris, he was ordained as a Catholic priest in Rheims...

 (1560–1590) was arrested in Rye in Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

. While being interrogated, he confessed to having been involved in a Catholic plot against Elizabeth. Walsingham then offered to release Gifford if he was willing work as a double agent
Double agent
A double agent, commonly abbreviated referral of double secret agent, is a counterintelligence term used to designate an employee of a secret service or organization, whose primary aim is to spy on the target organization, but who in fact is a member of that same target organization oneself. They...

, to which Gifford agreed.

The plot

The plot grew out of two originally separate plans. The first involved a Spanish invasion of England with the purpose of deposing Elizabeth and replacing her with Mary; the second was a plot by English Catholics to assassinate Elizabeth. However, both plots were under the guidance of two of Mary's chief agents in Europe, Charles Paget and Thomas Morgan, the latter being Mary's chief cipher clerk for all her French correspondence. King Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 and the Spanish ambassador to England Don Bernardino de Mendoza
Bernardino de Mendoza
Bernardino de Mendoza was a Spanish military commander, a diplomat and a writer on military history and politics.- Life and works :Bernardino de Mendoza was born in Guadalajara, Spain around 1540...

 had been trying to regain Spanish influence in English affairs which was at least diminished by the death of Mary I of England
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

 in 1558, not the least through various marriage proposals to Elizabeth (including by Philip himself, who was Mary I's widower). As it became evident that Elizabeth was not inclined to accept such proposals, the only alternative would be to depose her and replace her with someone more receptive to their interests, and Mary was the best candidate. Ever since the issuance of the papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 Regnans in Excelsis
Regnans in Excelsis
Regnans in Excelsis was a papal bull issued on 25 February 1570 by Pope Pius V declaring "Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime" to be a heretic and releasing all her subjects from any allegiance to her and excommunicating any that obeyed her orders.The bull, written in...

by Pope Pius V
Pope Pius V
Pope Saint Pius V , born Antonio Ghislieri , was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church...

 on February 25, 1570, Philip was always prepared to assist English Catholics who plotted to overthrow the English queen. It was thus with the support of the papacy and Spain that Morgan and Paget sought to find those within England who would be prepared to meet this objective.


In 1585 Morgan met with Gilbert Gifford
Gilbert Gifford
Gilbert Gifford was a double agent who worked for Sir Francis Walsingham and played a role in the uncovering of the Babington Plot. Shortly before his death in Paris, he was ordained as a Catholic priest in Rheims...

 and enlisted the latter to re-establish a line of correspondence with Mary, which was severed by Walsingham in the wake of the discovery of the Throckmorton plot
Francis Throckmorton
Sir Francis Throckmorton was a conspirator against Queen Elizabeth I of England.He was the son of Sir John Throckmorton and a nephew of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, one of Elizabeth's diplomats. Sir John had held the post of Chief Justice of Chester but was removed in 1579, a year before his death...

 in 1584. It was when Gifford arrived in England when he was arrested and subsequently enlisted as a double agent. As such, Gifford was assigned the alias "No. 4" and used many others in his espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

 work, such as Colerdin, Pietro and Cornelys.

While Walsingham was able to cut off all communication between Mary and her supporters because of the Throckmorton plot, he recognized that she could hardly be guilty in plots of which she was unaware and therefore had not approved. Thus Walsingham, with the help of Gifford, decided to establish a new line of communication, one which he could carefully scrutinize without incurring any suspicion from Mary or her supporters. For this they arranged for a local beer brewer to facilitate the movement of messages between Mary and her supporters by placing them in a watertight casing that could be placed inside the stopper of the barrel. Gifford then approached Guillaume de l'Aubespine
The L'Aubespine family was a French family descended from Claude de l'Aubespine, a lawyer of Orléans and bailiff of the abbey of Saint Euverte in the beginning of the 16th century...

, Baron de Châteauneuf-sur-Cher and the French ambassador to England and described the new correspondence arrangement and requested the first message that should be sent to Mary, who was, in turn, informed by another double agent named Thomas Philips in prison of this arrangement. All subsequent messages to Mary would be sent via diplomatic packets to de L'Aubespine, who then passed them on to Gifford. Gifford would then pass them on to Walsingham, who would confide them to Thomas Phelippes
Thomas Phelippes
Thomas Phelippes was a forger and intelligence gatherer. He served mainly under Sir Francis Walsingham, in the time of Elizabeth I, deciphering the codes of those plotting against her. He is most remembered for his adding of a postscript to the "bloody letter" sent by Mary, Queen of Scots, to...

, a cipher and language expert in his employ. The cipher used by Mary was a nomenclator cipher
Substitution cipher
In cryptography, a substitution cipher is a method of encryption by which units of plaintext are replaced with ciphertext according to a regular system; the "units" may be single letters , pairs of letters, triplets of letters, mixtures of the above, and so forth...

, which was broken by trial and error by starting with letter substitutions and using the frequency of common characters until a readable text was found, and then the rest was guessed at by the message context from what was decoded until the entire cipher was understood. Phelippes, or any in Walsingham's spy school familiar with the cipher, would decode and make a copy of the letter. The letter was then resealed and given back to Gifford, who would then pass it on to the brewer. The brewer would then "smuggle" the letter to Mary. If Mary sent a letter to her supporters, it would go through the reverse process. In short order, every message coming to and from Chartley Hall was intercepted and read by Walsingham, who became aware of every plot and machination for and from Mary, which in some ways were encouraged by Gifford and other agents provocateurs
Agent provocateur
Traditionally, an agent provocateur is a person employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act...

. He had only to wait for Mary to incriminate herself in one of her letters.

Firmer plans and a developing plot: John Ballard and Anthony Babington

Paget began to consolidate the two plots. At the behest of Mary's French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 supporters, John Ballard
John Ballard
John Ballard was an English Jesuit priest executed for being involved in an attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I of England in the Babington Plot.John Ballard was the son of William Ballard of Wratting, Suffolk...

, a Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 priest and Catholic agent, went to England on various occasions in 1585 to secure promises of aid from the northern Catholic gentry of the imprisoned Queen who would accept an insurrection against Elizabeth and replace her with Mary. In March of 1586, he met with John Savage, an ex-soldier who was involved in a separate plot against Elizabeth and who had sworn an oath to assassinate the queen. Later that same year, he reported to Charles Paget and Don Bernardino de Mendoza and told them that English Catholics were prepared to mount an insurrection against Elizabeth, provided that they would be assured of foreign support. While it was uncertain whether Ballard's report of the extent of Catholic opposition was accurate, what was certain that he was able to secure assurances that support would be forthcoming. After this he returned to England, where he persuaded a member of the Catholic gentry, Anthony Babington to lead and organize the English Catholics against Elizabeth. Ballard informed Babington about all the plans that had been so far proposed. But Babington's confession made it clear that Ballard had exaggerated the support of the Catholic League
Catholic League (French)
The Catholic League of France, sometimes referred to by contemporary Roman Catholics as the Holy League, a major player in the French Wars of Religion, was formed by Duke Henry of Guise in 1576...

"He toulde me he was retorned from Fraunce uppon this occasion. Being with Mendoza at Paris, he was informed that in regarde of the iniuries don by our state unto the greatest Christian princes, by the nourishinge of sedition and divisions in their provinces, by withholding violently the lawful possessions of some, by invasion of the Indies and by piracy, robbing the treasure and the wealthe of others, and sondry intolerable wronges for so great and mighty princes to indure, it was resolved by the Catholique league to seeke redresse and satisfaction, which they had vowed to performe this sommer without farther delay, havinge in readiness suche forces and all warlike preparations as the like was never scene in these partes of Christendome. ... The Pope was chief disposer, the most Christian king and the king Catholic with all other princes of the league concurred as instruments for the righting of these wronges, and reformation of religion. The conductors of this enterprise for the French nation, the D. of Guise
Henry I, Duke of Guise
Henry I, Prince of Joinville, Duke of Guise, Count of Eu , sometimes called Le Balafré, "the scarred", was the eldest son of Francis, Duke of Guise, and Anna d'Este...

, or his brother the D. de Main
Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne
Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne , or Charles de Guise, was a French nobleman of the house of Guise and a military leader of the Catholic League, which he headed during the French Wars of Religion, following the assassination of his brothers at Blois in 1588...

; for the Italian and Hispanishe forces, the P. of Parma ; the whole number about 60,000.

Despite this assurance of foreign support, Babington was hesitant as he thought that no foreign invasion would succeed for as long as Elizabeth remained, to which Ballard answered that the plans of John Savage would take care of that. After a lengthy discussion with friends and soon to be fellow conspirators, Babington consented to join.

Unfortunately for the conspirators, Walsingham was certainly aware of all the aspects of the plot, based on reports by his spies, most notably Gilbert Gifford
Gilbert Gifford
Gilbert Gifford was a double agent who worked for Sir Francis Walsingham and played a role in the uncovering of the Babington Plot. Shortly before his death in Paris, he was ordained as a Catholic priest in Rheims...

 and Robert Poley
Robert Poley
Robert Poley was an agent employed in the secret service of Queen Elisabeth I, being principally employed by the so-called 'spymaster', Sir Francis Walsingham...

, who kept tabs on all the major participants. While he could have shut down the plot and arrested all those involved within reach, he still lacked the crucial piece of evidence that would prove Mary's active participation in the plot.

The fatal correspondence

Despite his assent in his participation in the plot, Babington's conscience was troubled at the prospect of assassinating the English queen. On June 28, encouraged by a letter received from Thomas Morgan, Mary wrote a letter to Babington that assured him of his status as a trusted friend. In reply on July, Babington wrote to Mary about all the details of the plot. He informed Mary about the foreign plans for invasion as well as the planned insurrection by English Catholics:
"First, assuring of invasion: Sufficient strength in the invader: Ports to arrive at appointed, with a strong party at every place to join with them and warrant their landing. The deliverance of your Majesty. The dispatch of the usurping Competitor. For the effectuating of all which it may please your Excellency to rely upon my service.... Now forasmuch as delay is extreme dangerous, it may please your most excellent Majesty by your wisdom to direct us, and by your princely authority to enable such as may advance the affair; foreseeing that, where is not any of the nobility at liberty assured to your Majesty in this desperate service (except unknown to us) and seeing it is very necessary that some there be to become heads to lead the multitude, ever disposed by nature in this land to follow nobility, considering withal it doth not only make the commons and gentry to follow without contradiction or contention (which is ever found in equality) but also doth add great courage to the leaders. For which necessary regard I recommend some unto your Majesty as fittest in my knowledge for to be your Lieutenants in the West parts, in the North parts, South Wales, North Wales and the Counties of Lancaster, Derby and Stafford: all which countries, by parties already made and fidelities taken in your Majesty's name, I hold as most assured and of most undoubted fidelity.

He also mentioned plans on rescuing Mary from Chartley as well as dispatching Savage to assassinate Elizabeth:
"Myself with ten gentlemen and a hundred of our followers will undertake the delivery of your royal person from the hands of your enemies. For the dispatch of the usurper, from the obedience of whom we are by the excommunication of her made free, there be six noble gentlemen, all my private friends, who for the zeal they bear to the Catholic cause and your Majesty's service will undertake that tragical execution.

While it was not necessary for Babington to detail this to Mary, he did so probably because he was seeking rewards for the people involved in the plot, as well as serving his own vanity.

The letter was received by Mary on July 14 — after being intercepted and deciphered — and on July 17 she replied to Babington in a long letter in which she commended and praised all the aspects of the plot. She also stressed the necessity of foreign aid if the rescue attempt was to succeed:
"For divers great and important considerations (which were here too long to be deduced) I cannot but greatly praise and commend your common desire to prevent in time the designments of our enemies for the extirpation of our religion out of this realm with the ruin of us all. For I have long ago shown unto the foreign Catholic princes—and experience doth approve it—the longer that they and we delay to put hand on the matter on this side, the greater leisure have our said enemies to prevail and win advantage over the said princes (as they have done against the King of Spain) and in the meantime the Catholics here, remaining exposed to all sorts of persecution and cruelty, do daily diminish in number, forces, means and power. So as, if remedy be not thereunto hastily provided, I fear not a little but they shall become altogether unable for ever to rise again and to receive any aid at all, whensoever it were offered them. For mine own part, I pray you to assure our principal friends that, albeit I had not in this cause any particular interest (that which I may pretend unto being of no consideration unto me in respect of the public good of this state) I shall be always ready and most willing to employ therein my life and all that I have or may ever look for in this world.

The letter was again intercepted and deciphered by Phelippes. But this time, Phelippes, who was also an excellent forger, kept the original and made a forged copy of the letter with a postcript and possibly other alterations or additions that would incriminate Babington and Mary. In the new postscript an offer was made by Mary to take an active part in the assassination:
"I would be glad to know the names and quelityes of the sixe gentlemen which are to accomplish the dessignement, for that it may be, I shall be able uppon knowledge of the parties to give you some further advise necessarye to be followed therein; and even so do I wish to be made acquainted with the names of all such principal persons [&c.] as also from time to time particularlye how you proceede and as son as you may for the same purpose who bee alredye and how farr every one privye hereunto.

Phelippes then made another copy of the letter and sent it to Walsingham with a small picture of the gallows as a seal. Walsingham had his proof.

Arrests, trials and executions

John Ballard was arrested on 4 August 1586, and presumably under torture he confessed and implicated Babington. Although Babington was able to receive the forged letter with the postcript, he was not able to reply with the names of the conspirators, as he was arrested while seeking a licence to travel in order to see King Philip II of Spain, with the purpose of organising a foreign expedition as well as ensuring his own safety. The identities of the six conspirators were nevertheless discovered, and they were taken prisoner by 15 August 1586.

Mary's two secretaries, Claude Nau de la Boisseliere
Claude Nau
Claude Nau , full name Claude Nau de la Boisseliere, was a confidential secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots in England from 1575 to 1586....

 (d. 1605) and Gilbert Curle (d. 1609), were likewise taken into custody and interrogated.

The conspirators were sentenced to death for treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 and conspiracy against the crown, and were sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. This first group included Babington, Ballard, Chidiock Tichborne
Chidiock Tichborne
Chidiock Tichborne is remembered as an English conspirator and poet.-Biography:He was born in Southampton sometime after 24 August 1562 to Roman Catholic parents, Peter Tichborne and his wife Elizabeth . His birth date has been given as circa 1558 in many sources, though unverified, and thus...

, Sir Thomas Salisbury
Thomas Salisbury
Sir Thomas Salisbury was one of the conspirators executed for his involvement in the Babington Plot....

, Robert Barnewell, John Savage and Henry Donn
Henry Donn
Henry Donn was one of the conspirators for his involvement in the Babington Plot, a plot in 1586 to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, a Protestant, and put Mary, Queen of Scots, a Catholic, on the English throne....

. A further group of seven men, Edward Habington, Charles Tilney, Edward Jones, John Charnock, John Travers, Jerome Bellamy, and Robert Gage, were tried and convicted shortly afterward. Ballard and Babington were executed on September 20 along with the other men who had been tried with them. Such was the horror of their execution that Queen Elizabeth ordered the second group to be allowed to hang until dead before being disembowelled.

Queen Mary herself went to trial at Fotheringhay
Fotheringhay is a village and civil parish in Northamptonshire, England, six kilometres north east of Oundle and around west of Peterborough. It is most noted for being the site of Fotheringhay Castle which was razed in 1627...

 Castle in Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire is a landlocked county in the English East Midlands, with a population of 629,676 as at the 2001 census. It has boundaries with the ceremonial counties of Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east,...

 and denied her part in the plot, but her correspondence was the evidence; therefore, Mary was sentenced to death. Elizabeth signed her cousin's death warrant, and on 8 February 1587, in front of 300 witnesses, Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed by beheading.

In literature

The story of the Babington Plot is dramatised in the novel Conies in the Hay by Jane Lane
Jane Lane (author)
Jane Lane was the pen name of Elaine Kidner Dakers, a British historical novelist and biographer distantly related to the Jane Lane who aided Charles II after his defeat at Worcester. She is best known for her books about the Stuart period and 18th century Scotland, written from a Catholic and...

. (ISBN 0-7551-0835-3), and also features prominently in Anthony Burgess
Anthony Burgess
John Burgess Wilson  – who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess – was an English author, poet, playwright, composer, linguist, translator and critic. The dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange is Burgess's most famous novel, though he dismissed it as one of his lesser works...

's A Dead Man in Deptford
A Dead Man in Deptford
A Dead Man in Deptford was written late in Anthony Burgess's life, and is the last of his novels to be published during his lifetime.It depicts the life and character of Christopher Marlowe, one of the greatest playwrights of the Elizabethan era....

. Episode Four of the television series Elizabeth R
Elizabeth R
Elizabeth R is a BBC television drama serial of six 85-minute plays starring Glenda Jackson in the title role. It was first broadcast on BBC2 from February to March 1971, through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia and broadcast in America on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre.- Episodes...

(titled "Horrible Conspiracies") is devoted to the Babington Plot, and the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age deals substantially with the Plot as well. A more fictional account is given in the My Story series, book The Queen's Spies (retitled To Kill A Queen 2008) told in diary format by a fictional Elizibethan girl, Kitty.

The Babington plot is also the subject of the children's novel A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley
Alison Uttley
Alison Uttley , née Alice Jane Taylor, was a prolific British writer of over 100 books. She is now best known for her children's series about Little Grey Rabbit, and Sam Pig....

, who grew up near the Babington family home in Derbyshire.

Further reading

  • Guy, John A. Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart (2005)
  • Lewis, Jayne Elizabeth. The trial of Mary Queen of Scots: a brief history with documents (1999)
  • Pollen, J.H. ""Mary Queen of Scots and the Babington plot," The Month, Volume 109 online (April 1907) pp 356-65
  • Read, Conyers. Mr Secretary Walsingham and the policy of Queen Elizabeth 3 vols. (1925)
  • Smith, A. G. The Babington plot (1936)
  • Williams, Penry. "Babington, Anthony (1561–1586)",Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) accessed 18 Sept 2011
  • Military Heritage August 2005, Volume 7, No. 1, pp. 20–23), ISSN 1524-8666.

Primary sources

  • Pollen, J. H. "Mary Queen of Scots and the Babington plot," Scottish Historical Society 3rd ser., iii (1922), reprints the major documents.

External links