ccd-logo1.jpg (12597 bytes)Dwight Peck's lengthy tales


faith and doubt in the time of Queen Elizabeth I


It would be as well to tie up some of the larger threads left dangling. The Armada set its sails, as expected, in the summer of 1588, but it was dispersed with terrible losses by adverse winds and the brilliant seamanship of Drake and Admiral Howard of Effingham. Several times more King Philip tried mounting new invasions, but with even less success. In September 1588 the earl of Leicester, who had returned from the Netherlands to help direct the land defenses, set out for a rest in the country, and died of an illness at a house of his in Cornbury. Sir Francis Walsingham died in 1590; Lord Treasurer Burghley lived on until 1598, in which year also died King Philip II of Spain. Queen Elizabeth died peacefully in the spring of 1603 and was succeeded in her crown by James of Scotland, who in the following year concluded peace with Spain.

In France, King Henri III continued to fall under the power of the Holy League. Driven finally to desperation, in December 1588 he lured the duke of Guise to negotiations at his palace at Blois and had him assassinated by members of the royal bodyguard. The cities of the League revolted openly and the king allied himself at last with the Huguenot Henri of Navarre. The prince of Parma invaded France on the League side. Then in the summer of 1589, the king himself was stabbed to death by a fanatical priest. Nominally at least, Navarre inherited the throne, which after a period of civil war and his own conversion to Catholicism he came finally to enjoy, as Henri IV, in 1594. He too was assassinated, in 1610. Don Bernardino de Mendoza, in depleted health and almost totally blind, left Paris and returned to Spain in 1591, where he devoted himself to literary pursuits until his quiet death in Madrid in August 1604.

Sir Edward Stafford retired from his diplomatic career in 1590 and lived quietly in the country with his wife Lady Douglass until his death in 1605, predeceasing her by three years. Thomas Fitzherbert seems for a time to have taken up Arundell’s role as intermediary between Stafford and Mendoza; in 1596 he became English Secretary to the king of Spain; in 1602 he was ordained as a priest, in 1613 he became a Jesuit, and he served as rector of the English college in Rome until his death in 1640. Thomas Lord Paget died of unknown causes in the first half of 1590, and Thomas Throgmorton died in 1595. Gilbert Gifford died, still immured in the Bishop’s Prison, in 1590. Thomas Morgan was imprisoned by the prince of Parma in Flanders from 1590 to 1592, and soon thereafter was exiled from those territories; in 1595 he was deported from Spain; in 1604 he was imprisoned once again in the Bastille for his involvement in an intrigue against Henri IV, and nothing is known of him thereafter. Charles Paget seems to have been allowed to return to England after Queen Elizabeth’s death, to live out his years peacefully in the country until he died in 1612.

Of the gentlemen in England, the earl of Oxford continued to live well on the queen’s largesse until his death in 1604. William Shelley was condemned for high treason in 1586 for his part in Throgmorton’s business, but was still a prisoner in the Tower when last heard of in July 1588. Philip Howard, the earl of Arundel, still in the Tower, was tried belatedly and convicted of treason in 1589; he died in his cell in 1595. Lord Harry Howard lived in eclipse throughout the reign, but was readmitted to the court in 1600. His intrigues in aid of the peaceful succession of King James brought him into long-awaited favor upon the queen’s death; he was admitted to the Privy Council and in 1604 he was created earl of Northampton, and became Lord Privy Seal in 1608; he remained unobtrusively a Catholic until his death in 1614, but had become capable of impressing all observers time and again with his evident lack of principle.

Lord Paget’s sister, Lady Anne Lee, was buried in December 1590. Roman Catholics were granted political rights in England in 1829.

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bookpen.gif (2870 bytes)Please do not reproduce this text in any form for commercial purposes. Historical references for events recreated in this story can be found in D. C. Peck, Leicester's Commonwealth: The Copy of a Letter Written by a Master of Art of Cambridge (1584) and Related Documents (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1985). Feedback and suggestions are welcome, . Written 1973-1989, posted on this site 10 June 2001.


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