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Bartholomew Clerke letter to Sir Francis Walsingham, 1587 April 12

 Item — oversize: 1
Identifier: Vault MSS 457 Item 32
Image of Bartholomew Clerke letter to Sir Francis Walsingham
Image of Bartholomew Clerke letter to Sir Francis Walsingham


  • 1587 April 12


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Originals condition restricted. Microfilm copy available for public use.

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Biographical / Historical

Bartholomew Clerke (approximately 1537–1590) was an English jurist, politician and diplomat. In January 1573 Clerke became a member of the College of Advocates at Doctors' Commons, and in May that same year he was constituted dean of the arches. He became archdeacon of Wells about the beginning of 1582.

In December 1585 he and Henry Killigrew were sent to Flanders to co-operate with the Earl of Leicester, being appointed members of the council of state. In October 1586 he was despatched to England by Leicester on a special mission to the Queen. In 1587 he was again sent to the Low Countries, with Lord Buckhurst and Sir John Norris, to allay the discontent which had been excited by the Earl of Leicester's proceedings in Holland, and to open the way for a peace with Spain.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Francis Walsingham (1532-1590) was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I of England from 20 December 1573 until his death and is popularly remembered as her "spymaster".

Born to a well-connected family of gentry, Walsingham attended Cambridge University and travelled in continental Europe before embarking on a career in law at the age of twenty. He served as English ambassador to France in the early 1570s and witnessed the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. As principal secretary to Elizabeth I, he supported exploration, colonization, the use of England's maritime strength and the plantation of Ireland. He worked to bring Scotland and England together. He oversaw operations that penetrated Spanish military preparation, gathered intelligence from across Europe, disrupted a range of plots against Elizabeth and secured the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Francis Walsingham died on 6 April 1590, at his house in Seething Lane. He was buried privately in a simple ceremony in Old St Paul's Cathedral. The grave and monument were destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. His name appears on a modern monument in the crypt listing the important graves lost.


1 folded sheet (1 page) ; 32 x 42 cm folded to 32 x 21 cm



Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.


Autograph letter signed by Clerke (or Clerk), with address to Walsingham on leaf 2. Written in English from The Hague, Netherlands, 12 April 1587. Clerke comments on events of the Dutch wars, and intimates that Leicester would be very welcome to return to the command of the Dutch forces. The Earl had left Holland for England late in 1586, without making any provision for the command of the army.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States