Skip to main content

Robert Beale collection of letters

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Vault MSS 457

Scope and Contents

Official correspondence of the Kingdom of England and Wales in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, found among the personal papers of Robert Beale. Most letters are either by him or to him. They deal with the earliest years of the Dutch Republic and the part played by England in the Dutch revolt. Many of the letters were also originally addressed to Sir Francis Walsingham (1530-1590), Beale's brother-in-law, and Elizabeth's Secretary of State. Four letters are addressed to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1532?-1588) who commanded English troops sent to assist the Dutch in 1585 and 1586. Five letters by Thomas Wilkes (1545?-1589) are found in summary in the Great Britain Public Record Office's Calendar of State Papers. Materials dated 1569-1592.


  • 1569-1592


Conditions Governing Access

Originals condition restricted. Microfilm copy available for public use.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical / Historical

Robert Beale (1541-1601) served as ambassador to France starting in 1570, special envoy of queen Elizabeth to the German Lutheran princes 1576, Secretary of State 1578 and 1581-1583, and was in parliament from Dorchester in 1586 and 1588. In addition, he served under Leicester in 1588 in the Netherlands probably with the transport department. As a scholar he is known for two books which maintain the principle of toleration and for works glorifying marriage and women.

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.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Thomas Wilkes (approximately 1545-1598) was an English civil servant and diplomat during the reign of Elizabeth I of England. He served as Clerk of the Privy Council, Member of Parliament for Downton and Southampton, and English member of the Council of State of the Netherlands, and on many diplomatic missions for the English government.

Biographical / Historical

The Privy Council of England and Wales was the British sovereign's private council. During Elizabeth I's reign, the Privy Council were a group of 19 powerful noblemen who advised but did not control the Queen. They met daily and advised on domestic and foreign issues.

Biographical / Historical

United Provinces of the Netherlands or Dutch Republic, was a federal republic which existed during the Dutch Revolt until 1795.


1 volume (51 items) ; 35 cm

Language of Materials


French, Middle (ca.1400-1600)




Rough chronological arrangement, as letters were bound in the volume.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

The papers were preserved among the personal papers of Robert Beale. Many were originally addressed to Sir Francis Walsingham (Beale's brother-in-law and Elizabeth's Secretary of State. Some were addressed to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (Privy Councillor) and may have come to Beale directly from Leicester or through Walsingham. Harold B. Lee Library purchased the letters as the Beale-Walsingham papers from H.P. Kraus, Rare Books and Manuscripts, in New York in 1978.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased; H.P. Kraus, Rare Books and Manuscripts (N.Y.); 1978.


Non-literary manuscripts that date from the 20th Century or earlier (Orphaned Manuscripts Collection Development Policy, I, Feb. 2014.)


Descriptions of the content of the individual letters modified from inventory that accompanied the volume upon its purchase from H.P. Kraus.

Register of Robert Beale collection of letters
Leslie Evens
2011 December 12
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States